Powermac G5s at the Show

In Microsoft's own Xbox 360 booth, we saw tons of kiosks running upcoming 360 titles that were actually playable.

Games like Top Spin 2 and Need for Speed were playable, but for some reason they didn't actually look all that great for a next-generation console.

Note the aliasing in this screenshot...the Xbox 360 GPU is supposed to have AA enabled at all times...

To find out why, we had to look a little closer at the kiosks.

Each kiosk had a wired Xbox 360 controller connected to it, running into the base of the kiosk that only had one small window showing off a Xbox 360 console.

But the console itself wasn't on, looking at the right of the kiosk you get to see the actual power behind the demos:

Are those two G5s?

A pair of Apple Powermac G5 systems were actually running the Xbox 360 demos, not the 360 console. The consoles in the kiosks weren't actually running, they were just for show - now you know why all the controllers were wired.

Yeah they are

Because the G5 systems can only use a GeForce 6800 Ultra or an ATI Radeon X800 XT, developers had to significantly reduce the image quality of their demos - which explains their lack luster appearance. Anti-aliasing wasn't enabled on any of the demos, while the final Xbox 360 console will have 4X AA enabled on all titles.

We are disappointed that all of Microsoft's Xbox 360 kiosks were running G5 systems as we wanted to see real hardware in action, not behind glass, but Apple should be quite happy.

The DVD Remote An Actual Running Xbox 360 at E3
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  • xype - Friday, May 20, 2005 - link

    The reason the games are not "ported" to OS X has a lot to do with OS X's current OpenGL implementation sucking just that much. Apple recently posted job offers for people to work on OpenGL and while they were oblivious to the developers complaining about OpenGL performance ("Yeah, it may be slow, but it's working according to spec!") I think that (and I might be very wrong), ironically, World of Warcraft and Blizzard gave Apple the kick in the shin it needed to wake up.

    If you ever see a G5 with a X800, do run WoW or Doom 3 on it and compare it to a X800 equipped PC. Any difference you'll notice sure wont be because of the Dual 2.0 GHz CPUs and the 1GHz system bus, that's for sure.

    I'd think that the XBox dev kit G5s are actually quite nice - simply because MS probably got their 3D API implementation sorted already.
  • PrinceGaz - Friday, May 20, 2005 - link

    #27- maybe a UPS?
  • Eug - Thursday, May 19, 2005 - link

    Hmmm... I think there were two Power Macs because it looks like in the picture that there are two screens. I still wanna know what that black thing was on the left though.

    #23, they were Power Macs running the X800 XT or 6800 Ultra DDL.
  • Felickzs - Thursday, March 17, 2011 - link

    Uh. The "Black Thing" looks like a cry computer ;-)
  • Felickzs - Thursday, March 17, 2011 - link

    This: http://www.cray.com/Products/CX/Systems.aspx
  • stmok - Thursday, May 19, 2005 - link

    Those consoles aren't using PPUs at all.

    There are using PPU's technology software wise.

    Confused? Let me explain...

    AGEIA, the company responsible for the Physics Processor, has NovodeX physics software...This is an API that allows you to write apps with full interactive environments/etc. In addition, it IS multithreaded allowing you to support multi-core or multi-CPU environments.

    Both Sony and MS's consoles are multi-core/multi-CPU implemenations.

    In the PS3's case, they use the API to emulate a Physics Processor Unit on the Cell CPU.

    So it does NOT need a PPU. But its CPU emulates this function!

    For the PC, you need a PPU.

    The PPU will give you a fully interactive environment. eg : When a bullet hits a brick wall, you will see bits of it fall off. You can pickup and move items around, as if you were really in that room.

    In all essence...

    PS3 => PPU (emulated) + Sound(done by Cell) + Cell CPU + RSX

    By the end of this year...

    PC => PPU (hardware) + Sound Card + CPU + G70 or R520.

    PC will lose out in graphics, because the G70 offers half the floating point precision in graphics and is clocked slower than the RSX GPU in the PS3.

    Developer-wise, PS3 uses OpenGL and Nvidia's Cg APIs...So porting games from PC to PS3 and vice versa won't be too much of a problem. (You obviously need to tweak certain areas and re-compile on a different architecture.)
  • sillyC - Thursday, May 19, 2005 - link

    It is weird that all these new consoles are gonna be sporting PPC CPUs. why isnt anybody (game consoles) using Intel or AMD chips? Is the PPC better for gaming? Are desktop computers going to be making the same migration? Now it seems clear why IBM dumped their desktop computer division, they are going to be making chips for everybody.
  • nitromullet - Thursday, May 19, 2005 - link


    What would be the point of a dev OS for a G5 tower with a $500+ video card when you will be able to actually buy the console for around $300?
  • Zak - Thursday, May 19, 2005 - link

    Yeah, all those iMacs with crap video cards like 5200, totally awesome gaming machines, LOL :D

  • Houdani - Thursday, May 19, 2005 - link

    I do have to chuckle at the irony of the Apple360 there.

    The XB360 case looks fine, dunno what folks are bellyaching about. A brushed metalic finish would be better than the default white, though, particularly for the controllers -- imagine how grimy looking those white controllers are going to look after a month of use. Ick. Hope they clean up nicely.

    Maybe it's part of a brilliant Marketing master plan. Use white so that the controllers show their dirt sooner, prompting consumers to junk the controller and buy a new one. Cha-ching.

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