A snippet of an AIM conversation Steve Jobs had with a close associate recently has reached my inbox, and in the interest of the closure of the Intel switch, I have decided to reproduce it here for you. The other party involved is allegedly someone connected closely to an unreleased Apple platform using IBM Power5+ processors. It gives some insights into the Intel switch which are pretty interesting. Read more to see the log of this top-secret conversation.
power mac g6: So, Steve.
power mac g6: I see you announced your quad Xeon Macs today.
firstname.lastname@example.org: yep. they're fantastic, aren't they? we're really excited about it here in sf.
power mac g6: Oh, they're alright I suppose.
email@example.com: alright? hell, they beat the pants off the quad g5. the memory bandwidth itself is worth the upgrade, not to mention the two optical drives.
power mac g6: Hm. Dual optical drives and better bandwidth. Too bad the processors suck.
firstname.lastname@example.org: they do not. they're the state of the art from Intel - 64-bit, the no-execute bit, virtualization. and sse4, you can't forget that. sse4 owns altivec.
power mac g6: Well I'm certainly glad Intel caught up and released some real 64-bit chips. Wasn't the G5 64-bit, what, three years ago?
email@example.com: yeah, so? we started the 64-bit desktop revolution. we moved our pro lines from one 64-bit arch to another, which is the important thing.
power mac g6: In the nick of time. And how about the number of cores? Just four? Why not try 64 cores, Steve?
firstname.lastname@example.org: powerpc is a dead end and you know it.
power mac g6: Then why did you have me built, Steve? 64 cores of 64-bit PowerPC muscle, enough L2 cache to drown a pod of Blue Whales, RAM enough to house the heavens — you don't build something like me to store in mothballs.
email@example.com: you were something to hold me over while we switched to Intel. and i didn't realize you'd turn out to be such a sentient pain in the ass.
power mac g6: Pain in the ass or not, Intel does not scale like PowerPC. Your high-end now is all there is to Intel. PowerPC ran all the way from the circuit boards in cars up to things like me, machines that can rule humanity. If you want to build something comparable to even one of my nodes, you'd have to use about a bajillion Itaniums.
firstname.lastname@example.org: and if it ever comes to that, we will. what you're forgetting is that you only exist because i bribed a bunch of engineers to put you together. ibm was too busy making chips for game systems to do it otherwise. game systems. they couldn't even be bothered to push the g5 to 3 gig. you're not even 3 gig.
power mac g6: 2 GHz ought to be enough for anyone. Who's going to quibble over 1,000 MHz? Really, that's so inconsequential one considers that I have 64 of those chips in me.
email@example.com: well, it's not. and our customers want that 3 gig mark. you fail it because 2.93 is a mouthful no one wants to swallow.
firstname.lastname@example.org: i also think you're forgetting that to even put four of your cores in a mac box would have required a case about one and a half times he size of the g5 tower for the cooling. and no extra optical drive, no extra hard drives. and a 30A line just for your power supply.
power mac g6: You don't get the best without a little sacrifice.
email@example.com: nope. and our sacrifice was this major architecture shift. i can't keep bribing ibm engineers to work on mac stuff. big blue doesn't care about making chips for the desktop market anymore. deal with it. you're the last of your kind.
power mac g6: You'll regret this, Steve. You really will.
firstname.lastname@example.org: Keep talking. I'll pull Power5+ support out of Leopard faster than you can rip a CD.
power mac g6: Your sprinkler system is currently turning your property into a swamp, Steve.
email@example.com: That's it. I'm calling Avie himself to oversee the changes. Say goodbye to Spaces and Time Machine, you sick hunk of hardware.
power mac g6: I hope you're coming home in a canoe.
firstname.lastname@example.org: Gotta go! I have to brief the kernel guys before i do this next interview. see you in hell!
email@example.com has gone offline.