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PowerPC Open Platform Motherboards Finally Here 248

Cajal writes: "IBM's POP (PowerPC Open Platform) is a standard for making PowerPC-based motherboards. It's been out for years, but no one did anything with it. That's now changed. According to a story on PenguinPPC, Mai Logic is finally making POP motherboards. Finally, we can buy PowerPC motherboards without dealing with Apple."
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PowerPC Open Platform Motherboards Finally Here

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  • by edrugtrader ( 442064 ) on Monday January 28, 2002 @12:59PM (#2914146) Homepage
    personally if i wanted a powerPC i would want to deal with the people that have been doing it for years, and have the most to gain through its success... basically all the cmdrtaco's of the world that want a mac, but are pc slaves for some obscure reason.
  • by Guppy06 ( 410832 ) on Monday January 28, 2002 @01:01PM (#2914162)
    An Apple that isn't an Apple is quite tempting. My main complaint about those things for most of my years has been the inability to build a frankenstein like you can with the old PC architecture.

    I've been planning on getting myself a new computer in the next few months, and pretty much assumed I'd be getting a Thunderbird. But now... now this makes me think. On the plus side the PPCs will be able to run Mac OS X (or will they?), but they won't be able to run any flavor of Windows (which I need for games and such). Of course, the deciding factor may just be how much more Mandrake supports their PPC code after this.

    PPCs... feels like I'm talking about BattleTech...
  • by Vanders ( 110092 ) on Monday January 28, 2002 @01:11PM (#2914223) Homepage
    If POP has "been around for a few years now", whatever happened to the Common Hardware Reference Platform? Would POP be the phoenix from the ashes of CHRP by any chance?
  • by BeBoxer ( 14448 ) on Monday January 28, 2002 @01:11PM (#2914226)
    Given that they are selling evaluation boards for $3,900 in quantity 1, I think sticking with Apple might be a good idea in the short term. Since the chipset is only $30 in quantity, hopefully somebody else will begin making affordable motherboards based upon the design. But Apple doesn't charge that much for a pimped out G4 tower, even with their steep RAM markup.

    What's curious is that their web page seems to indicate that the same chipset works with x86, PPC, and MIPS processors. I'm sure there are 100 reasons why it's impossible, but that kind of chipset flexibility does seem to raise some interesting dual-boot or multiprocessor setups to say the least.
  • by stepson ( 33039 ) on Monday January 28, 2002 @01:16PM (#2914274) Homepage Journal
    This really doesn't seem like its that great. You get a 750CX (IBM's G3), 133mhz FSB, a few PCI slots, 1 AGP 2x slot, and a few other things like ethernet etc, and its almost 4 grand. Geez! I think you'd be better off with a fancy new dual G4 + GeForce 4 (Which, of course, you won't actually be able to get until the rest of us have had GeForce 4's for months) for $3k, which is complete, and even comes with a case.
  • Re:death of Apple? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by feldsteins ( 313201 ) <> on Monday January 28, 2002 @01:16PM (#2914279) Homepage
    I think you're missing the point here. None of this stuff is ready to run any version of the Mac OS or any applications developed for the Mac. There is still the issue of Apple proprietary ROMs to deal with.

    So this isn't a "Mac clone" issue at all.

    Apple will never allow clones in the future. At least I hope not. The only thing that makes Apple Apple is the fact that they make the hardware and the operating system, the "whole widget" as the Big Steve likes to say. I think he's absolutely right. It allows them to innovate, innovate quickly and also to take responsibility for more of the whole user experience.

    If you really think about it this is the only thing that makes them truly unique in the market. Otherwise they'd be Dell or Microsoft. There's no benefit in trying to out-Dell Dell or out-Microsoft Microsoft. And even if they did who would care? Or even notice? Even if Dell went out of business tomorrow someone else would step up and give you the exact same product at the exact same price.
  • by Nelson ( 1275 ) on Monday January 28, 2002 @01:33PM (#2914385)
    High priced reference platforms have never been in short supply. If I'm going to buy a $5000 system then getting an alpha, mips, sparc, or POWER/powerpc has never been difficult.

