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Reuters: New IBM PowerPC Chip Will Be Used By Apple

Reuters: New IBM PowerPC Chip Will Be Used By Apple

by , 10:30 AM EDT, October 14th, 2002

A Reuters report is once again fueling speculation that Apple will be moving away from Motorola's line of processors, the PowerPC G4. The news service is reporting that a new processor introduced by IBM today, though the report appeared on Sunday, will be used by Apple once it reaches the market.

The new processor is called the PowerPC 970, and is being described as a "lite" version of IBM's Power4 server line of processors. This is the 64-bit processor, capable of running legacy 32-bit applications, that has long been the subject of such speculation in the past. The Reuters report says the processor will be available in "the second half of 2003," and will ship at that time at 1.8 GHz. From the report:

International Business Machines Corp. Monday announced a microchip for personal computers that will crunch data in chunks twice as big as the current standard and is expected by industry watchers to be used by Apple Computer Inc.

Apple was not available to comment, and IBM declined to comment on which PC makers would use the chip, but its plans would mark a change for the industry, which has emphasized the importance of the speed of a chip rather than its ability to handle heavy workloads.

IBM said its new PowerPC chip would go into production late next year and process 64 bits of data at a time at 1.8 Gigahertz, or 1.8 billion cycles per second.

Chekib Akrout, vice president of IBM microprocessor development, said big databases and the Internet challenged PCs: "This is the time to introduce a 64-bit machine capable of being used on a desktop," he said in a telephone interview.

An industry source said Cupertino, California-based Apple would use the chip in its Macintosh computers.

[...]

One analyst said the chip's attributes mean it would work well in the professional publishing sector, for high-end graphics and other media-intense tasks.

"This processor would be a great processor for a Macintosh," said Tom Halfhill, an analyst with San Jose, California-based In-Stat/MDR.

There is additional information in the full article, which we recommend as a good read.

The Mac Observer Spin:

This is the most credible report on Apple moving to this line of processors, though it is hardly the first. A move to 64-bit processors would certainly be a nice boost for Apple's product line, and would also be a nice dosy-do around the MHz barrier the company faces today. While this processor will supposedly only ship at 1.8 GHz as much as a year from now, its 64-bit nature will help the company continue the MHz Myth marketing. 64-bit processing will represent a huge leap in processing power. That said, it still isn't likely to play well in the consumer space. Join our forum members in a discussion on whether or not Apple should switch, and other related issues.

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