|PowerPC / Power ISA|
|Developer:||Apple, IBM, and Motorola (AIM)|
|Vendor:||Exponential Technology, IBM, Motorola, and P.A. Semi|
|Operating system:||System 7.1.2 – Mac OS X 10.5.8|
PowerPC (short for Performance Optimization With Enhanced RISC – Performance Computing, sometimes abbreviated as "PPC") is a RISC architecture created by the 1991 Apple–IBM–Motorola alliance, also known as AIM. Originally intended for personal computers, PowerPC CPUs have since become popular as embedded and high-performance processors. As an evolving instruction set, PowerPC was renamed "Power ISA" in 2006, but lives on as a legacy trademark for some implementations of Power Architecture-based processors.
PowerPC was the cornerstone of AIM's PReP and Common Hardware Reference Platform initiatives in the 1990s. It is well known for being used by Apple's Power Macintosh lines from 1994 to 2006. The architecture was also used in video game consoles (such as the Apple/Bandai Pippin, Sony's PlayStation 3, Microsoft's Xbox 360, and Nintendo's GameCube, Wii, and Wii U) and embedded applications that far exceeded Apple's use.
PowerPC is largely based on IBM's earlier POWER architecture, and retains a high level of compatibility with it; the architectures have remained close enough that the same programs and operating systems will run on both if some care is taken in preparation. Newer chips in the POWER series implement the full PowerPC instruction set. PowerPC also integrates some elements of Motorola's 88110, an earlier RISC processor that Apple had investigated in a research project called Jaguar.
Releases in Macintosh computers
- PowerPC G3 (7xx)
- PowerPC G4 (74xx)
- PowerPC G5 (970)
Starting with the PowerPC G3, Apple started using marketing names and images that did not necessarily reflect the appearance of the actual processor in the system:
- Remembering the Final PowerPC Macs by Dan Bashur, Low End Mac. 2015-10-11.
- Looking Back: Jaguar was not the first Jaguar project at Apple, nor the first one to run Mach by Anthony Frausto, Architosh. 2003-08-12.
- Four years later: Why did Apple drop PowerPC? by Brooke Crothers, CNET. 2009-06-15.
- The PowerPC G3 Processor at Apple (archived 1999-01-17)
- PowerPC Microprocessors at IBM Microelectronics (archived 2001-07-09, 1997-08-05)
- IBM PowerPC Microprocessors and Embedded Controllers (archived 2001-06-08)
- PowerPC Home Page at Motorola (archived 2001-12-05, 1997-01-25)
- Processor Codenames: PowerPC's by David K. Every at MacKiDo (1999)
- PowerPC and List of PowerPC processors at Wikipedia