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PowerPC (short for Performance Optimization With Enhanced RISC – Performance Computing, sometimes abbreviated as "PPC") is a RISC architecture created by the 1991 AppleIBMMotorola 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.[1] 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.[2]

Adobe Photoshop 3

Photoshop 3.0 was the first PowerPC-native application from Adobe.

PowerPC native software[]

PowerPC hardware in Macintosh computers[]

1st generation[]

2nd generation[]

3rd generation[]

4th generation[]

5th generation[]


Apple's use of PowerPC processors was discontinued during its transition to Intel processors,[3] which occurred while Macromedia was being acquired by Adobe Systems in 2005.[4] Adobe Creative Suite 3 added support for multi-core Intel-based Macs, and Creative Suite 4 dropped support for PowerPC entirely.


  1. Remembering the Final PowerPC Macs by Dan Bashur, Low End Mac. 2015-10-11.
  2. 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.
  3. Four years later: Why did Apple drop PowerPC? by Brooke Crothers, CNET. 2009-06-15.
  4. Adobe Completes Acquisition of Macromedia, Adobe Systems. 2005-12-05. Archived 2005-12-07.

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