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IBM Businesses Apple

PowerPC 970 Running at 2.5 GHz 719

Posted by pudge
from the something-you-got-i-want-it-i-want-it dept.
kuwan writes "IBM has just released a press release that indicates they have the new PowerPC 970 running at 1.8 to 2.5 GHz making it 'the fastest PowerPC so far.' IBM's original estimates were to have the chip running at 1.4 to 1.8 GHz at introduction, so this is very good news for those of us hoping Apple will use this as their next-generation chip."
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PowerPC 970 Running at 2.5 GHz

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  • by MarkRH (629597) on Thursday February 27, 2003 @05:50PM (#5401076) Homepage
    Who cares how fast IBM has this running in the lab--let's see how fast those fab lines are running before we get too excited.
    • by warrior (15708) on Thursday February 27, 2003 @08:00PM (#5402174) Homepage
      I think everyone else may have misinterpreted this post. The question is not "how fast are the chips that have been fabbed", but how successful have they been with fabrication? They may have one really fast part while the rest of the lot has serious issues. If they're getting low yield from their manufacturing the chips will be very expensive. There are always a few really fast chips at the extreme end of the distribution, but that's not what speed they'll be selling at. Getting those extra MHz is up to the overclockers if possible.
      • by writertype (541679) on Thursday February 27, 2003 @08:10PM (#5402246)
        Absolutely. As a journalist, it's much easier to attract readers by being deliberately vague. Not only are you never wrong, but readers spend all their energy trying to figure out what you MIGHT have said rather than picking apart what you actually did say.

        Nostradamus should have won a Pulitzer.
      • In the case of speculating on yields, the relevant number would be the low end of the range. Originally, the low end was 1.4Ghz, practically the same speed as current G4s but the new number is 1.8Ghz, thus it's likely that there will be 1.8Ghz machines in cheap plenty with 2.5Ghz being more expensive and rarer.

        What's the current offering for 64bit computing from Intel running as of today? The Intel website has 2 speeds available for the Itanium 2 chip, 900Mhz and 1Ghz. That's Intel's fastest 64bit solution.

        Intel's got a *lot* of catching up to do if IBM starts shipping in quantity soon.
  • So Sad... (Score:5, Funny)

    by pardasaniman (585320) on Thursday February 27, 2003 @05:50PM (#5401083) Journal
    That is pretty pathetic considering my cordless phone goes faster!! --Mickey Mouse Microsoft Geek
  • ?!?!?!1 (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Spazntwich (208070) on Thursday February 27, 2003 @05:51PM (#5401088)
    I wonder how they managed to up the clock so dramatically? Is it just SOI and other techniques, or did they lengthen the pipeline significantly.

    If it's just a pipeline lengthening scheme, well, meh, but if they kept the same execution pipeline and are now at 2.5ghz operating range, they're going to kick some ass.
    • Easy (Score:5, Funny)

      by sydlexic (563791) on Thursday February 27, 2003 @05:57PM (#5401166)
      I wonder how they managed to up the clock so dramatically?

      Xeon + hobby paint.
    • Re:?!?!?!1 (Score:5, Informative)

      by addaon (41825) <addaon+slashdot@ ... m minus caffeine> on Thursday February 27, 2003 @06:00PM (#5401194)
      This is the same 970 as before. No lengthened pipeline, although the 970 has a relatively long pipeline to begin with. And they probably hit 2.5ghz by selective testing... I haven't seen suggestions they can manufacture these chips in quantity yet. Keep in mind that Intel demos ~5GHz chips every few months or so. Even so, it's promising that the design seems to scale up that far without issues and without needing a process change.
      • No (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Galahad2 (517736) on Thursday February 27, 2003 @07:07PM (#5401765) Homepage
        The 2.5GHz number isn't the same as Intel talking about 5GHz P4s. IBM means that they're going to sell 2.5GHz Blade servers. The reason that Intel talks about their insane GHz processors is to impress consumers into buying Intel. People in the market for mid-range Blade servers couldn't care less about what IBM can do in one in a million chips, and they would likely be annoyed if IBM misrepresented it in that way. If IBM can't manufacture the chips in quantity (I'm not aware if they're manufacturing any 970's in mass yet), they will be able to shortly, certanly before the release of the chip.
    • Re:?!?!?!1 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by binaryDigit (557647) on Thursday February 27, 2003 @06:09PM (#5401293)
      Funny that you ask. The fact is that it doesn't matter. Remember the so called "mhz myth" well it definitely exists from a marketing standpoint. IBM could have cranked up the clock rate and achieved 0% performance increase and it wouldn't matter to most people. They just say "oh, Apple has a 2.5ghz processor, that's better than 1.8ghz, oooh, aaaah". This is the same battle that AMD fights. They are spending big bucks trying to remind people that just because that P4 is running at 3ghz, it doesn't mean that it is THAT much faster than a 2.2ghz Athlon.
      • Re:?!?!?!1 (Score:3, Insightful)

