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October 6th, 1999

[4:15 PM] Motorola Shows Off 700 MHz G4 Technology

C-Net is reporting that Motorola has been showing off at the most recent Microprocessor Forum. Motorola has demonstrated technology for a 2nd generation of the G4 processor that will lead to 700 MHz chips, 2 MB Level 3 caches, and more. According to the C-Net story:

Motorola is revamping the PowerPC chip line again and is working on a processor that will boost Apple desktop computers beyond 700 MHz.

Details for a second generation of the recently released G4 PowerPC processor were disclosed at the Microprocessor Forum, an annual processor industry conference here.

Among other features, the new chip will run at more than 700 MHz, according to Naras Iyengar, senior member of Motorola's Somerset Design Center. The chip also includes 256KB of secondary cache integrated onto the processor, similar to Intel's upcoming "Coppermine" processor, he said.

"What we've done is come up with a completely new microarchitecture," Iyengar said. "This architecture is capable of reaching frequencies of over 700 MHz."

Motorola will be able to achieve faster speeds because of highly technical internal changes to the G4, Iyengar said. The chip will be able to process four instructions per clock cycle, up from three in the current G4s, he said. In addition, the chip will contain a seven-stage "pipeline," or data-assembly and processing line, rather than a four-stage pipeline. Longer pipelines allow designers to crank up chip core speeds.

"We've built in significant headroom for higher frequency," Iyengar said.

The rest of the article is also very good reading.

The Mac Observer Spin: This is cool. The emphasis of this article is that Motorola is working on technology to make PowerMacs faster. That's a good emphasis to have for a mainstream article. Of course, the fact that Motorola is going to the effort to demonstrate their goodies is also a good sign. With continued reports of strained relationships, it's always good to see signs that the companies are working toward a common goal. In any event, it would be a very good thing to see Motorola be able to push the MHz speed barriers a little more emphatically. Apple's product line continually lags behind the PC world as both Intel and AMD bring faster rated processors to marker far faster than either IBM or Motorola. This is an issue that the C-Net article also touches on.

Before you fire up your lecture explaining to us that MHz speed ratings don't mean a thing, the general public does not know, understand, or care. They have it locked in their heads that higher speeds mean faster processors and the Keeping Up With The Jones' mentality that engulfs our culture wants to have that "faster" chip. Unfortunately, their perception is their reality and the fact that they are wrong does not change their viewpoint. For Apple to continue to gain momentum, they must be able to bring out higher rated Macs.

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