Hiring Chip Chiefs
Then, in 2009, Apple hired one-time AMD Graphics Products Group CTO Bob Drebin, and was said to have found work for Raja Koduri, who was also CTO at AMD's Graphics Products Group, having joined the company through its acquisition of ATI - which is how AMD also took on Drebin.
Drebin acknowledged his Apple role on the social networking site LinkedIn, though Koduri has not. Maybe he never joined, and his claimed participation was simply a mix-up arising from both holding the CTO position.
Either way, Apple has people on board with solid graphics chip development expertise.
It's important not to read too much into that, though. In 1999, Apple acquired Raycer Graphics, a developer of graphics technology for SoCs, but the acquisition doesn't appear to have led to any specific new Apple product, at least not one Apple has ever acknowledged. Indeed, both of Raycer's founders - David Epstein and Jay Duluk - went off to do other things after handing over the keys to Apple. Duluk eventually wound up at Nvidia.
Apple may have hired the likes of Drebin on the basis they can keep it up to date on the best the chip industry has to offer and get it the best commercial deals, not to develop such a product on its behalf.
However, there are rather a lot of former PA Semi chip engineers, designers and managers who, unlike Epstein and Duluk, didn't leave during the acquisition and are still working at Apple doing the jobs they were doing at PA. The acquisition wasn't simply an intellectual property grab - all these people are still working on low-power, high-performance chips, though presumably not ones based on the Power architecture.
Will their efforts make it into the iPad? Northeast Securities' Ashok Kumar, also quoted by CNet, reckons Apple will use Samsung chippery - as it does with the iPhone - before transitioning to a PA Semi-designed alternative.
Even then, Samsung may manufacture the part. UBS Investment Research this week said that will happen sooner rather than later: the first Apple tablet will contain a PA Semi SoC fabbed by the South Korean giant.
Nvidia's Tegra demo at CES was impressive. If the chip does a little less than what has been promised, it means we're going to see some powerful yet long-running tablet designs this year. If Doherty's forecast about Apple's SoC superiority is anything more than hyperbole, Apple's offering will blow them all away. ®
ARM wrestling: Apple iPad chip to overpower rivals?
OK, one reason the G5 consumed so much power is IBM was lazy and synthesized the thing. IBM had people who did low power (PPC 4xx guys) but who got sold off to AMCC. The people who put the G5 together went down the P4 path.1
IBM royally @#$@#$ up the PPC. PA did full custom for many parts of their PPC chip and had efficient clock gating, lowering the power of the chip significantly but by the time it hit the market it was a vanity company for Dan. That product (PA6T-1682M) shipped though, Torben.
That said, why reinvent the wheel? Doing another PPC at this stage is a science project. Why not just do a multi-core ARM chip with full-custom where it helps your MIPS/watt and integrate the graphics stuff they bought?
Paris 'cuz after all these years I'd still like to royally
Agreed but teams of 100s? No way. Teams of thousands.
"You also get ultimate lockin - no 3rd party OSs"
"You also get ultimate lockin - no 3rd party OSs and noone else can use your software."
I like most of what you wrote but that particular statement puzzles me.
I have ARM-based PDAs that started life with WinCE/PocketPC that can easily run a 3rd party OS (e.g. Linux) and 3rd party applications.
I have ARM-based routers that started life with vendor-supplied OS that can easily run a third party OS (e.g. Linux-based DD-WRT, or OpenWRT, or in the right circumstances, VxWorks) and 3rd party applications.
I have ARM-based industrial comms gear that starts life with a vendor-supplied OS, that can alternatively run a selection of third party OSes, although 3rd party applications might not be so readily available yet.
I have an ARM-based mobile phone and I have no idea how to run, and no interest in running, a 3rd party OS on it. But that's the exception to the rule.
Where's the "ultimate lock-in", please?
Pandora, BeagleBoard, n900 and so on are using a TI OMAP chip with the powerVR graphics core. They need a binary-only driver if you want the accelerated graphics to work, but so far TI seem reasonably serious about keeping it available and up to date, which is nice but sadly rather unusual.
More common is a mess like the intel driver previously mentioned, or broadcom's adsl driver, used in modems like the dg834gt, that only works if you're using an ancient (2.6.8?) kernel version. The intel case is particularly sad because the rest of their recent graphics support in linux is open.
My hardware has always had full driver support under Linux, unlike all those people who bought netbooks which won't be upgradeable beyond a few point releases of the kernel. Of course, to "empowered consumers" like yourself, this is a blessing because it gives you the excuse to go out and buy "the new shiny" and feel like you're on the red carpet until you get bored and want something even shinier.
But thanks for the playground-level idiot remarks, tiresome even at the primary school level, I'm sure they pass as the height of wit in your Royston Vasey-level locality.