        by dbrutus (71639)
        I can't understand why so many insist on comparing Intel's 32 bit solutions to this chip which is a 64 bit solution. Intel ships a 64 bit solution too and I think that's the proper comparison.

        Then again the max shipping speed on the Itanium 2 (Intel's fastest 64 bit chip) is 1Ghz.

        I think the days of selling computers based on Mhz just drew to a close.
    • From the Specs... (Score:5, Informative)

      by aSiTiC (519647) on Thursday February 27, 2003 @06:11PM (#5401321) Homepage
      From reading the specs it says:

      9 Fetch, Decode Stages
      5-13 OoO Execute Stages
      2-3 Dispatch, Commit

      So at total of 16-25 pipelined stages. I also notice that the longest(25) is for the Alti-Vec engine. This is very comparable to Pentium 4 which has 26 pipelined stages, although Pentium 4 does not have a vector engine.
      • ...although Pentium 4 does not have a vector engine.

        http://www.intel.com/home/desktop/pentium4/faq.h tm ?iid=ipp_dlc_procp4p+prod_faq&#micro5

        Q: What is Streaming SIMD Extensions 2?

        A: Streaming SIMD Extensions 2 extends Intel® MMX(TM) Media-enhanced technology and the Streaming SIMD Extensions. Single Instruction Multiple Data (SIMD) allows a single instruction, such as addition or subtraction, to operate on more than one data set concurrently. The 144 new cache and memory management instructions enhance performance to accelerate the most-demanding Internet and computing applications. SIMD double-precision floating point accelerates demanding content creation, 3D rendering, financial calculations and scientific applications. In addition, 64-bit MMX technology (SIMD integer) instructions have been enhanced and extended to 128-bits, accelerating video, speech, encryption, imaging and photo processing.
    • They shrunk the size of the gates on the transistors, basically trading reliability for performance. Considering that one of the main selling points of Apples is their longevity and ability to hold value due to it, I can't help but wondering if this is the right move.

      Apparently, in order to increase the reliability of the Power4 for the high-end server market, IBM used much thicker gate oxides on the chip's transistors. The trade-off for this decreased failure rate and improved reliability was that the Power4's transistors have slower switching speeds, so even with process shrinks it's harder to push the design to higher clock speeds. Since the 970 is made for the desktop market, there's no need for such measures and therefore the new chip's clock speed will scale much higher than the Power4's. In sum, the 970 is made to be faster, cheaper, and significantly less reliable than the Power4. (Of course, when I say "significantly less reliable than the Power4," you have to understand that this puts the 970's product life and failure rate on par with other mainstream CPUs, since the Power4's increased gate oxide thickness makes it significantly more reliable than most mainstream CPUs.)

      ArsTechnica overview [arstechnica.com]

      It's a given that Apple enthusiasts will be happy as can be once they fire up a brand new powerfull box, the question is how they will feel when they find out it has the lifespan of a typical Intel or AMD CPU.
      • by Shuh (13578)
        They shrunk the size of the gates on the transistors, basically trading reliability for performance. Considering that one of the main selling points of Apples is their longevity and ability to hold value due to it, I can't help but wondering if this is the right move.
        As reliable as Apples are, they are still pretty much consumer and light server iron with consumer-grade reliability. All they are doing to the 970 is scaling back from industrial server-farm $30,000 workstation reliability to normal consumer-reliability... right where Apple has always been.
      • They shrunk the size of the gates on the transistors, basically trading reliability for performance. Considering that one of the main selling points of Apples is their longevity and ability to hold value due to it, I can't help but wondering if this is the right move.

