do you know info about iPad and new A4 processor?

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Post: #16
OneSadCookie Wrote:What a ridiculous thing to say... of course the feature of the hardware is not tied to the name of a function in an API.

I'm imagining programming the GPU using assembler calls (I've heard of a few people doing that - for kicks, mainly). Out of pure curiosity (I have no real place in this discussion if not as a questioner) what were you thinking of as a solution?

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Post: #17
I don't know the details of the situation. I wasn't thinking of a solution. warmi's explanation sounds reasonable.
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Post: #18
captainfreedom Wrote:To enable anti-aliaising on PowerVR you need to call eglChooseConfig. And that function doesn't exist in the iPhone SDK, which effectively disables the feature.


I know it is semantics ... but it is already enabled "for you" since Apple is using anti-aliasing on their own stuff with the primary framebuffer.

You just can't use it :-)
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Nibbie
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Post: #19
I've published a blog detailing my take on the A4 processor at http://markstechchat.blogspot.com/. Briefly, it's derived from the PA Semi PA6T, which has IBM Power Architecture RISC cores (2 of them). Since IBM supplies processors or licenses Power Architecture to all three game boxes, PS3, Xbox and Wii, it should make for a great portable game console. Perhaps the best on the market. By the way, IBM just shipped the 50 millionth Wii processor to Nintendo. All the talk about A4 being ARM Cortex-A9 based is just virtual fact, spread virally on the internet.

Mark
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Post: #20
Very interesting article Mark! Thanks for posting, and welcome to iDevGames Smile
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Post: #21
Quote:Steve’s disparagement of netbooks is probably revealing: iPads running Intel processors (that were available in 2008) were probably not cutting it. Another consideration may have been related to the aforementioned slow processor adoption by Apple. An internally developed processor may have been seen as a way to speed up product development by giving Apple engineers advance insights into processors that were still in the development stage. Also, an internal processor might provide even greater hardware/software integration and thereby provide a competitive advantage. There’s certainly a business case to be made for this sort of vertical integration, since a little more profit would now flow Apple’s way, rather than to the microprocessor supplier. Or maybe using Intel processors just stuck in Steve’s craw, despite his outward enthusiasm when the switch from PowerPC was made.

I would add that SJ also mentioned in a conference call a year or so ago when asked what they could do with the like 25 Billion in cash they had, something to the effect that, it would afford them some interesting opportunities. I immediately thought back to how I perceived IBM had really crapped on Apple by being so late with processor production on the G5, perhaps in favor of shifting production capacity towards Microsoft and Sony for their game consoles (purely wild speculation of course). But the fact remains that IBM couldn't produce what they said they would for Apple and Apple had their company's livelihood on the line. If you had that much cash and you could, wouldn't you start your own line of processors to at least physically demonstrate to your processor vendors that you mean business? I mean, Apple was in a position with IBM where IBM acted like they had Apple by the balls. Apple turned around on a dime and went to the only real competitor out there, Intel, and had done so by building secret versions of OS X for Intel all along. Methinks Stevo knows well how the processor manufacturers cannot be trusted to deliver when the chips are down (pardon the pun). I think their new processor is at least in part a product of distrust, in addition to the points you made.

On a side note: I am reading Ben Rich's "Skunkworks" book and couldn't help but wonder what the heck kind of crazy stuff they might be testing out the PA Semi PA6T for. Ninja
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Post: #22
AnotherJake Wrote:Apple turned around on a dime and went to the only real competitor out there, Intel, and had done so by building secret versions of OS X for Intel all along.

Or Advanced Micro Devices, which until the i5 and arguably the i7 line of chips held a tiny sliver of performance advantage over Intel, and still holds a heaping pile of performance-per-dollar advantage over Intel.

So I'd nitpick and say that they built a skunkworks IA-32 version of OS X, not specifically Intel. Apple has the added ability now to switch between AMD and Intel whenever they feel like it. Perhaps if AMD can get its head out of the server and desktop market long enough, and build a decent laptop chip, we might see Apple making some power-plays with Intel to leverage better prices.

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Post: #23
cmiller Wrote:Or Advanced Micro Devices...

