Future macs to include coprocessor chips?

Apple recently made a bid for PA Semi, a semiconductor design company specializing in high performance, low power processors. The company is a licensee of IBMs POWER architecture, previously used by Apple as the PowerPC chip line, leading some to believe that Apple may be moving its Mac line back to PowerPC chips.

The truth however is less dramatic. Apple may be working on differentiating its hardware lineup by including discrete coprocessors for tasks such as video encoding, graphics design acceleration, and other high performance applications.

This sort of acceleration has been possible for a while now with the OS X Acceleration Framework, which takes advantage of whatever hardware is available on a machine, like SSE or Altivec instructions, graphics processors such as the Intel GMA or Nvidia chips, and in the future, dedicated coprocessors.


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  • R.

    Very cool!!!

    This opens up the opportunity to have self tuning software. Such that a lower power or less coprocessor equipped machine (say an image processor) might work with 16 bit images while a full honking pro machine might work bump that to 48bits.

  • DJay

    Can you say ‘AMIGA’?

  • sideshow bob

    yay!

  • R

    Boo!!!

    Here Apple goes again with yet another proprietary scheme that will, no doubt be a setback.

    Everyone else is going to be using the GPU as a co-processor. The GPUs are much more powerful than these things appear to be.

    DOD/DOJ may block the sale any way on national security grounds.

  • http://www.flipingreat.com chris parker

    Co-processor…….. Low power…….

    And these low power chips, they run the same speed as current TOP END GPU’s only at a fraction of the power needed, with NO cooling….. take a look at clearspeed for example, if you are still in doubt…… and there are many more now..

    Think Amiga.. again ….Yeah!!!

  • aremmes

    NeXTcubes and Quadra AVs… it’s all coming back now. Amiga? That’s pancakes compared to what the NeXTdimension board could do – Quartz Extreme is still not up to the same level yet, 18 years later.