        Agree and disagree - reliability on my Mac is a wonderful thing, and I love showing my uptime reports to my PC friends.
        However, I do occasionally turn it off - and I'm actually pretty good about turning it off regularly, like every 5-6 days.

        This is a far cry from a server environment - we have several servers at work that we reboot once every 3 months or so, as a precautionary measure, figuring they could probably go twice that without a reboot, but we can't have an unscheduled downtime (we're a 24/7 radio group). While I believe, under OS X, that my Mac might be able to make that length of time (hell, probably could easily), I'd never try. No need.

        So, if they can crank the speed and reduce continuous uptime to 3 months or so at a stretch, I really wouldn't mind terribly, and I don't think many desktop users would even notice... and don't forget this is a 'desktop' CPU rather than a server CPU.

        -T

    • I wonder how they managed to up the clock so dramatically?

      Easy. They updated to OS X 10.2.4

      Oh, I thought you asked "I wonder how they managed to fuck up the clock so dramatically? "

  • by occam (20826) on Thursday February 27, 2003 @05:51PM (#5401091)
    I just hope Apple has their motherboards ready for 2.5GHz. The original spec of 1.8GHz with 6+GB bus was a little heady compared to Apple's current technology (no thanks to Motorola). I'm hoping they know how to build motherboards with the best of them to take advantage of IBM's new 970 chip. Pushing the envelope from 1.8GHz to 2.5GHz just makes the whole motherboard engineering issue more challenging. Let's hope Apple hardware design it up to the task (and then some).
    • by addaon (41825) <addaon+slashdot@ ... m minus caffeine> on Thursday February 27, 2003 @06:04PM (#5401230)
      What's more interesting is that the frontside bus of the 970 was designed to scale with processor speed. So the 1.8GHz was supposed to have a 900MHz (well, presumably 225MHz quad-pumped) FSB, using a multiplier of 2. The 2.5GHz, then, has two options... either drop down a notch to use a multiplier of 3 (getting an 833MHz FSB, which is manageable)... or go full-hog and hit a 1.25GHz FSB. While I suspect that for the 2.5GHz chip the answer is, unfortunately, the former, the question is a bit hazier in the case of a 2GHz part... 1GHz is manageable but impressive, whereaz 666MHz simply isn't enough. Of course, they can allow non-simple multipliers and solve the issue, but I do recall that they were planning on supporting only integral multipliers.
      • Except multipliers are based off the true FSB and not the effective bandwidth FSB (only bandwidth changes with DDR and QDR, latency remains the same). So a 1.8Ghz part on 450 DDR FSB would be a 4x multiplier, and on 225 QDR FSB it would be 8x. Still better than Intels 20+ multipliers on some of their chips...
  • -1, Troll (Score:3, Funny)

    by addaon (41825) <addaon+slashdot@ ... m minus caffeine> on Thursday February 27, 2003 @05:52PM (#5401104)
    Pudge, I really appreciate that you read Macslash, and copy there stories here so I don't need to type in a second address. Do you think you could convince some of the editors to read some of the other slashcode sites? Slashdot would be a good start.
  • by codeonezero (540302) on Thursday February 27, 2003 @05:52PM (#5401110)
    Ok, this is great news. I hope Apple decides to use this chip. I could just see dual ppc 970 Power Macs running at 2.5Ghz x 2 :) Why stop there maybe they'll go quad, and that would be awesome :)

    I just hope apple doesnt go back to using single chip on their high end systems...its ok if they do use one chip for say the iMac, *book line but the Power Macs should stay with dual if they end up using this chip.

    Oh and the obligatory, karma whoring

    "Imagine a Beowulf of these!!!!"
  • When Used.... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by johny_qst (623876) on Thursday February 27, 2003 @05:53PM (#5401117) Journal
    Does this chip match the power consumption and low heat dissipation that we have all come to know and love from the PPC arch? Does anyone know?
    • Re:When Used.... (Score:3, Informative)

      by Tar-Palantir (590548)
      Power consumption is good, according to a recent MacAddict article. It mentioned that the 1.8GHz chip had low enough consumption to be put in a laptop. Drool....
  • More Information (Score:5, Informative)

    by robbyjo (315601) on Thursday February 27, 2003 @05:53PM (#5401120) Homepage

    Here [ibm.com] you can find a more technical details than just press release.

    Here [ibm.com] is the actual spec about the PowerPC 970.

