Finger-FAQ at - "finger"
              Macintosh PowerPC Frequently Asked Questions

   Reader beware. I do not guarantee or take any responsibility for the
validity of this document. Remember that much of this information comes
from corporate PR, and hence may hold very little relation to the truth.
Remember what your mother told you about guys like me. etc.
   The editor of this FAQ is not an employee of Apple, IBM, or Motorola,
but is simply an individual trying to make information easily available
over the Internet.

   Please contribute questions, corrections, and any additional information
relevant to this FAQ by emailing the author at:

   Much of the information in this FAQ came from MacWeek magazine, Internet
posts, Motorola advertisements, Apple press releases, and individual
contributors. Other information was included that was "common knowledge" or
from the editors personal experience. Much of the information added since
the first version of this FAQ came via email from contributors listed in
the "acknowledgments" section at the end of this document.

   This FAQ was created in response to a request for a PowerPC FAQ in
comp.sys.mac.hardware. It exists to answer basic questions about the future
of Macintosh and its relation to the PowerPC series of microprocessors.

   Those with no access to Internet news can read the FAQ using by using
the finger utility. Just finger ""
   This FAQ has undergone a major revision. Much information has been
removed as its proper location is the new PowerPC FAQ. Macintosh specific
information remains here. This FAQ has also just received a much needed
information update.
   This is the last posting before the big 3/14 release. No price info has
been included because Apple no longer has official retail prices. NOTE: I
am not updating the name of the FAQ to include the word "PowerMac" because
the names of future PowerPC based Powerbooks and other models has yet to be
determined. PowerMacBook isn't the easiest thing to pronounce now is it?
Guess Apple should have thought about this a while back ;) 

   The editor of this FAQ, a third year Computer Science Honors Student at
The Ohio State University College of Engineering, is looking for a summer
internship in the field of software or hardware design (or anything else
interesting). If your organization is looking for an experienced intern for
the upcoming summer quarter (aprox. June 13-Sept. 16) please send email to or

**************************Table of Contents******************************

Introduction (Above)
   Follow-up Info
   Credit Where Do
   Administrative Notes
Table of Contents
   (you are here)

The Chip

   What is a PowerPC microprocessor and why is Apple putting it in

Operating Systems

   What will be the native operating system of Macintosh PowerPC?
   Will I be able to run Windows applications?
   What is PowerOpen?
   What other operating systems are being developed for the PowerPC and
      will they be available?

The First Machines

   When can I get my first PowerPC computer?
   Will the first Apple Power PC machines have AV (Audio Visual)
      like a built in DSP chip?
   Can I upgrade my machine?
   What bus will the Macintosh PowerPC use for expansion slots?

Programmer's Questions

   How should I program now to avoid PPC porting problems later?
   With 64 bit addressing coming out with the PowerPC 620, should I start
      programming 64 bit clean?
   What development environments are available for compiling Mac PPC code?

Additional Literature

   How can I keep up with Apple and PowerPC over the Internet?
   How can I reach Motorola for even more PowerPC info?
   What information is available?



******************************The Chip***********************************

-What is a PowerPC microprocessor and why is Apple putting it in Macintosh

   A PowerPC microprocessor is a RISC microprocessor written to standards
formalized by an alliance between Apple, Motorola, and IBM. This standard
will allow multiple manufacturers to release their own versions of PowerPC
chips that will run the same source code. The PowerPC architecture was
based on IBM's POWER architecture, the foundation for IBM's RS/6000 line of
computers. Currently, the PowerPC 601 and the low power PowerPC 603 chips
are being produced. Also planned are the PowerPC 604 and 620, each of which
should show a two-fold increase in power. IBM also recently announced a
PowerPC 615 chip, which will include hardware for emulation of the x86
   Apple is replacing the CISC based 680x0 processors currently used as the
central processor of the Macintosh line with PowerPC CPUs because the
performance of the PowerPC's RISC architecture is far superior to that
680x0 line. In fact, the PowerPC will be able to emulate (in software) a
680x0 at speeds of a low end Quadra. This emulation will allow Macintosh
PowerPC to run virtually all existing Macintosh software. Software compiled
specifically for the PowerPC chip will run at speeds aproximately four
times that of the fastest Quadras.
   By using the first iteration of a processor of a new architecture, Apple
will continue to be able to offer Macintosh users machines with increased
performance every year. While the PowerPC architecture has room to grow,
the latest in the aging x86 line, the Pentium, can barely keep up with the
slowest PowerPC. The follwing table demonstrates this:

Test                    PowerPC 601                Pentium
Clock Speed             66 MHz    80MHz            66 MHz
SPECint92               62        77               64.5
SPECfp92                72        93               56.9
Power (worst case)      8.5w      ?                16w
Die Size (mm^2)         120       ?                262

   For more PowerPC processor specific information refer to the PowerPC FAQ
edited by Derek Noonburg ( which is posted to
comp.sys.powerpc and the appropriate ".answers" groups and archived to:

***************************Operating Systems*****************************

-What will be the native operating system of Macintosh PowerPC?

   Apple plans to release its first PowerPC based Macintosh computers in
March with System 7 as its native operating system. The operating system
will have a built in 680x0 emulator, but will not emulate the 68882 math
coprocessor. Those Macintosh users who are already using System 7 should
notice little, if any, difference in the way their operating system
functions. A large portion of the ROM and operating system code will be
native, but rarely used Macintosh calls may be emulated.

-Will I be able to run Windows and WindowsNT applications?
   Insignia Solutions is bringing their SoftWindows software to the
Macintosh PowerPC platform. While the initial version will only emulate a
286, future versions will feature true 486 emulation. Apple announced
February 9, 1994 that it plans to sell some Macintosh PowerPC machines with
SoftWindows pre-installed, with extra memory to hold the extra operating
system. The Apple press release had this to say about SoftWindows:

       SoftWindows will give DOS and Windows users an easy path to the
       powerful new Macintosh computing platform--and the promise of
       hundreds of new applications now under development that will
       harness the full benefits of PowerPC technology.  Depending on
       system configuration and applications, SoftWindows will provide
       Macintosh with PowerPC users performance that will range from
       today's Intel 386- and 486-based systems.  SoftWindows provides
       full MS-DOS and Windows in standard mode, as well as built-in PC
       network support for Novell NetWare, LAN Manager, Banyan Vines,
       Windows NT Advanced Server and TCP/IP.  SoftWindows is also
       compatible with the full range of PC devices and systems,
       including COM and LPT ports, floppy drives, memory systems, video
       displays and CD-ROMs.  To leverage the performance of Window's
       applications on Macintosh with PowerPC systems, Insignia's
       engineering optimized the latest Microsoft Windows release,
       Windows 3.1, and wrote features such as the display driver that
       maps Windows operations directly to the Macintosh QuickDraw
       graphics system.

-What is PowerOpen?

      The PowerOpen Association defines and promotes the PowerOpen
   Environment (POE). The POE is not an operating system, it is
   a definition containing an API specification as well as an ABI
   specification. The presence of the ABI specification in the POE
   is a factor distinguishing PowerOpen from other open systems
   (POSIX, XPG4, etc.) since it allows achieving platform independent
   binary compatibility.  Outside of the POE, binary compatibility
   is typically limited to a particular hardware platform.

     The POE is an open standard, derived from AIX and conforming to
   industry open standards including POSIX, XPG4, Motif, etc.
   The POE specification will be publicly available to anyone wishing
   to produce either applications or hardware platforms. The PowerOpen
   Association will provide the necessary conformance testing and POE

   The key features of the POE follow:

     * Based on the PowerPC architecture
     * Hardware bus independence
     * System implementations can range from laptops to supercomputers
     * Requires a multi-user, multi-tasking operating system
     * Networking support
     * X windows extension
     * Macintosh Application Services extension
     * Motif
     * Conformance tested and certified by an independent party
       (PowerOpen Association)

     The POE specification is targeted for availability in the first
   quarter of 1994. The PowerOpen association has some information
   available online; for retrieval instructions, send mail containing
   the word "help" to

-What other operating systems are being developed for the Macintosh
PowerPCs and
      when will they be available?

   Apple's next UNIX release is planned to be PowerOpen compliant.

