Apple computers will be moving away from Intel chips to its own ARM-based design. An interesting thing about Apple as a company is that it has never felt the need to tie itself to a particular system architecture or ISA. Whereas a company like Microsoft mostly tied its fortunes to Intel’s x86 architecture, and IBM, Sun, HP and other giants preferred vertical integration, Apple is currently moving towards its fifth system architecture for its computers since the company was formed.
What makes this latest change possibly unique, however, is that instead of Apple relying on an external supplier for CPUs and peripheral ICs, they are now targeting a vertical integration approach. Although the ARM ISA is licensed to Apple by Arm Holdings, the ‘Apple Silicon’ design that is used in Apple’s ARM processors is their own, produced by Apple’s own engineers and produced by foundries at the behest of Apple.
In this article I would like to take a look back at Apple’s architectural decisions over the decades and how they made Apple’s move towards vertical integration practically a certainty.
Continue reading “Changing System Architectures And The Complexities Of Apple’s Butterfly Approach To ISAs”
For a while now I have been battling a dying 2.6Ghz dual core computer, but due to laziness and budget I just let it ride. At first it would occasionally crash in games, then it got to where it would crash during routine activities. After a year of this it would nail 105 degrees C in like 20 seconds and that is where the drama starts!
I threw my 2ghz “electronics” computer into my main machine’s case and used that for a few months. It’s motherboard had suffered from every electrolytic capacitor on it being puffy, but it has worked fine for nearly 5 years. I was surprised by the sound of what ended up being 2 caps blowing off of the geforce 7600 video card. In shock and excitement I removed the blown caps, slapped her back in and got another 4 months out of it before 2 more capacitors blew and took out a voltage regulator (and who knows what else with it).
Only armed with the craptop, I was stuck in a pickle! Then a co-worker came up to me and said “hey man you want this mac I only want its zip drive”. Well of course, going bonkers without my avrgcc, datasheets, and calculators, I took on the 14 year old Apple Power Macintosh 9600/300 as my bench machine, and I will now show you how I turned it from a novelty relic to a daily useful machine after the break.
Continue reading “Hacking 14 Year Old Power PC Mac Back To Life”
Gizmodo has done us all a favor by wading through many forum posts and condensing them into a handy guide to installing Ubuntu on your Playstation 3. It covers some of the caveats of going this route. You have to backup all of your game data before starting since the system repartitions the drive. Ubuntu installs without any problem, but because the cell processor is a PowerPC architecture it means not everything has been ported to it. There are a few things you need to install to get the Sixaxis controller to be recognized as a joystick. Super Nintendo emulator SNES9X is available and works, mostly. It doesn’t support fullscreen and cries if you reconfigure the buttons.
Supporting developers through alternate operating systems isn’t new to Sony. With the original Playstation, they released Net Yaroze, a consumer grade dev kit. The Playstation 2 was the first time they officially supported Linux on a game console (our first Linux machine). The ground breaking thing about the Playstation 3 was bundling in Linux support with every single console; no specialized hardware needed. Unfortunately they’re not near as open with the PSP.