    Ars Technica [arstechnica.com] articles. Apparently, PPC 970 just last year's news. The real news is just the cranked-up speed...

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 27, 2003 @06:37PM (#5401533)
      One of the most interesting bits of information from the above IBM pages: In addition to its support of new 64-bit solutions, the 970 retains full native support for 32-bit applications. This not only protects 32-bit software investments, but provides these 32-bit applications with the same high-performance levels that it extends to 64-bit uses. This native, nonemulated, 32-bit support is not limited to application code, which runs unmodified. 32-bit operating systems with minor updates can also take advantage of the PowerPC 970's outstanding performance.
  • by anaesthetica (596507) on Thursday February 27, 2003 @05:55PM (#5401137) Homepage Journal

    "It is ideal for very computing intensive applications, for example in the area of simulation like meterology or geological calculations."

    Along with the rollout of the 970 chip, Apple will introduce two new insanely great iLife Apps: iWeather and iEarth. Now you can calculate weather patterns in your neighborhood and export the results to iMovie! Also, use iEarth's predictive powers in landscaping your front yard, planning your garden, and preventing cracks in your house's foundation.

    Perfect for your digital lifestyle.

    Eat that Miscrosoft!

    • by questionlp (58365) on Thursday February 27, 2003 @07:17PM (#5401845) Homepage
      Okay... I've got karma to burn...

      Microsoft, after several delays, releases Hailstorm XP and Terra XP for their latest operating system, Longhorn. The release announcement was done with Steve Ballmer running around the stage at TechEd 2004 screaming, "Call me daddy! I own the Earth!" Later, Bill Gates corrects Ballmer by saying, "Sorry Steve, I own the Earth!" Reports have been coming in that Scott McNealy of Sun, Larry Ellison of Oracle, and Richard Stallman of FSF all huddled up and crying.

      Unfortunately, shortly thereafter, Earth blue-screened and permanently enabled copy-protection on every living person until each person forks over their soul along with $5000 per year for life support.

      • BSOD (Score:3, Funny)

        by Ospeovedizer (85934)
        Unfortunately, shortly thereafter, Earth blue-screened

        Arrgh! The dreaded Blue Sky Of Death! Microsoft has already hit!
  • by Quarters (18322) on Thursday February 27, 2003 @05:55PM (#5401139)
    2.5GHz now is interesting. 2.5GHz in 12-18 months if/when Apple gets them into actual production hardware will not be that interesting. By that time we'll probably see >= 4GHz Intel and AMD chips. Apple needs 2.5GHz machines *now*.
    • by cbuskirk (99904) on Thursday February 27, 2003 @06:13PM (#5401344)
      The following is a simplistic view of things, but we are talking about a 64bit processor. Remember the Itaniums Intel is selling are running at around 1GHz - 1.5GHz I believe and they run circles around the 3Ghz P4.
      • > The following is a simplistic view of things, but we are talking
        > about a 64bit processor. Remember the Itaniums Intel is selling
        > are running at around 1GHz - 1.5GHz I believe and they run
        > circles around the 3Ghz P4.

        That's overgeneralized. The 3GHz P4 is very much faster at most tasks than the 1.0GHz Itanium II, which is the fastest instance of the chip that has been given entries at spec.org. The reason why the Itanium II appears much faster is that you only see benchmarks that relate to its very narrow field of marketing. It's a server processor. You won't see it tested in areas more suited to general purpose computing (games, office suites, etcetera). And, hell, the Itanium sucks in specint, one half of the single processor version of the most prolific server benchmark suite in the world. The 900MHz (fastest speed submitted -- for some reason, they only gave specfp scores for 1000MHz, unless I missed an entry or few) Itanium II gets 674, compared to scores above 1100 for the 3.06GHz P4. That's a whopping 63% difference! The fastest Itanium II is almost 40% slower than the top of the line non-Xeon Pentium 4!

        The Itanium II does fantastically in specfp -- bested, I believe, only by the DEC Alpha, which is sadly being pushed under the carpet for reasons more political than I'd like (Alpha IP is owned by HP and Intel, the companies that created the Itanium's core architecture) -- and many other benchmarks. But you can't simply ascribe a single, simple feature to the performance advantages of the processor. Yeah, the processor can address a 64-bit memory space and, yeah, the processor has 64-bit GP registers. But you're ignoring many other features piled on top. Itanium II is a server processor, so it can afford to have some extra doodads added to it, doodads that would be considered financially unfeasible on mainstream processors.

