Will there ever be a new G4 from Freescale?

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unknown1's picture
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I have been searching the web and FreeScale's site just out of curiosity if there will ever be advancement beyond the current crop of G4s, I think they are 90nm 7448s at 2.0 GHz (although the last Mac Mini G4s used a 7457, I believe). I found this page on dual core processors soon to be made (January 2008) with dual 45nm cores. Hard to tell from the site if these will be G4s or not and much of their information is pretty old mentioning 2001 release dates, etc. Here's the page:

http://www.freescale.com/webapp/sps/site/overview.jsp?nodeId=0162468rH3bTdG25E4

EDIT:

Of course I should have looked to the Information Hub of the Information Superhighway for more information:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G4_Processor

Interesting, but it doesn't say if the new e600/e700 will be compatible with the G4 line...

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Eudimorphodon's picture
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Re: Will there ever be a new G4 from Freescale?

Unknown1 wrote:

Interesting, but it doesn't say if the new e600/e700 will be compatible with the G4 line...

"The e600 core is not compatible with the latest Power ISA 2.04 but adheres to the earlier PowerPC specification and is completely backwards compatible with the PowerPC G4 cores from which it derives."

Anything on the roadmap faster then the current MPC7448 (Including all the dual core variants) use a totally different bus from the G4s used in Apple systems. So it's *highly* unlikely they'll ever be used in CPU upgrade cards. (presumably that's what this thread is asking.)

--Peace

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Re: Will there ever be a new G4 from Freescale?

Great page, I guess I should follow some of the hundreds of hyperlinks per page Wiki gives you. This was interesting:

"MPC8641 & MPC8641D
The problems associated with the bandwidth-constrained external MPX bus interface found on the 74xx series are relieved with single (MPC8641) or dual (MPC8641D) e600 cores, faster system interface via RapidIO, dual x8 PCI Express and an on-die 667 MHz MPX interconnect between I/O, the cores, and dual 64-bit DDR2-memory controllers (with ECC). The product also features four on-chip Gigabit ethernet controllers with TCP/UDP offloading features. The dual core MPC8641D has support for asymmetric multiprocessing, which enables two operating systems to run on the same device simultaneously, sharing resources but largely unaware of each other.

The MPC8641 (single core) and MPC8641D (dual core) are manufactured on a 90 nm SOI based process. 8641 draws less than 16W at 1.33 GHz and 8641D less than 25W at 1.5 GHz."

It seems to have everything on the one chip! Problem is: it is still on 90nm silicon (AMD and Intel will be moving to all 45nm next year), Speeds are still not very high, MIPS per MHz is still the same as current G4s. If pricing is not any better (current G4 7448 single CPUs cost more than low end AMD or Intel QUAD core processors), I don't see any future in the G4 architecture.

Good thing they are so well designed as they still work really well with modern OS and applications and probably will for years to come (can't say that about a Pentium II -like I am using now!)

I guess an e600 upgrade for a G4 board is about as likely as a G5 upgrade. Anyone feel like designing a whole new motherboard for the hacking community and selling them for under $200?!? Just pull the ROM out of an old G4 and you have a real (only severely upgraded) Mac!

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Re: Will there ever be a new G4 from Freescale?

Unknown1 wrote:

I guess an e600 upgrade for a G4 board is about as likely as a G5 upgrade. Anyone feel like designing a whole new motherboard for the hacking community and selling them for under $200?!? Just pull the ROM out of an old G4 and you have a real (only severely upgraded) Mac!

Unless you were able to sell a *lot* of them it's really unlikely anyone's ever going to be able to market a PowerPC-based "hacker Macintosh" motherboard in that price range, at least one with performance remotely comparable to similarly priced x86 hardware. A pretty good comparison can be made with the various attempts to market from-scratch PowerPC-based AmigaOS computers. The AmigaOne, for instance, sold for about $700 in the *weakest* configurations (800mhz-ish G3s). G4-equipped boards were closer to $1000. These boards were "announced" nearly three years before they actually came to market, and when they *did* start shipping serious bugs rapidly came to light. (The motherboards were based on a "reference platform" chipset, and the silicon manufacturer went bankrupt about the time the first "large" (1000-ish) batch of boards shipped.) I think it's fair to say that manufacturing "fast" computers for niche markets using a minority silicon platform and a low budget is a *non-trivial* affair.

