Please explain the intel mac!


so i have yet to hear the good reasons for apple to switch to intel. what exactley is going to come from this? and it is good or bad? last time i checked the g4 and g5 systems were blowing the intel systems of there time out of the water. so why are we switching? isnt that setting us back? so if someone can please explain what the switching will do for apple users i'd greatly appreciate it! thanks...doug


Crotchety UI Nitpicker
The G5 is still very competitive in desktop systems, but the G4 is a bit long in the tooth. Intel is making better laptop processors than IBM or Motorola/Freescale can crank out, and I assume that by the year's end, Intel will have a new chip out that can clearly replace the dual-core G5s used in today's Power Macs.

It took IBM a looong time to make a low-power G5, and when they finally did (late last year)...well, I guess it was too little, too late. I doubt even the low-power G5 could compete with the dual-core Intel chip Apple's using in their new MacBooks.

Basically, the G5 has no real future in portables, and the G4 doesn't have a lot of growth potential left. The G4 has served us well (mostly) for the past 6+ years, but its time has come. I think the G5 probably has a lot of life left in it, but again, not in portables.


IBM switched their focus on PPC manufacturing to Xbox 360 and PS3, along with the Cell processor codeveloped with Sony and Toshiba.


Scratch & Sniff Committee
There are a couple of reasons why Apple decided to migrate to Intel.
- Chips are produced in larger quantities, are updated more frequently and are often cheaper in terms of price per performance. This means that Apple should be able to avoid supply problems and have a wider variety of chipsets to choose from.
- The Intel roadmap currently offers better performance-per-watt, making it more suited to laptop use. To be honest, the PowerPC G5 is a wonderful chipset, but is really not suited to laptop use.
- Intel have more capabilities being introduced into their chipsets in the near future which are of great interest to Apple.

So what impact will this have?

- Better performance
- Better battery life on new laptops
- Lower production costs
- Transition should be 99% transparent to the user. Most users won't even notice that they're new Mac is using an Intel processor.

The BAD:
- Until Universal versions of some applications are released, these apps will run in an emulation layer called "Rosetta". While Rosetta is pretty fast, it will still mean these apps are not running at their full potential. These Apps include essentials such as Photoshop and Microsoft Office. Figures so far suggest that these apps run as well under Rosetta as they would on the G4 systems they're replacing.

So, in a few months when Universal updates are available for most apps having an Intel mac will be an all-good proposition. Until then, its good enough for 95% of users, and only the PowerMac crowd are likely to wait for these updates first.


Staff member
There's also about 40 pages worth of information about all this in the Apple News & Rumours forum here on


Scratch & Sniff Committee
... and a great review on ArsTechnica at


One possible problem is, that Intel's new compiler set for OS X Intel
does not support Objective C (C, C++ and Fortran are supported). As far as I
know, quite a lot of OS X programs are compiled using Objective C, so
this might slow down porting (or at least the programs, Intel's compilers
generate fast programss)


Bear in mind too folks, that the 2X increases in iMacs, and 4X increase in Macbook Pro's is only using Intel based software. Using Rosetta, to emulate G5 written applications to intel core duo actually makes the core duo SLOWER than the G5 on these apps. Keeping that in mind, when the core duo applications start emerging the intel will rip on the G5...