        Hmmm, I did a quick google search, so I apologize if I pulled incorrect info on the following:

        The Itanium II has a more than a megabyte and a half of cache memory on the die of the processor. It seems to optionally go up to 3MB on-die L3 cache. In comparison, the Pentium 4 has 512KB cache (there's some more cache, the L1, but that's inclusive), and the Athlon XP has either 384KB or 640KB cache (depending on whether you're counting the older Thoroughbred or the newer Barton). So the Itanium gets about three times as much cache memory on the processor die!

        Itanium II has a 400MHz, 128-bit data path to the chipset. Pentium 4 is 533MHz, 64-bit. So the P4 gets a chipset that can send it 4.27 GB per second while the Itanium II gets a chipset sending it data at 6.4GB/s.

        The Itanium II has more functional/execution units. The Itanium II gets predication, which is a very expensive (in terms of how much bulk it adds to the die) feature that effectively gets rid of a lot of the penalty associated with branch misprediction (a problem which is rather huge with the trillion-stage netburst microarchitecture of the Pentium 4, though I'm told that the multithreading implementation of the P4 can help alleviate some of that).

        The number of bits in the processor don't matter *that* much, not after the 32-bit level. Yeah, it helps, but you have to take the whole package into account. A 64-bit scalar one-stage processor with a ten-byte, off-die cache would get its ass kicked mercilessly by an 80486DX-50.

        To take another tack: I'm somewhat interested in possibly purchasing an Athlon 64 late this year or early next year. But if the Athlon 64 was just an Athlon with 64-bit extensions, I wouldn't give it the time of day. I'm interested because the Athlon 64 will have an on-die memory controller. I'm interested because the Athlon 64 will support twice as many registers as a typical x86 chip (which may decrease the need for cache accesses, which could increase performance on my recompiled linux apps). Either of these two advantages promise a far greater advantage for me than the simple increase in register size and memory addressability.

        -JC
    • By that time we'll probably see >= 4GHz Intel and AMD chips

      You know what, a year ago I would have agreed with you but now I'm not so sure. The prices for the top end chips are very high. I'm not so sure that AMD and Intel are currently going to continue their breakneck R&D budgets into the next year. I suspect you will see a dip or a flat spot in the new PC tech for the next 12 months to let them recoup some of the bazillions that have been invested into fabs and development. In that time frame prices will drop on the higher speeds - but the introduction of even faster chips will slow until new architectures become viable/microsoft gets their head out of their ass. Wouldn't it be ironic if Intel got screwed because Microsoft couldn't get Windows XP stable on a new architecture? The reverse situtation happening to apple, now?

      PC speed has become less important .. less important to me than my video card. I have a PC at home pretty much just for gaming, and that's the only upgrade I've done since DDR memory and motherboards were available - a long time ago. I don't think Apple is in any trouble, so long as this chip makes it out the door by this time next year.

      *shrug* I have a Apple Powerbook 1Ghz that I use for everything except games. It's fine, zippy, etc. Games I use my PC for. I don't know of any hardcore apple gamers. Apple's focus on notebooks is partially because of this - their powermacs are suffering, but there isn't anything they can do about that right now. In much the same vein, I have a openBSD box, two linux boxes, and a QNX box all running 3-4 year old motherboards and processors fine.

      I don't think Apple needs to get involved. The extra time spent making their software better NOW will make it even faster when the new machines come out.

      Pick the right tool for the job, duh. Mac isn't the right tool for a FPS or flight sim game monster. It kicks some serious ass as a unixy workstation-to-go, though. Their developer tools are excellent, and free. etcetcetc.

  • Hopefully (Score:5, Funny)

    by cosmo7 (325616) on Thursday February 27, 2003 @05:55PM (#5401141) Homepage
    ~Perhaps this will lead to some sort of debate regarding the virtues of Macs compared with PCs, something so rarely discussed on SlashDot.
  • by Petrox (525639) <pp502.nyu@edu> on Thursday February 27, 2003 @05:56PM (#5401155) Homepage
    how many people have been holding off (or switching to other platforms) on a new Apple computer purchase for these new chips. I'm sure Apple is chomping at the bit waiting for these chips to be mass produced so that they can get them into Powermacs (and hopefully Powerbooks too), like, yesterday.

