The POWER and PowerPC General Discussion / News Thread

Apple made a PPC on x86 emulator called Rosetta; I have heard about this one.

What you describe is a x86 on PPC emulator; I have heard nothing about this, and it also makes no sense, as it would be a lot of effort to write this kind of emulator for a architecture you are abandoning. Especially if as you mention, it only works well on G5.

Are you sure about this, and if so what is your source?

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I may have confused the two. I would have to look through some old bookmarks.

I know PPC on x86 was hella slow. In regards from a business perspective, it would make sense for them to make Rosetta Stone work on G5s as they announced the Intel change all of a sudden and those G5s were not cheap. Again, I will have to look through my old bookmarks to validate that.

I do remember that there were some issue with the endian-ness of the two architectures as well when dealing with the fat binaries. Sometimes the files were partitioned such that little endian would be on one side and the big endian would be on another. Some vendors did not adhere to this practice and sometimes the code would be intermingled. This created parsing issues on both sides, slowing things down, following pointers to get to the other chunks of relevant data. Again, I will have to look through some old bookmarks.

I thought for endian-ness, x86 would be at the disadvantage overall.

It is in HFS+; since HFS+ is big-endian PowerPC lets you skip the byte swapping. The wikipedia article does specify “metadata”, so maybe they partially fixed this for file contents at some point?

Awesome, share what you find :cowboy_hat_face:

I will look through my bookmarks. I did not know that about HFS+. It always seemed like horrible FS. I did not realized the NTFS was better on a technical stand point.

I am currently trying to remedy a NIC bug on my rig so it may take a while. My temporary wireless USB dongle is flaky and seems to only partial work under Arch. partition. My heavy lifter is my Debian SID partition.

Is NTFS better? I thought they were both their own unique crapshoots.

Actually, this has the potential to go way off topic, I’ll make a new thread:

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There’s an interesting thread going on about trying to get Linux running on a PowerPC G4 Mac. If anyone is familiar with this kind of error:

Please wait, loading kernel...
/pci@f2000000/pci-bridge@d/mac-io@7/ata-4@1f000/@0:3,/boot/vmlinux: Input/output error

in yaboot, your help would be appreciated there I think.

I am also writing this because @FaunCB forgot to give a link when he mentioned this thread in his post, and I know Discourse will generate a helpful link there if I link to his post from here. :slight_smile:


I have some stuff coming up at work that will probably keep me offline for a while, but before I go, I thought I should make one final post.

Torpcoms’ News

  • It looks like JSharp on the RCS wiki is working on some kind of crazy Power9+Opteron cluster, and he also links to a tutorial on the OCC (on-chip thermal controller core on POWER). This is the same guy that was asking about Power Ultravisor mode, and is talking about replacing the SAS controller on Talos II with an extra OCuLink port. If you find stuff on this thread interesting, you might want to keep an eye on what he’s doing.

  • I still haven’t heard much about Talos II shipments or Phoronix’s plans to do benchmarks, but Integricloud says they will have VPSs in the next two months.

  • Another user on the RCS Wiki, MarcusC, was actually recompiling the Talos firmware on Gentoo on an Amiga X5000. Apparently it takes 18 GB for the build.

Thanks for the discussion, it’s been really nice to have someone else to talk to about this stuff.

Also, I made a backup of my timestamps for certain videos on my GitHub account, if you want to use them or copy them, consider them and anything else I’ve posted to be in public domain or CC0.


Not huge news for many, maybe one or two people, but the newest version of Icaros Desktop that is coming out in a while will have better emulation support for PPC and POWER based machines. Kinda exciting.


For those interested in the Talos II you can check out some initial benchmarks from Phoronix below

Sounds like Raptor Computing Systems is willing to give Level1 a Talos II mainboard to review!

In response to my question/tweet:

I would love to see Level1Techs do a mainboard review for the #TalosII. Any chance RaptorCompSys would be willing to hook them up with one?

We have this:

I referred them the Level1 contact us page, does that sound about right?

In general I’m just plain excited at the prospect of @wendell playing with a Talos II machine, and thought I would share the news of this possibility.

BTW, shouldn’t this thread be tagged as powerpc?


Why does it cost so much?

It’s relatively low volume, server/workstation hardware, with PCIe 4.0.

It’s also the company’s first mainboard as far as I can tell, although it looks like they have been working with Coreboot for a while.

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The Talos 2? It was originally designed to take P7, Tyan stopped making P7 boards and recycled all the ones they had so that killed Talos 1, Tyan made Power 8 boards so they called it Talos 2, then Power 9 came out and they upgraded from one to the other.

Power 8 and 9, even 4 core, are rather high in price because its mostly HPC that buys them. Theres no real desktop use for them even though they would wreck any i7 that tried to compete.

Though I still drool at the 2 core 16 thread P7 chips from time to time…


Raptor originally had plans to make a POWER7 board? I’ve only heard about the Talos I crowdfunding attempt, which would have been POWER8 if successful.

From what I’ve read, (as I have no personal experience buying enterprise/workstation CPUs) the POWER9 chips are actually cheaper than their x86 counterparts, but the mainboard is more expensive.


From what I’ve read, yup. Thats the company’s hardware history. And since they aim at the consumer /[ college markets they’re way at the bottom of the totem pole as far as Tyan and other manufac’s are concerned.

If P9 really is all that much cheaper than the X86 parts I might actually look into putting a POWER machine together for myself. Dream computer right there.

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The pricing thing was a comparison with server-grade stuff like Xeon/EPYC, consumer CPUs will obviously be cheaper. With some quick napkin math, the 8 and 18 core chips are the most reasonable price points at the moment:

Cores Price Per-core
4 375 USD 93.75 USD
8 595 USD 74.36 USD
18 1425 USD 79.17 USD
22 2625 USD 119.32 USD

Keep in mind that POWER9 is SMT4, so I don’t know what Xeon/EPYC chips (SMT2) would be equivalent to these.

Adi Gangidi was comparing STREAM benchmarks with POWER9 vs an EPYC 7601 and a Skylake Xeon 8176; but those were tests for memory bandwidth, so I don’t know if those are really the best processors for comparison.

I should note that the Barreleye G2 uses LaGrange modules, rather than the Sforzas in the Talos II. LaGrange has more memory channels:

Interesting. If I get a talos I’ll be sure to pump some benchmarks out. Seems theres no public info anywa?ys.

I would love a Power9 machine. I have several PPC Macs and miss using them. A 867Mhz PowerMac G4 was my first personal computer and it was great for years. Till OSX Snow Leopard and support started to fade away,

Well then this is the thread for you!

Got to love the PPC. There is a PowerMac G5 dual 2.7, my 867 PowerMac G4, 2 1.25Ghz iMac G4s with 2GB RAM and SSDs and a PowerBook G4 12” 1.5Ghz with a SSD on and under my desk.

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