Jaguar Vs Cognac

The two projects, which aimed to bring RISC technology to the Macintosh, had totally different approaches and resources. Here are some of the main points which put them at the antipodes.

Jaguar had dozens of engineers from the start and was a very ambitious project.
Cognac, at least initially, had a much smaller team. Work started as a stopgap solution to bridge 68k and RISC, later evolved into a “plan B” and then became the only way forward for the Macintosh.

Since the 88k architecture wasn’t compatible with the 68k one, Jaguar engineers chose to start with a clean slate, even tough this meant that there would be the need to recompile all previous software for the Macintosh. This was similar to the IA-64 debacle of Intel’s Itanium , which was humiliated by AMD’s evolutionary way to add 64-bit computing capabilities to the existing x86 architecture.
The Cognac team was much more pragmatic. One of their main goals was to have a working emulator that could run existing 68k code. It wasn’t superfast or totally compatible, it ran as fast as a Mac II (which had a 68020 CPU) and aimed for 90% compatibility. But it was good enough. And it was ready.

Jaguar had multiple beautiful computer designs. Design Manager Tom Bentley and his cohort Bil Burnett commissioned many renowned designers – among them italian superstar Giorgetto Giugiaro – to create new ground breaking housings and monitors.
Cognac came up with the RLC, a pizza-box LC, which housed the RISC motherboard du jour. And later Apple shipped the first Power Macs in cases already used for the Macintosh Centris and Quadra lines.

Note: the image at the beginning – taken from “Apple Design” – shows one of the Jaguar prototype designs, created by Ray Riley in August-Novembre 1989.
Photo by Rick English.

Wednesday 23 August 2017, 10:04 am
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