    The POWERLite series (which is basically what the 970 is) is a great alternative to x86 for Apple for quite a few years ahead. Not only does IBM have an incentive to keep producing these chips at ever-greater clock speeds (something that Motorola with the G4 doesn't seem to have a great deal of interest in doing) because IBM actually uses these in their Blade servers, but it sets up a nice roadmap for successive generations of chips (the POWER5 is just around the corner, with a Power5Lite a la PowerPC 980 coming shortly thereafter? Such a chip is probably only a year and a half off and, running MacOSX, would rocksock).

    Yum.
    • by BWJones (18351) on Thursday February 27, 2003 @06:55PM (#5401646) Homepage Journal
      how many people have been holding off (or switching to other platforms) on a new Apple computer purchase for these new chips. I'm sure Apple is chomping at the bit waiting for these chips to be mass produced so that they can get them into Powermacs (and hopefully Powerbooks too), like, yesterday.

      Well, for scientific users the debate about which platform to use has *significantly* been mitigated by the presence of a true UNIX with OS X allowing for the easy porting and running of code already written for other *nix distros. I personally have replaced three machines including an older Mac, a Windows box and an SGI with a single dual G4 with a sweet Cinema Display.

      Now, could I use more power? Absolutely. Code that is optimized for Altivec is screaming fast. Faster than just about any other platform I have used in fact. However, code not optimized for Altivec gets whomped on by the Wintel platform right now and I would like to see some of the delta in performance go away.

      All of that said, OS X is one impressive OS. The best OS out there for the general audience and for a number of specialized audiences as well. It can only get better and is awaiting fast CPU's with fast bus speeds.

      I suppose it also might be argued that OS X has matured faster as a result of the lagging performance of the G4 chips in that Apple has had to optimize lots of code to get things running fast, whereas Microsoft tends to rely on fast boxes to get through code bloat. Just look at Safari vs. IE as an example of this.

      • by g4dget (579145) on Friday February 28, 2003 @12:41AM (#5403850)
        Well, for scientific users the debate about which platform to use has *significantly* been mitigated by the presence of a true UNIX with OS X allowing for the easy porting and running of code already written for other *nix distros.

        While UNIX compatibility in OS X is great, calling it a "true UNIX" is really rather misleading. First of all, the kernel isn't a UNIX kernel, it's a hacked Mach kernel with a BSD compatibility layer. Furthermore, there are very significant differences in userland, including things like a case-insensitive file system, huge changes in system administration, lack of device nodes for things like audio and video, multiple views of the file system (from Carbon/UNIX), etc. Also, the standard UNIX window system, X11, is at best bolted onto OS X.

        Now, you may think all these things are improvements to UNIX, and you might be right. However, they make OS X pretty significantly different from UNIX. And while some applications port with no problems to OS X, others require incorporating Cocoa or Carbon code for porting, which can be a lot of effort.

    • I'm on my third Mac now, and every time I've bought one, I buy used -- they're half the price of a new one (granted, a used PC would tend to be 10% the price of a new one...) but they're still pretty damned good computers. I'm not ready to plunk down for a new one though until the much prophesied next generation machines come along. Articles like this make it sound like it could be just a year off (which is about what I heard a year ago, and a year before that...). Now you're saying that a two generation jump should be available in 18 months? Hell, that's just another disincentive for me to go out & buy a Mac.

      To my half thought-through way of seeing things, this is a strong argument for coming up with a product roadmap, even if such things are half-truths in the end. Apple is so secretive about everything that it's impossible to know if something like this -- or something else entirely! -- is going to come out in a month or a year or ever, and consumers like me are perfectly willing to wait. And wait. And apparently, wait indefinitely. Clearing up some of that uncertainty would certainly make me more eager to buy new gear...

      </wibbling>

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 27, 2003 @05:57PM (#5401161)
    if (PC == "Personal Computer")
    printf("Why do we say Mac vs PC?\n");
    else if (PC == "Wintel architecture")
    printf("Why confuse people with something called 'PowerPC'?\n");
    else
    printf("WTF?");
  • by thoolie (442789) on Thursday February 27, 2003 @05:58PM (#5401177) Homepage
    According to the press release, there is no mention of apple, they are talking about the Blade servers (I know, I know, this is the CHIP apple hopes to use, but it is missleading having the apple header!)
  • AltiVec confirmed (Score:5, Insightful)

    by obi (118631) on Thursday February 27, 2003 @06:00PM (#5401188)
    Interesting: this PR release seems to confirm the planned extensions are in fact, Altivec. I haven't followed it too closely, but I thought this wasn't confirmed yet.

