The Macintel Report

Intel Preps OS X Tools, Apple Locks in G4 Chip Supply, and New CPUs More Efficient than Pentium 4

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2005.09.01

This Week's Macintel News

Low End Mac has standardized on Macintel as our informal label for the forthcoming OS X on Intel Macintosh computers, although you'll probably find just as many people calling them "Mactels". Whatever we call them, Apple's decision to switch to Intel CPUs means we live in very interesting times.

PowerBook, iBook, and other portable computing news is covered in The 'Book Review. General Apple and Mac desktop news is covered in The Mac News Review. iPod news is covered in The iNews Review.

Intel Readies OS X Tools

The Inquirer reports:

"Chip firm Intel said that it will start beta testing a range of its software for Mac OS X towards the end of this year.

"It said it will deliver betas for Intel compilers, and performance libraries which will speed up digital media and high performance computing applications on Mac OS X."

Apple Guards G4 Chip Stash

TheStreet.com's Troy Wolverton reports:

"Apple Computer's move to Intel chips may take a bit longer than expected, if a deal announced by the computer company on Friday is any indication.

"Apple has reached a new purchasing agreement with longtime supplier Freescale Semiconductor, which produces the PowerPC G4 chip for the computer maker, according to a regulatory document filed Friday by Apple. Under terms of the new deal, Apple has the right to buy - and Freescale has the obligation to supply - PowerPC chips through the end of 2008.

"That's a full year after the date when the company plans to move its entire line of Macintosh computers from PowerPC to Intel processors. Apple uses Freescale's G4 chips in its notebook computers and in its lower-end desktop models such as the Mac Mini."

Freescale to Supply Apple with G4 Processors through 2008

EE Times Dylan McGrath reports:

"Apple Computer Inc.'s transition to Intel Corp.'s microprocessors may not happen as fast as expected, as the computer maker on Friday (Aug. 26) reported that it has signed a microprocessor supply agreement with Freescale Semiconductor Inc. that lasts through 2008.

"According to a document filed by Apple with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Apple and Freescale entered into a purchase agreement Aug. 22 whereby Freescale is obligated to supply Apple with Power PC microprocessors through 2008."

New Intel CPUs More Efficient than Pentium 4

Laptop Logic reports:

"For the past few product cycles, Intel has been 're-using' their design. When the Banias version of the Pentium M came out, it was mostly derived from the Pentium III rather than the Pentium 4. Dothan brought some nice improvements and refinements to the Centrino platform, but again not a major departure from the previous platform. The Sonoma platform brought new features and capabilities, including a faster FSB, DDR2, and PCI-E.

"Merom is a completely new architecture, just with a lot of features reminiscent of both the previous Pentium M and the Netburst architecture of the Pentium 4. To start with, Intel has abandoned the high-speed/long pipeline of the Netburst architecture. This means that instead of 3 GHz+ clocks and a ridiculously long pipeline (Prescott was into 30+ stages), Merom will have a 14 stage pipeline for a much higher IPC (Instructions Per Clock) count. This simply means that Merom will do more work in a single clock cycle than the Pentium 4 could ever have hoped to do, and it should do even better than Dothan. The 65nm manufacturing process might allow clock speeds around 3 GHz, but not much beyond that. The core will be able to process four instructions at a time. There will be a direct L1-to-L1 cache transfer system, which should help improve the disappointing cache-to-cache transfer performance of Intel's current dual core desktop chips."

AMD Knocks Intel on Power

eWeek's John G Spooner reports:

"AMD is fighting the power.

"Even with Intel Corp.'s new focus on delivering higher processor performance per watt of energy, unveiled here at its fall Intel Developer Forum, Advanced Micro Devices Inc. maintains that its Opteron server chips consume less juice than its rival Intel's Xeon server chips, either available now or coming in the near future."

More Mac News

PowerBook, iBook, and other portable computing news is covered in The 'Book Review. General Apple and Mac desktop news is covered in The Mac News Review. iPod news is covered in The iNews Review.

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