- Architosh Staff (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- 23 Oct 2002
Motorola G5 Processor Emerge
< Continued from page
On the Mythical G5 - Code Named Eleven
We are not sure what happened to Steamroller. It was
planned for 2002 and it may have been an embedded chip which on
certain roadmap documents put it between the 7455 and the mythical
Eleven. If so, then there was a two year spread between the 7455
(shown as 2001) and the G5 chip known as Eleven (shown in 2003).
Our sources have told us that Eleven was killed either
in late 2001 or early 2002. Test boxes at certain locations we were
made aware of were rumored to contain the Eleven processor(s). As
we mentioned before (see late 2001 timeframe articles on Architosh)
were heard these boxes were so fast that it was almost ridiculous
when compared to Intel x86. Our sources at these test locations
told us that in February Apple techs came and took the test units
away. That was likely the ending point of the Eleven era at Moto.
The question you should have is why would these super
fast processors die? Why would Apple kill them off? Or was it Moto?
It appears that Apple and Moto may have had some squabbling
over the new proprietary bus by Apple called ApplePI Interface (ApplePI-BIU
or Apple Processor Interconnect-bus interconnect unit). From Eleven's
floor plan drawing, the ApplePI Interface runs along much of the
entire side of the processor, connecting it directly to the functional
units and L1 and L2 caches. This same ApplePI BIU (Apple Specific
Bus-Interface-Unit) is slated to be in the IBM PowerPC 970. The
question we have now is 'is this BIU based on RapidIO or is it based
on AMD's HyperTransport?'
We believe the latter is the case. And remember you
heard it here first.
In any case, Moto may have had a difficult time economically
justifying developing a processor with a major architectural component
meant solely for Apple's use. Currently other vendors use the G4
processors used in Power Macs, including Cisco. However, since
IBM seems to have big Linux plans for the new 64-bit IBM PowerPC
970, the proprietary ApplePI may be of use to them as well and
the two have likely struck a deal allowing IBM to use 970's with
the ApplePI BIU included. If that is the case, that is a major item
in the processor-platform wars going forward, for it effectively
further ties IBM's Linux initiatives closer to Apple's OS X.
A Question of Heat
Another reason why Eleven may have been killed is
due to heat. While Eleven had astounding performance potential (according
to our info the 2.4GHz unit had integer performance three times,
300x, better than a unit running at 800MHz, which in itself was
faster than a 7455 at 800Mhz.) the heat it generated was substantial.
However it wasn't unreasonable.
The Moto G5 was a true Book-E microarchitecture with
a single core. A true 64-bit chip it featured dual 64KB Level 1
caches with parity and an integrated 512L2 cache with ECC. Central
to the architecture was an integrated SDRAM controller with various
DDR support, two RapidIO interfaces (presumably running at 500MHz
or faster), CC-NUMA SMP scalability, and the integrated DMA and
ApplePI-BIU. This chip was incredibly promising but it seemed to
suck power like there was no tomorrow. But compared to AMD and Intel
it seemed reasonable. The 1.5GHz unit used a max power of 29 watts
and a typical draw of 15 watts. At 2.0GHz these numbers increased
to 55 and 28 watts respectively.
Although the Eleven chip was apparently killed off,
the recently updated roadmap
document shows a chip which we think may be similar. However,
unlike Eleven which was meant to ramp up in the summer of 2003,
the 7457-RM (RapidIO-based) chip appears slated for 2004. The question
is, who is that chip designed for? And does it have an ApplePI-BIU?
If it did then Apple might end up with two suppliers in 2004.
Some final words are in order. We always welcome
feedback on these types of articles and in general that is how
our picture of the future gets clearer. We are indebted to our detective-like
reader Ed, who warmly supplies us with tips and URL's to publicly
That question that Mac users always have about waiting
for the next big thing comes into to play here. And here is our
response. Don't wait! It rarely makes sense...and this time it seems
conclusive that Apple will roll out incremental updates to its Power
Mac line. So waiting for that legendary "massive upgrade"you
know the one meant to kill Intelain't gonna happen. Folks,
if you want a new Power Mac now...go get one! However, if you want
a crystal ball to help you in your purchase planning, here's our
- Macworld Expo Jan 2003: Power
Macs 1.0 - 1.4 GHz duals (.13micron MPC7457)
- May WWDC: Power Macs 1.25 - 1.5Ghz duals
(same MPC7457 chip)
- August (Expo Summer): Power Macs pushed
to 1.67GHz duals (same 7457)
- Macworld Expo Jan 2004: Power Macs 1.8GHz
(IBM PowerPC 970 .13micron)
- Mid 2004: Power Macs 1.8 - 2.4GHz (PowerPC
Such a rollout ramps up the performance pretty equally
and rolls us to the expected timetable of the IBM PowerPC 970. Since
that chip is not expected to introduce at above 1.8Ghz, we think
the 7457 will tap out there as well. Likely the biggest wave to
catch maybe when IBM rolls the 970 on a .09 micron process (coming
from .13micron). There we could see a dual 2.4Ghz model or higher.
But folks be reasonable, that is more than a year away. You folks
looking for new Power Macs today need to act sooner than that.
Either way, its a very long wait but clearly Apple
has some impressive machines now and some good ones in the pipeline.
Once Apple moves to IBM, we think Moto will continue to deliver
G4's with increased clock speeds for the consumer line, including
the iMac and iBook. We also suspect that Apple will put the 64-bit
PowerPC 970 into the Titanium PowerBook, making Apple the first
computer maker to manufacturer a 64-bit laptop.
Now talk about the ultimate mobile workstation!
Additional Closing Remarks
timetable which we have highlighted in green text above is a conservative
guess at best. Many folks in the MacNN forums have been angered
by the pace of processor development. The pace issue is a true issue.
It has been horribly disappointing, even in reference to other periods
in the PowerMac architecture's past. Perhaps the best period was
the G3 era with superb scaling of Mhz and faster chips than Intel.
Boy those were the glory days! But back then as Mac users we had
a superb but unstable OS. Today things are different. Our OS is
so stable it could be called ROCK OS 1.0.
addition to encouraging readers to buy Macs when they need them
and not holdout for super upgrades that will never come, we would
like to encourage angry Mac users to take a chill pill. Just because
we have covered some credible info here doesn't mean Apple doesn't
have something else up its sleeve. We can always be surprised and
I encourage folks to be optimistic. -- AFR
Related Articles on PowerPC and Apple
building 64-bit PowerPC chip for Linux? Evidence points to AltiVec
new 64-bit PowerPC 970: Guide to the Future (note: we could
use reader's help completing a PPC 970 vs
AMD Opteron vs Pentium 4 chip chart. thanks in advance!)
contribute info on IBM 64-bit PowerPC & G4/G5 AltiVec
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