    Guess that makes it clear this is Apple's next chip.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 27, 2003 @06:01PM (#5401204)
    Here's some:

    - The new chip has a 54 stage pipeline, thus making it as effective as a current 700 MHz G4.

    - The chip tested eliminated all ability for cache, thus allowing the speedup in clock but making it slower than all current G4s available in Apple computers.

    - It is being developed as PowerPC but will be transitioned into x86.

    - It will not support multiprocessing and MP applications will have to be done through a hackneyed clustering.

    - This chip will help to propel Apple to 20% market share. (I'm a shareholder.)

    - When worked hard, the chip gives off an odor vaguely reminiscent of shrimp flavored chips.

    - The 970 is slightly faster than a Porsche 944.

    Please feel free to add your own misinformation because there's not all that much real information to be discussed, anyway.
    • by joe_bruin (266648) on Thursday February 27, 2003 @07:13PM (#5401813) Homepage Journal
      the 970 achieves 64bit performance by having 4 on-die 16bit 68040 cpu's and doing hardware instruction translation (in realtime) from ppc to 68000.

      in a technology leap, this cpu bypasses intel's hyperthreading technology and proceeds directly to 'ludicrous threading'. this technology allows a thread to finish a task before it was even created.

      the 970 incorporates hardware acceleration for microsoft's windows media drm technology. Windows Media Player 9 Series(r): If You Struggle It Only Hurts More(tm).

      unlike endothermic cpu's commonly manufactured by intel and perfected by amd, the ppc 970 uses exothermic cmos technology. it therefore requires a constant heat source to avoid freezing.

      these chips use ibm's patented plutonium-on-silicon manufacturing process, and as such require a license from the nuclear regulatory commission to own.
  • Implications? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by useruser (638080) on Thursday February 27, 2003 @06:04PM (#5401226) Homepage Journal
    IF Apple happens to be a consumer of these chips, what is IBM likely to charge for them? It really seems that most consumers complaint about Apple computers is the price, given consumers even consider them an option. I can't imagine Apple would take a hit on these to keep PowerMacs at their current prices. And I don't imagine most switchers will really want to pay for speed when they get it for a commodity price in the PC world.
  • wiggy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DemiKnute (237008) on Thursday February 27, 2003 @06:06PM (#5401261) Homepage
    Whodathunk that one day we'd be reading a story titled "Apple: ..." with an IBM icon? Maybe I'm getting old, but I think it's kinda cool.
    • Re:wiggy (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jonbrewer (11894)
      Whodathunk that one day we'd be reading a story titled "Apple: ..." with an IBM icon? Maybe I'm getting old, but I think it's kinda cool.

      When I pried the heatsink off my brand-new Power Macintosh 7100/66 (um, nine years ago?) I found a gleaming blue plate with IBM in big white letters on top. It's no biggie.

      Really we should just come up with one icon for M$ and one for everyone else. (shall we call them the rebel alliance?)
  • by jmichaelg (148257) on Thursday February 27, 2003 @06:09PM (#5401296) Journal
    I hired a graphic artist to design a brochure for our product. When we were down to final tweaks, she brought in her Titanium Mac so I could look at the changes as she made them. It was the first time I had seen Illustrator running on OS X on a Titanium. Watching the glacial screen redraws (she had a lot of filters running) made me think that if there ever was a task that would clearly benefit from multiples of more CPU horsepower it was Illustrator drawing complex images. 64 bits at 2.5 Ghz should help a lot.

    You have to have the patience of Job to be a graphic designer. That's Job, not Jobs.

    • Unfortunately, Illustrator has a problem in that the app double-buffers the display, and OS X automatically double-buffers the display, so you've got a lot of unncessary graphics crap going on. That's a big part of the glacial screen redraws and I don't think that CPU would fix it. The Windows version doesn't suffer from this.

