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Difference Between PPC and Intel

PPC vs Intel

During the early days of personal computers, a war was waged between two popular but very different architectures; the PPC or PowerPC and Intel. The main difference between PPC and Intel is the architecture that they adopted. Intel adopted the CISC architecture, which has complex instructions that take-up multiple CPU cycles. In contrast, PPC adopted the RISC architecture, which has simpler instructions that only take a single instruction to execute. The two are very different and are not compatible. Thus operating systems and applications written for one would not work on another.

When PPC was introduced, it presented performance gains over Intel’s current offering at that time. Thus, operating systems at the time like Windows, Solaris, and some Linux distributions were quickly ported to it. But third party software creators were not as enthusiastic as OS creators. Their reluctance to code for the PPC led to its eventual demise in the desktop PC market. Only Apple continued the use of the PPC in their Macs but eventually abandoned it in favor of Intel microprocessors in 2006. Since then, PPCs no longer have the capability of running any of the modern computer operating systems.

Nowadays, Intel is still the king of the hill when it comes to computer microprocessors. And its main competitor nowadays is AMD. PPC did not really die after it was abandoned by Apple as it is still used in many embedded applications. Very popular examples where PPC processors are used include Nintendo’s Wii and Microsoft’s Xbox. In both cases, PPC provides significant performance advantages compared to using x86 processors like Intel’s. PPC is also used in some smartphones and tablets where it provides the best tradeoff between performance and power consumption.

With smartphones and tablets beginning blur the line between them and personal computers, we are very likely to see PPC reenter the personal computer market. This is supported by the rumors that Windows 8 of Microsoft is capable of running in both Intel processors and PPC processors. It will be decided in later days if PPC will once again be able to carve a niche for itself in the personal computer market.


  1. PPC is based on the RISC architecture while Intel is based on the CISC architecture
  2. PPC cannot run modern desktop operating systems while Intel can
  3. Intel processors is seen more in modern computers while PPC are used in embedded applications

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