Pink (Taligent)
   Taligent (The Child of Apple & IBM) plans to release its operating
system in 1995.  This operating system will run software originally written
for a number of different operating environments.

Windows NT (Motorola?)
   Microsoft recently licensed the code for Windows NT to Motorola. Whether
this code will be re-licensed to Apple or IBM has yet to be seen. Expect
some form of Windows NT in '94.

***************************The First Machines****************************

-When can I get my first Macintosh PowerPC computer?

   Apple is currently planning to release its first PowerPC machines
MONDAY, MARCH 14, 1994.
   The low end PowerMac 6100 will run at 60MHz, appear in a Centris 610
(a.k.a. pizza) box, contain 8 megabytes of memory, and will be yours for a
price of about $1,800. Expect options including internal CD-ROM, AV boards,
and Softwindows packaged with extra memory. The PowerMac 7100 will likely
clock at 66MHz and the 8100 is expected to clock at 80MHz.
   Portable PowerPC 603 Macintosh's are expected in late 1994, early 1995.

-Will the first Apple PowerPC's have AV (Audio Visual) capabilities, like a
built in DSP?

   PowerPC chips are fast enough so that they should be able to do Digital
Signal Processing (DSP) without an additional chip. However, in order to
keep PowerPC within reach of low end buyers, Apple is not including A/V
technologies in its lowest end PowerMacs. MacWeek reports the PPC A/V
machines, code named "TNT," will be able to drive a color monitor and a
NTSC television monitor simultaneously. TNT machines are likely candidates
to receive PCI busses.

-Can I upgrade my machine?

   The official Apple Macintosh upgrade path will include the following
        Macintosh IIvx, IIvi
        Macintosh LC 475, 520, 550, 575
        Centris/Quadra 605, 610, 650, 660AV, 800, 840AV
        Performa 475, 476, 550, 600 series
        Apple Workgroup Server 60, 80, 95

   In addition, Apple will be licensing chips and ROMÕs to third parties
(including DayStar Digital which will provide Quadra 900/950 upgrades) for
use in upgrade cards for other Macintosh models. Remember, however, that
these models often have a slow bus and slow memory. The result is that even
if a third party upgrade board is provided for, say, an SE/30, it will
still not run as fast as a new machine.

-What bus will the PowerPC Macintosh use for expansion slots?

   The first few machines will probably use the same NuBus technology in
Apple's new AV machines. Later, Intel's PCI (Peripheral Component
Interconnect) bus standard will be used, as its speeds are far superior to

*************************Programmer's Questions**************************

-How should I program now to avoid PPC porting problems later?

   1. Program in C or C++
        (Although Pascal and other languages will eventually be released,
         C and C++ will be the first languages available.)
   2. Don't assume variable sizes will remain the same. An 'int' in
        Think C is 16 bits, but PowerPC compilers will use 32 bits.
   3. Make your code ANSI C compliant
   4. Avoid programming in assembly language at all costs. If speed is an
        issue, code in C first, and then conditionally compile 680x0 code
        in as well.
   5. If you have a great amount of assembly language code, and you want to
        start preparing to port now, consider using Echo Logic's FlashPort.
        For more information, contact Echo Logic at:
                943 Holmdel Rd.
                Holmdel, NJ 07733
                Telephone - (908) 946-1100
                Fax       - (908) 946-9146                

-With 64 bit addressing coming out with the PowerPC 620, should I start
programming 64 bit clean?

   YES. Exactly how to do this, however, has yet to be made clear. The best
advice I can give is that you should program in clean C or C++, without
making assumptions about pointer size.

-What development environments are available for compiling Mac PPC code?