      On top of that Illustrator does have some other bug fixes and optimizations to do. Hopefully we'll get a 10.1 version before too long.
  • by (1337) God (653941) on Thursday February 27, 2003 @06:37PM (#5401534)
    You think Apple sucks because they have realised that the traditional MacOS has come to the end of the line and instead of rehashing old rubbish as MS and Intel have been doing, they have gone to great lengths to write a new OS based on highly regarded kernal and system, whereas MS has rehashed NT and, as they usually do, added more and more (mostly unnecessary) features.

    You think they suck because they base their computer and OS designs on what their customers want, unlike MS which designs its own ideas and forces them on its customers (HTML email, VBS, ASP and now the new IE5, with it's different rendering of web pages and 96dpi images) because, being the market leader (due to great marketing, not great design), people have no choice.

    You think Apple hardware sucks because it uses parts compatible with PC's, despite the fact that Apple hardware components have (for the most part) always been designed by other manufacturers, merely this time they have selected less unique hardware, because this is what their customers wanted and Apple customers are willing to spend extra for this.

    You all think Apple sucks because they build computers up to a quality, not down to a price. They suck especially because they took the bold step of designing harware that simple, straightforward and attractive to alot of people (iMac), and in great defiance of the PC market, sells very well. More insulting are the PC owners who discovered their friends' iMacs ran faster.

    Oh, and you think Apple sucks most of all because it forces PC owners to realise that they are MS and Intel lemmings - in no control of the chipset's and OS'es they use, as what they do is controlled by both these companies. If it weren't for Apple, AMD and others, everyone, with the exception of companies that can afford expensive un*x workstations, would be complete slaves to MS and Intel.

    This is like saying Mercedes Benz sucks because they design innovative cars who's designs influenced car designs for many decades.

    Maybe Apple should apologise for shattering people's ideas of what a computer should be.

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  • by afantee (562443) on Thursday February 27, 2003 @08:34PM (#5402387)
    Fantastic news for Apple, and trouble for Intel and HP.

    For all your Wintel idiots out there who know nothing other than GHz, PPC 970 is a super efficient 64 bit server grade RISC processor with the G4 style Altivec engine, and will blow away your P4, Xeon and Itanium. I home Apple will make a PowerBook with one of these.

    According to benchmarks by Intel and HP, the floating point performance of Itanium 2 @ 1 GHz is about 50% faster than P4 @ 3.06 GHz, so clock rate clearly doesn't equal to performance.

    In other news, out of 4.5 million servers shipped in 2002, only 3500 were Itanium. In contrast, Apple apparently had already sold approximately 8000 Xserves 6 or 7 months after it was launched in May 2002 - not too shaby for a new product.
  • by silverhalide (584408) on Friday February 28, 2003 @12:33AM (#5403805)
    I really wish manufacturers would cut the crap and just give a FLOP rating off of some standard test that could be performed cross-platform. Then they can stop worrying about turning processors into microwave ovens and focus on more efficent silicon techniques. They are starting to run into problems in these high frequencies because on a motherboard, because by the time the signal reaches another side of the board, it has already switched from a 1 back to a 0 or whatever. That's fast.
  • by afantee (562443) on Friday February 28, 2003 @12:45PM (#5407320)
    Apple shipped 7484 servers (presumably mainly Xserve) in Q3 2002. In contrast, there were only 3500 Itanium 2 based servers sold in the whole of 2002.

    The future looks even better for Apple in the server space, following the recent release of the new Xserve and the Xserve RAID. I can't wait to see an Apple 64 bit PPC 970 blade server to blow the crappy Dell out of the water.

    Quoting numbers attributed to Internet World, MacInTouch (Saturday, Jan 12) reports that Apple's share of the server market has more than trebled from 0.2 percent to 0.7 percent (Q3 '01 vs Q3 '02). An equally telling statistic is the fact that approximately 40 percent of growth had taken place by the end of Q2 '02 (ie before Apple's Xserve was released).

    In terms of unit sales, Internet World quotes the following for Apple:
    ? Q3 '01 2,049
    ? Q2 '02 3,937
    ? Q3 '02 7,484
  • by Blondie-Wan (559212) on Saturday March 01, 2003 @10:33AM (#5413205) Homepage
    MacAddict [macaddict.com] and others are reporting that the press release has been removed from IBM's site; clicking the link to it in this story now takes one to a listing of IBM's German press releases. The pr on the 2.5 GHz 970 seems to have been completely removed. Might the announcement have been premature?

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