Apple has the perception of being a premium PC manufacturer (if only in price at times). Intel was and still is widely perceived as being a premium chip provider (if only in price at times). The opportunity to partner up with Intel was perfect, and AMD being there keeps pressure on Intel to deliver the goods. Motorola fell apart at the upper management level and fell out of the game, so nothing was keeping IBM's feet to the fire for Apple. I don't see how Apple would have done themselves any good by going with AMD out the gate.
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Post: #24
Interesting, but I'd suspect that the choice of an ARM-based SoC would be driven by backward compatibility, and imagine Apple likely discarded PA Semi's previous line of products at an early stage if it was indeed PA Semi who made the A4 (and there were some hints that that was not the case). Then if the production and testing timeline argue against a Cortex A9 in iPad, it seems more likely that it's an A8 rather than an A9, since the A8 has been clocked close to 1 GHz in other designs (eg TI OMAP 3440 @ 800 MHz), and doing their own design would have given Apple process flexibility. I wouldn't rule out an A9 design completely though, since Apple do own a sizeable chunk of ARM and may have had early access.

I'm skeptical of software emulation or cross-compile on a PA6T related device as a viable approach, given the difficulty and overhead it would add to development. Apple's older 68k emulators never worked very well, and even if you look at industrial-strength emulators such as VirtualPC on Mac, there is still a significant overhead which would wipe out much of any potential performance-to-power gain relative to a straight ARM core.

Still this is just an aspect of a larger set of decisions based around power and price rather than performance. For example, given the range of intel technologies, Apple probably could have made a higher-performance pad using say a laptop processor like a Core i7 mobile. But the value proposition to the consumer changes dramatically once your pad battery life drops below a certain level - and Apple seems to have determined that the sweet spot is around 10 hours. Given how often I need to recharge my iPhone I tend to agree Wink

Then on top of that there is a big unknown about where the ideal price point is for an iPad-like device. The $499 they announced was already a lot lower than many industry observers were expecting, and I thought comments in the press that the CoG was around $270 and the third-hand rumors that Apple might lower the price if it didn't sell were a good indication of business strategy. Using many third-party chips would lose a lot of price-control ability, and the mere price advantage over device lifetime of eleminating parts in favor of a single chip may have been enough to motivate development.

Apple seem to have structured the device around compatibility and leveraging the app store on the one hand, and hitting user experience bars while keeping the ability to lower the price if the consumer sensible-value point turns out to be lower on the other, taking a hint from the early and cheap netbooks. To me that looks like a good series of choices.
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Post: #25
AnotherJake Wrote:Apple has the perception of being a premium PC manufacturer (if only in price at times). Intel was and still is widely perceived as being a premium chip provider (if only in price at times). The opportunity to partner up with Intel was perfect, and AMD being there keeps pressure on Intel to deliver the goods. Motorola fell apart at the upper management level and fell out of the game, so nothing was keeping IBM's feet to the fire for Apple. I don't see how Apple would have done themselves any good by going with AMD out the gate.

I totally agree; Apple stood to gain nothing from AMD, but they could have lost a lot of the cost in their products that they're now paying through the nose for Intel chips. Facts are, Intel compatible RAM is more expensive, Intel compatible motherboards are more expensive, and Intel chips are more expensive. So Apple chose the route which gave them access to good mobile chips and high-quality, if overpriced, hardware.

I'm not faulting them for it! I'm just stating that AMD still exists and is a viable alternative if Intel suddenly takes a turn down crazy street and decides to try and hit 5GHz on the old Pentium 4 line. Although perhaps the thermal problems associated with that could be alleviated by submerging the whole mess in mineral solution? [pugetsystems.com]

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Post: #26
warmi Wrote:I know it is semantics ... but it is already enabled "for you" since Apple is using anti-aliasing on their own stuff with the primary framebuffer.

You just can't use it :-)

What stuff?
Are you sure that the app is not just using the CPU for rendering?
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Post: #27
captainfreedom Wrote:What stuff?
Are you sure that the app is not just using the CPU for rendering?

They are using GLES for a lot of things ... that's why iPhone UI is so fast ... and to able to display system notifications ( like for instance an incoming call or something like that ) on top of whatever is currently displayed , 3dr party apps are not allowed to render to the framebuffer which is controlled by the operating system.

In the end 3rd party GLES based apps end up rendering to a rtt target which is just another layer to be displayed together with whatever other layers the OS wants to display at any given time.
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