   Apple released the following information in a press release on 3
January, 1994:

        Macintosh on RISC SDK
             The Macintosh on RISC SDK is an MPW¨-based (Macintosh
        Workshop) environment that runs on a 68020, 68030 or 68040
        and generates native code for Macintosh with PowerPC
        based systems.  The comprehensive, cross-development environment
        enables developers to jumpstart the application development
        As soon as Mactintosh with PowerPC processor-based systems become
        available, developers can finish the port by testing and debugging
        their native Macintosh with PowerPC applications.  The Macintosh on
        RISC SDK includes:
        -  C/C++ compiler for high quality, optimized code
        -  PowerPC Assembler supporting the full PowerPC instruction set
        -  Two-machine PowerPC Debugger with an easy-to-use interface for
        setting breakpoints, examining and changing memory and registers
        viewing code
        -  Universal System Header Files for both 680X0 and PowerPC
        processor-based platforms
        -  MacApp¨ 3.1, an update version of AppleÕs object-oriented
        application framework for accelerating
        application development. This gives existing MacApp developers a
        path to port their applications native on Macintosh with
        Metrowerks CodeWarrior
        CodeWarrior is the industry's first native development environment
        for the PowerPC microprocessor-based and 680X0 microprocessor-based
        Macintosh.  With quick turn-around time and an integrated user
        interface, CodeWarrior enables programmers to quickly and easily
        develop applications for both platforms using the same source code
        base.  CodeWarrior comes in three versions, Gold, Silver and
        The Gold version is the most comprehensive and includes development
        releases of C, C++ for the 680X0 Macintosh and for the Macintosh
        PowerPC; a development release of Pascal for the 680X0 Macintosh;
        C and C++ cross-compilers. The Silver version supports native
        microprocessor development only, and will be released when Apple
        ships Macintosh with PowerPC systems.  The Bronze version,
        now in pre-release form, supports 680X0 development only.

Both products are available from the Apple Programmer's and Developers
Association, (800) 282-2732.

Symantec is also rumored to be working on PowerPC compilers.

************************Additional Literature****************************

-How can I keep up with Apple and PowerPC over the Internet?

   Gopher to "" for the latest Apple press releases and
product information. Apple also keeps an ftp server at ""

   For information on PowerOpen, send email containing the word help to

-How can I reach Motorola for even more PowerPC info?

   General Information:

   For Literature:
       USA:    Motorola Literature Distribution
               P.O. Box 20912
               Phoenix, AZ  85036
               (phone 1-800-441-2447)

       EUROPE: Motorola Ltd.
               European Literature Centre
               88 Tanners Drive
               Milton Keynes, MK14 5BP, UK

       JAPAN:  Nippon Motorola Ltd.
               4-32-1, Nishi-Gotanda
               Tokyo 141 Japan

       ASIA:   Motorola Semiconductors H. K. Ltd.
               Silicon Harbour Center
               No. 2 Dai King Street
               Tai Po Industrial Estate
               Tai Po, N.T., Hong Kong

   Motorola Semiconductor Products Sector Technical Responsiveness Center:
               (800) 521-6274.

-What information is available?

   From Motorola (information free except where a price is listed):

      PowerPC Brochure (BR1135/D)
      PowerPC 601 RISC Microprocessor, Technical Summary (MPC601/D)
      PowerPC 601 Hardware Specification (MPC601EC/D)
      PowerPC Software Overview (compilers, assemblers, simulators, loaders
              debuggers) (SDP/D)
      PowerPC C Compiler System, Product Review (CCOMPSTM/D)
      PowerPC Fortran compilation System, Product Review (FTRANCOMPSTM/D)
      PowerPC Architectural Simulator, Product Review (PPCARCH32/D)
      PowerPC 601 Programmer's Reference Guide (MPC601PRG/D)
      PowerPC 601, User's Manual (MPC601UM/AD) -- $6.50
      PowerPC Development Tools Catalog (MPCTOOLBK/AD) -- $4.50

Special thanks to Yoshio Turner ( who has provided all
the literature information that follows:

Motorola will release the first revisions of the following documents:

PowerPC 601 RISC Microprocessor Hardware Specifications (MPC601EC/D).
Contains pertinent physical characteristics of the 601.
Available Oct 18 1993

PowerPC 601 RISC Microprocessor User's Manual (MPC601UM/AD).
Defines the functionality of the PowerPC 601 RISC microprocessor for
use by software and hardware developers.
Available Nov 12 1993

Motorola will release the following new document:

PowerPC 603 RISC Microprocessor Technical Summary (MPC603/D).  This
new document provides an overview of the MPC603 PowerPC microprocessor
and MPC603 implementation-specific features, such as power management.
Available Oct 18 1993

