Feeds

Apple crippled G3 Macs to bar PPC G4 upgrades

It's all in the firmware, alleges Mac Web site

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Apple has deliberately nobbled the firmware built into its latest generation of Power Macs to prevent them being upgraded to Motorola's upcoming PowerPC 7400 (aka G4) processor. That's the shocking claim being made by Mac-oriented Web site AppleInsider, citing unnamed sources. According to the source, "Apple has intentionally disable the ability to use a G4 processor card in the current Blue and White G3s via its new firmware update. We know this was done intentionally because the previous version of firmware does not have a problem with the presence of a G4 processor." The firmware now checks the host computer's processor, and if it finds a PowerPC 7400, it allegedly halts the start-up process. In short, if you add a G4 upgrade card to your blue'n'white Power Mac, it will always fail to boot. The change was made possible because the new G3s, like the iMac, store the firmware in a Flash chip. Older machines, like the original beige Power Mac G3, will be unaffected -- their firmware is stored on ROM. So how likely are the rumours to be true? Circumstantial evidence suggests they might well be. With a die size many times larger than the current PowerPC 750 chips (see Naked PowerPC G4 seen on Web) yields on the new chip are likely to be low, pushing up prices and, more importantly, limiting supply. Preventing existing G3s from working with the G4 would severely limit the demand for upgrades, in turn cutting down the number of chips upgrade manufacturers require, and thus increasing the number of chips Apple can buy. And once Motorola is punching out 7400s at a more reasonable rate, Apple can issue a new firmware update, removing the G4 block from the code. It all sounds very feasible. The only snag is that there are still a great many non-blue'n'white Power Macs out there whose owners would like to upgrade to the 7400, and who will be willingly supplied by the upgrade vendors. So how many extra 7400 chips Apple really would gain by limiting upgrades this way is open to question. It will be interesting to see what comment Apple makes, if any, on the rumour, and whether the AppleInsider sources' claims are verified by others. ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
YARR! Pirates walk the plank: DMCA magnets sink in Google results
Spaffing copyrighted stuff over the web? No search ranking for you
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.