Just Ship It Already (5/16/00)

So the rumors about multiprocessor G4s were wrong, wrong, wrong. Okay, sure, Apple did in fact demonstrate a dual G4 at WWDC, but that wasn't a rumor-- that was a scheduled event, posted on Apple's own WWDC agenda, so don't start thinking that the rumormongers were thrown a frickin' bone. The fact of the matter is, as far as Apple's concerned, multiprocessor G4 systems don't exist as an actual Mac product yet, and that's that. But when they do arrive, oh mama, they are going to scream.

Think of it this way: you already know that a 500 MHz G4 is blisteringly fast, even running Mac OS 9. You also know that the very same G4/500 is going to be even faster under Mac OS X's modern architecture. Now consider what happens when you toss a second G4/500 on that motherboard, given Mac OS X's support for guts-level symmetric multiprocessing. Given what tiny bit of knowledge we absorbed while sleeping through various computer classes, we'd be inclined to think that adding a second processor would yield a speed boost rather less than 2x, but apparently we'd be terribly wrong. According to a reader report at Mac OS Rumors, Apple's hardware demo showed a dual G4 yielding fully twice the performance of the same system with only one processor enabled. And, of course, Mac OS X isn't even done yet.

The only real problem we see here is that Apple is seriously downplaying the MPG4's release date. Remember back when we all heard that we'd see dual-processor Macs at last January's Macworld Expo? Well, don't laugh (or cry) too hard when you hear Apple's latest hint about the system's release: according to MacNN, "it was stressed that it would not be happening any time soon but that they would definitely be out by next year's WWDC." Now, before you yank your hair out and run screaming through the streets, that's just an upper bound. We could just as truthfully say that Mac OS X will definitely ship before 2006. (We hope.) But hearing that it may be a full year before these things will be allowed to compete in the marketplace bums us out just a little. Remember, multiprocessor systems are pretty much Apple's only possible weapon in the Megahertz Wars, but it's sounding like we should resign ourselves to seeing Apple get its butt stomped in that battle for the foreseeable future. Our guess? An MPG4 will ship when Mac OS 9 gets an updated MP-aware kernel-- and if that doesn't happen, we'll be waiting until Mac OS X is officially released.

SceneLink (2297)
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The above scene was taken from the 5/16/00 episode:

May 16, 2000: Phil "I Had To Go And Open My Big Fat Mouth" Schiller confirms our worst fears: the Apple PDA is nonexistent. Meanwhile, Apple demonstrates a dual-processor G4 that's literally twice as fast as a single-chip model, but cautions that it may not ship for another year, and an online look at Mac OS X DP4 reveals that the Desktop is back in a big way...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 2296: Time To Buy A Palm (5/16/00)   This is the way the rumor ends: not with a bang but a whimper. Or is it a whine? We've all been waiting for an Apple handheld ever since the Newton got Steved over two years ago. At the time, our fearless leader stated unequivocally that Apple would return to the handheld market in 1999; the closest thing we got was a six-and-a-half-pound laptop with a handle...

  • 2298: The Desktop Lives! (5/16/00)   Ah, the nondisclosure agreement-- Silicon Valley's biggest inside joke. And thank heaven for the churning multitudes who are willing to toss their NDAs out the virtual window, because otherwise we'd have considerably less information on Mac OS X as a work in progress...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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