Mac OS X on Intel

Current Mactel status: Denial

I’m so conflicted about the whole “Apple on Intel” thingy. For me it isn’t that Intel is evil or anything, it is a philosophy issue. PowerPCs are RISC architecture. That means that the CPUs run more efficiently but have a smaller set of built-in computations. That is why a 1GHz G5 is actually faster than a 1GHz Pentium 4, the G5 is making better use of its time. Well, for the typical home user it is anyway. See, every instruction the CPU performs has to fit into the same number of clock cycles. So if the most complex instruction the CPU performs requires 24 clock cycles than the simplest instruction, which may only use 6 will have to take 24 anyway. That is the beauty of RISC. Most home users are never going to need the more complicated CPU instructions. Smaller is better.

But RISC doesn’t mean that the chip will always be superior. Motorola has lagged in advancement of the PowerPC line. Steve Jobs hinted that this was the real issue when he made the announcement. He put up a picture of a G5 with “3 GHz” beneath it and said that a year earlier he’d promised that and they hadn’t been able to deliver it. Well, Apple couldn’t deliver because Motorola

So that is what Apple faced. A CPU that is more efficient but the line was going nowhere or switch to the one they have baited in the past. Really, the only way forward was with Intel, everyone else seems to be asleep at the wheel. No, that isn’t right, the only way forward was with the x86 chips, the other developers were asleep. There is still AMD. But not for Apple.

Steve said and demoed that Mac OS X sings on Intel. It isn’t like we’re going to be stuck with beige boxes of ugliness or anything. It isn’t like spyware and virus are a hardware problem. It isn’t like an Intel chip will make OS X be as bad as Window. But there is something about eating crow that just doesn’t agree with me. I’ll keep my G4 Powerbook as long as I can.

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