Apple and Intel, Together at Last

Around 30 minutes into the keynote, Steve Jobs put up this slide:

The slide started half an hour of discussion on Apple's move to Intel's x86 processors. Starting in the middle of 2006 and being mostly complete by 2007, Apple will move from the PowerPC architecture to Intel's x86 architecture. In fact, the entire WWDC 2005 keynote was running on a 3.6GHz Pentium 4 system running OS X 10.4 (Tiger).

The reason? According to Jobs, the PowerPC roadmap would not provide the performance that Apple needed going into the future.

The most ironic part of it all? Apple's biggest reason for moving happens to be performance per watt, where according to Apple, Intel will significantly outperform the PowerPC starting in 2006 and moving forward:

Why is that ironic? Because all AnandTech readers know that presently, AMD provides far better performance per watt than Intel. During the keynote, Steve never mentioned whether or not you'd be able to run non-Intel x86 processors on the new port of OS X. We'd guess that AMD CPUs would have no problem running, but driver support for AMD platforms may not necessarily be there.

Macs with Intel processors will be shipping by June 2006, and the transition will be almost complete by June 2007.

Index Two Challenges to Transition


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  • fishbits - Monday, June 6, 2005 - link

    "but why intel and not amd is really odd to me"
    Because AMD can't supply enough chips as it is already, and Apple can't wait around hoping/expecting it will get better?

    "It would be interesting if you could buy an Apple MB (thus acquiring the appropriate BIOS/ROM) and a copy of OS X and then build your own computer around that? That would be kind of cool!"
    Of course you will be able to! You'll just have to pay full system price same as always, and throw away the stylish case. What, did you think Apple existed as a computer company based on the value of their hardware and software? If that were the case they could sell their OS and hardware seperately. They're selling style, and God bless 'em there's people willing to pay for that over performance. Apple makes great products, and if they ever divorce their prices from an image campaign, I'll be happy to buy some.

    "Now that Macintosh is going to use Intel processors in their Macs, I don't what the difference will be between a Mac and an average x86 computer from Dell. ... So basically, all I'd be getting for the price of today's Macs will be a Dell in a nice case and funky monitor."
    A funny trap, isn't it? "Apple rules! Their CPU is a bazillion times better than any Intel crap! But... now that Apple is using Intel... uhhh... I either have to lose my Intel hate and admit that they make good chips too, or I have to abandon my support for Apple. And once I abandon Apple, I'll be running on... ummm... an Intel (or AMD) chip." Who said it's always easy being a fanboi? You constantly run the risk of reality intruding.

    But hey, the Xbox 360 is just around the corner, since it's the CPU that defines the system to you, I guess that makes it an Apple rig. Who says you can't game on an Apple?
  • sprockkets - Monday, June 6, 2005 - link

  • southpawuni - Monday, June 6, 2005 - link

    The biggest shame is that they wont go head to head with MS in the OS market.
    Seems to me that Apple REALLY decided to give up in the hardware market for good now that they are sucking on Intel's ta-ta's.

    With all the coolest features and changes to Longhorn being ripped out, I've lost nearly all interest in the new OS.

    Everyone is looking for an alternative to Windows, the time is nigh..

    I think Macs will continue to be a joke, just make Apple more money per unit maybe now.
    Its the OS market that, if played properly, could reap them "microsoft"-level rewards...

    If MS starts throwing their weight around, maybe they'll actually give us WinFS and other features they cut out to get it out the door and make a killing faster. Apple can always threaten Intel and run to AMD if they need too, just like Dell. :)

    Apple will never make it in hardware.. they make gimmicks, and a nice OS.. thats it. Hence this move means little to anyone other than their bottom line.
    To me, the real money would come if they'd sell OSX on massive scale.
    Now lets get it in stores for every X86 machine.
  • gibhunter - Monday, June 6, 2005 - link

    I'm sure it will take less than 6 months before we see a crack for a hardware based DRM. Reply
  • gibhunter - Monday, June 6, 2005 - link

    You and everyone else know that Pentium 4 days are numbered. You can bet your ass that next gen Pentium will be very similar to Centrino in power usage and not much different from A64 in architecture. It will be a great CPU (AMD might still have something better though).

    Personally, I hope OSX becomes a valid alternative to Windows. With the transition to x86, Apple is one step closer.
  • mistersnail - Monday, June 6, 2005 - link

    Well, I'm sort of left disappointed. If this was already said, sorry, I didn't read all the posts.

    Now that Macintosh is going to use Intel processors in their Macs, I don't what the difference will be between a Mac and an average x86 computer from Dell. I mean, from my view of things, we're going to have a dual CPU (most likely dualcore) Mac PC that'll produce results most likely nearly identical to a well-tweaked (if at all) Intel computer. So basically, all I'd be getting for the price of today's Macs will be a Dell in a nice case and funky monitor. Booya...

    And yah, they have gone AMD. They would have had a much more powerful line-up of systems... Let alone the fact that they'd be much easier to cool.

    Freakin' dumb fools at Mac... I'm sure they're not that dumb. They were probably bought out by Intel on that idea. My guess is that Mac said to Intel and AMD: "Whoever gives us the best deal will get their processors in our future systems. Cheers!"

    Just watch Dell switching from Intel to AMD...
  • ProviaFan - Monday, June 6, 2005 - link

    #16 (Bowsky): Unfortunately, AMD seems to be rushing headlong into the abyss of hardware DRM with "Presidio" in some of their newest CPUs. So AMD users won't be left out after all... but I'd rather it were not that way. :( Reply
  • srg - Monday, June 6, 2005 - link

    Well, I'd still never buy an apple then.

  • mikecel79 - Monday, June 6, 2005 - link

    #15 Dell is shipping BTX platforms now with their new Optiplex GX520 and GX620 lines. I am expecting a shipment of them soon. So it looks like Intel has a company using them already. Reply
  • Bowsky - Monday, June 6, 2005 - link

    I read earlier that the reason Apple choose Intel and more specifically the Pentium D over AMD and other processors was because of the chip level copy protection Intel has added to that line of CPUs. Rumor has it that Steve Jobs is once again planning to start an online media store, this time for video. In the same article (I believe its in today’s Anandtech News) it states that the major media companies would not allow their media to be distributed without Intel's hardware level DRM.

    This continues to be sour news for AMD fans. Not only does this mean AMD chips will not be found in Macs (unless AMD adopts Intel's DRM), but this also means that eventually, when this online media store makes its way onto the PC market, AMD users will be shut out.

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