It's like the old saw about "'Better', 'Faster', 'Cheaper', pick any two", but worse. X86 is the only platform that satisfies all three items in the list "'Cheap', 'Fast', 'Available'". ("Available" meaning "readily adaptable to custom applications without doing expensive custom engineering".) PowerPC can be 'fast and (semi)-available' (In the form of dual-core G4 CPUs living on network routers line cards. This is what most of the fast e600 variants are for, after all.), or it can be 'cheap and available' (in the form of low-performance embedded-class motherboards like the Genesi EFIKA), and it can even be 'fast and cheap' in the form of game consoles, but it's never all three. (The only reason PowerPC game consoles can be fast and cheap is because a fixed configuration is produced in vast quantities. Even then the manufactures of game consoles depend on getting their cut of software sales to recoup the engineering costs. You're not going to be able do either when selling a "hacker" motherboard. If a G5-equivalent Xbox360 costs $399 figure your board's going to have to sell for at least twice that, *and* you'll still have to sell a million or so before you make a profit.)

As to OS X compatibility there arn't any "ROMs" which can be straightforwardly yanked out of any G4 tower/desktop/whatever to "bless" your third-party motherboard. I guess you could tell the customer to take a razor saw and cut the flash chip off a PowerPC G4 motherboard, place it in the included plastic pouch, and stick it to the inside of your computer case, but I sort of doubt that would pass muster with Apple Legal.

PowerPC as "Personal Computer" platform is dead. Unless a big company, or *several* big companies pick up the torch that Apple dunked in a bucket of cold water (and threw off a cliff. A cliff overlooking the Marianas Trench.) it's going to stay that way.

--Peace

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Re: Will there ever be a new G4 from Freescale?

Eudimorphodon wrote:
Unknown1 wrote:

I guess an e600 upgrade for a G4 board is about as likely as a G5 upgrade. Anyone feel like designing a whole new motherboard for the hacking community and selling them for under $200?!? Just pull the ROM out of an old G4 and you have a real (only severely upgraded) Mac!

Unless you were able to sell a *lot* of them it's really unlikely anyone's ever going to be able to market a PowerPC-based "hacker Macintosh" motherboard in that price range, at least one with performance remotely comparable to similarly priced x86 hardware. A pretty good comparison can be made with the various attempts to market from-scratch PowerPC-based AmigaOS computers.

The AmigaOne

Genesi EFIKA)

PowerPC as "Personal Computer" platform is dead. Unless a big company, or *several* big companies pick up the torch that Apple dunked in a bucket of cold water (and threw off a cliff. A cliff overlooking the Marianas Trench.) it's going to stay that way.

Thanks for the in-depth response, I know you are right but sheesh, do you have to be SO right! :^[

(OFF TOPIC AMIGA RANT:)
Interesting you refer to the AmigaOne and EFIKA. I found information on EFIKA last night, actually this morning at about 4:00 AM (I have a sleep problem). The EFIKA is interesting if it wasn't so underpowered, though for its designed use it is plenty powerful and the price is right at $100! I wish they had designed it around the e600 instead of the e300. Though it would likely be much more expensive. (anyone know HOW expensive the e600 is?)

The AmigaOne is ridiculously late and non upgradeable and really seems like a dead end as it is so far behind current (Intel / AMD) speeds. By the time they get toward releasing it they need to redesign it to make use of modern components (they seem to have the development timing of the pre-Jobs Apple!). And the politics behind two companies disputing the intellectual property of the Amiga is so counterproductive that it is killing any chance of success, I think.

I still believe the Amiga was the ultimate of computers for its time and still have my accelerated A1200. I never liked Apple at the time because their products were SOOOOO expensive. Now they are quite cost effective because of their very productive OS, even though I will never be able to afford a new one in the foreseeable future.

A really amazing project is the Minimig - A complete open source copy of an Amiga 500 on one board using about 5 ICs. Completely designed and built by one person in his spare time in two years. His current project is the TG68000 a complete 68k processor on a programmable FPGA chip that can run I think as high as 28 MHz (verses the original's 8 MHz). Tested and working in a matter of months! I know this has nothing to do with new G4s in Mac 'clones' (though it may have some application to Classic Mac clones) but it does show what is possible to someone dedicated and talented.
(AMIGA RANT MODE OFF)

I guess though, my original statement still applies:

Unknown1 wrote:

I guess an e600 upgrade for a G4 board is about as likely as a G5 upgrade.

In otherwords it is as near to impossible as possible!

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unknown1's picture
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G4 / e600 / 8641 Dual Pricing
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