All three will be available from Motorola's Literature Distribution

Got this in the mail today from Morgan Kaufmann Publishers.
I'm sorry it's so commercial, but I suspect some of you will
find it useful:
"The IBM PowerPC Architecture: A New Family of RISC Processors
This book presents an overview of the current and forthcoming PowerPC
processor implementations in the PowerPC family of RISC microprocessors
from IBM and Motorola.  The architecture design facilitates
high-performance through parallel instruction execution and is scalable
to take advantage of future technology gains.  _The IBM PowerPC
Architecture_ if the official detailed technical description of the IBM
PowerPC architecture and its hardware conventions, making it an
essential reference for designers of hardware and system software and
application programmers developing products for the PowerPC family of
RISC microprocessors.  It is the first book of its kind available
outside the Apple, IBM and Motorola PowerPC consortium.  It is also a
valuable tool for conducting in-depth evaluations of the IBM PowerPC
architecture and RISC technologies.  The PowerPC family includes the
601,603, 604, and 620 processors for high-performance personal
computers, workstations, servers, mobile computers and supercomputers.
_The IBM PowerPC Architecture_ includes the base instruction set,
storage model and all related facilities available to application
programmers, the Time Base as seen by the application programmers, and
a full description of the system instructions.
Contents PowerPC User Instruction Set Architecture - introduction,
branch processor, fixed-point processor, floating-point processor;
PowerPC Virtual Environment Architecture - storage model, effect of
operand placement of performance, storage control instructions, time
base; PowerPC Operating Environment Architecture - intro, branch
processor, fixed-point processor, storage control , interrupts, timer
facilities; appendices
Dec 1993; approx 600 pages; cloth; ISBN 1-55860-316-6; $49.95
IBM Power and PowerPC: Architecture and Implementation
Shlomo Weiss (Tel Aviv Univ) and James E Smith (Cray Research)
Written from the perspective of developers and teachers of high
performance computing, this book provides a wealth of information about
IBM's important contributions to the development and evolution of RISC
technology.  The RS/6000 and the PowerPC 601 implementations serve as
in-depth case studies for hardware designers and developers, software
engineers, and performance analysts.  Assuming only minimal hardware
background, the authors describe basic concepts such as pipelining,
caches, and superscalar processing, before proceeding to detailed
discussions of the POWER and PowerPC architectures and their
implementations.  As a comprehensive overview of POWER and PowerPC
computers, it is an in-depth reference for the practicing engineer.  The
presentation of alternative design approaches and tradeoffs taken in
the design process, combined with comparisons to the DEC alpha
processor make this an ideal introduction for technical managers and
newcomers alike.
Contents: Modern computer design concepts; POWER architecture; RS/6000
implementation; pipelines, branches, and interrupts, cache memories;
PowerPC architecture; PowerPC 601 implementation; PowerPC: Support for
multiprocessing; System organization; memory and input/output; PowerPC
and alpha 21064: A Tale of Two RISCS.
Nov 1993; approx 600 pages; cloth; ISBN 1-55860-279-8; $54.95"
You can get these by calling (800) 745-7323 or
FAX (415) 578-0672.


   This FAQ is the creation of its editor, (Stuart
Schechter), and the following contributors:
   yoshio@CS.UCLA.EDU (Yoshio Turner),, (Stewart Walker), (Chris
Pruett), (David D. Kilzer),
(Darin S. Morley), (David Bosso),
(Alan M. Mathiowetz), (Stephan
Anagnostaras), kuo@rintintin.Colorado.EDU (Andy Y.A. Kuo),
elston@ACAVAX.LYNCHBURG.EDU (Zac Elston),, (Alex Lewin), (Kevin L. White), 
and others.

Sorry if I've left anyone out!

==-- - ->Stuart               | Stuart E. Schechter (|
==============================| Editor - The Macintosh PowerPC FAQ       |
|"It is better to be a closet | Computer & Information Science Major     |
|claustrophobic than a flaming| OSU College of Engineering Honors Program|
|         pyromaniac."        | ENG Rep - CIS Undergrad Studies Committee|

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