    I own a couple of pieces of alpha hardware and it's fun in a geeky way to have. It's nice to test code on other platforms, it's nice to be able to learn assembly to other platforms and have something to work on, and a 21264 makes a hell of a web server. I'd love to have a newer PowerPC machine to work on but the prices just aren't there. If I could buy a motherboard and processor for $400-$500 maybe even $600 then I could easily see a little clique of people doing it. I can see real market value to it as well, I've seen 6 or 7 embedded jobs over the last month that were for PowerPC products.

    I hope that they are interested in lowering the prices and ramping up some mass production of the hardware. I could also see a huge market for lower priced integrated PowerPC motherboards with G3s or even 60x processors on them; put 3 NICs, IDE and a PowerPC on a motherboard for $200 and you have a nice DIY home gateway/firewall/router box.

  • deja vu... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by gkbarr ( 124078 ) <> on Monday January 28, 2002 @01:57PM (#2914548) Homepage
    says the kid with a PowerComputing box.
  • EXPENSIVE (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 28, 2002 @02:13PM (#2914637)
    Why does it cost so much? I can see $200-$400 dollars but not almost $4k. Perhaps because its a prototype and its not really "massed produced"?
    anybody have a possible explanation to why its so much?
  • Some ideas (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Sloppy ( 14984 ) on Monday January 28, 2002 @02:18PM (#2914660) Homepage Journal

    The obvious reason is the coolness factor. ;-)

    Other reasons are coolness (in terms of low temp and fewer fans, not hip dude wearing sunglasses) and power usage. Low-power-usage (yet still fast) computers would be great for 24x7 servers.

    Emulating MacOS (like Sheepshaver under BeOS did) would be somewhat nifty (although current real Macs these days are very nice, so this would be a somewhat less valid reason than it would have been a few years ago).

    Another server-related idea: obscurity. Let's hypothesize you have bad, insecure source code that, for some bizarre reason (I can't think of an actual good reason) you're not going to fix. Let's say it has a buffer-overflow attack hole. All the kiddies' scripts will try to put x86 opcodes on your stack. Put when you execute them, you'll just dump core instead of getting rooted. Yes that still sucks, but it's an improvement, right? Actually, I don't remember, but I think PPC stack may grow in opposite direction than x86, so buffer overflow attacks might not work anyway?

    Use your imagination; there are probably other advantages. But really when you get down to it, the coolness factor is the best one. :-)

  • by SonicBurst ( 546373 ) on Monday January 28, 2002 @02:24PM (#2914697) Homepage
    NT 4 supported the PPC Architecture, as DID Win2K until RC2, IIRC. Now, if the Win2K HAL is still intact from the RC days, you may still be able to hack the final version on to a PPC. Probably already been done, I'm just to lazy to run a google search right now :)
  • by MrResistor ( 120588 ) <> on Monday January 28, 2002 @02:24PM (#2914699) Homepage
    I think it's much more interesting to have them running in parallel. I'm envisioning a system where you have a "master" CPU, perhaps chosen at boot, and the other 2 running as slaves. That way you can run binary-only apps on their native hardware and without hurting your uptime. IIRC, the Amiga did something like this, though you couldn't choose the "master" at boot, obviously.

    Seems to me this would make for an incredible cross-platform developement tool.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 28, 2002 @02:42PM (#2914812)
    My understanding is that there are no proprietary ROMs, however that is not to say the modern systems are purely CHRP or have completely documented chipsets.

    True that an end user could theoretically modify Darwin and boot OS X on a non-Apple system. However the key point is that he/she could not sell systems with OS X installed due to copyright law. The best you could do is release patches and a HOWTO, which limits your market quite a bit.

    So, Apple's ownership of the platform lies with the lawyers, not the technology.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 28, 2002 @03:07PM (#2914966)
    I agree with you completely except for the part you got wrong. Apple machines still ship with a proprietary ROM on board that contains machine specific information and a boot loader and some other nifty things. Try holding down the Option key on startup on a 'New World ROM' machine- you get a choice of currently installed MacOSes to boot from. That's not handled by whatever software ROM sits in your system folder.

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