New enhancements in future Mac OS X updates — possibly to Tiger but definitely in Leopard — are finally utilizing the powerful gigabit network adapters found in most Macs with "The 'Burbs," Apple's code-name for the move of many, if not all, general CPU processing tasks over to the networking chip-sets.
Sources from Cupertino are excited about the switch, which they say is a natural progression Apple started with Quartz Extreme in Jaguar.
Eventually Apple hopes to move all processing over to other chips in the system, freeing Mac OS X from its dependency on the CPU, one source said.
Apple reportedly wants to divest itself of CPU-dependance due to troubles in the past with maintaining processor supplies. Of note in Apple's rocky past were the switch from 68k to PowerPC in '94, the 500 MHz Fiasco in '99, and the Ninety Nanometer Speed-Bump that we're arguably still in the middle of.
Apple had to begin selling the Power Mac 9600 again at one point because the G3 had a piss-poor FPU and couldn't do multiprocessing. Apple's tired of being embarrassed by its CPU and wants Mac OS X running safely on network adapters, graphics cards, and sound chips than face any more ridicule, the same source said.
Other sources gave more insight to the performance Mac OS X would exhibit running on network adapters.
It's comparable to running Tiger on a Power Mac 9500/120, a third-party developer shared with us on condition of anonymity.
Slower than a retarded kid on morphine. But Apple will have it optimized by Leopard.
These are only the beginnings of tips and insight into the big move away from central processing units at Apple. With Leopard more than a year off, you can be sure Apple will have something special to pull out of its hat when it releases Mac OS X v10.5. Until then, we'll keep you posted on any news coming our way!