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(Barely) Faster Portable G4s From Moto, But G5s Could be Close

(Barely) Faster Portable G4s From Moto, But G5s Could be Close

by , 9:00 AM EST, February 24th, 2004

C|Net is reporting that Motorola has introduced slightly faster G4 processors that should run cool enough for a laptop. This could allow Apple to release faster PowerBooks, but the processors clock in at only 1.42 GHz, 70 MHz faster than the 1.33 GHz processors currently offered in Apple's top of the line 17" PowerBook, and 170 MHz faster than the 1.25 GHz G4s in Apple's 15" PowerBook.

That's hardly enough of an increase to spark a new round of upgrades, but C|Net quotes an analyst with the Microprocessor Report as saying that G5s could be making their way to a portable sometime soon. From C|Net:

Motorola said it is now producing samples of a 1.42GHz PowerPC processor, a chip analysts say might soon find its way into the PowerBook, Apple's high-end laptop. Motorola said the chip has a typical power consumption of less than 20 watts, a level that makes it suitable for laptops. The chip also contains multimedia instructions that are required for chips that Apple bills as G4 processors.

"It certainly would be a fit for a portable Mac," Mercury Research analyst Dean McCarron said. "It's obviously up to Apple whether they would do that versus using an IBM (chip)."

[...]

However, analysts say that now that IBM has moved the G5 line to its 90-nanometer manufacturing process, a G5 PowerBook should not be far off.

"I doubt it would be later than July or August," said Peter Glaskowsky, editor in chief of Microprocessor Report. "If everything had been just on a slightly different schedule we might have seen them at Macworld."

Apple is already using that lower-power chip in its rack-mounted Xserve G5.

There's more information in the full article at C|Net.

The Mac Observer Spin:

Apple would be hard-pressed marketing a speed bump from 1.25 GHz (or 1.33 GHz) to 1.42 GHz in the PowerBook line. Few would trade in their old PowerBook G4 models for such an increase, limiting sales of such a rev mainly to those who would have bought one anyway. With most product cycles, a substantial part of Apple's sales go to Mac users upgrading their Macs, and without that, the company's sales would definitely suffer.

So what's a multibillion dollar company to do? We have little doubt that Apple has this all planned out without any help from us, but we definitely hope there is a G5 PowerBook in the works. Apple could offer a small MHz increase in its PowerBook line if it moved from the G4 to the G5. That might be necessary, as the fastest G5s will definitely be too hot and power-hungry to plunk into a mobile form factor, but the G5 name has a lot of cachet, and that will help move lots of PowerBooks. Time will tell, and we look forward to seeing how this works out.

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