C|Net: IBM To Announce Faster G5s

Mac speed freaks hungry for more power, or road warriors dreaming of a G5 Powerbook; your processors may be in the queue.

IBM, makers of the brawny brains inside Appleis G5 Power Mac, has begun producing a new version of the processor. The new version os the G5 will use either less power at speeds similar to those currently available, or use the same power as todayis G5s, but run at a faster clock rate.

IBM calls the current G5 processor the 970, and the new model the 970FX. According to an article in C|Net, IBM will officially make the announcement of the new chips today (Fri. 13, 2004). Hereis a bit of the article, titled Big Blue gives 90-nano boost to PowerPCs:

The tech giant plans to announce on Friday that it has started mass production of PowerPCs on the 90-nanometer process, which refers to the average feature size on the chips. (A nanometer is a billionth of a meter.) The PowerPC 970FX, which is used inside IBMis blade servers and Apple Computeris Xserve G5 server, is the first processor to be made with this manufacturing method.

Big Blue is expected to describe a 2.5GHz version of the chip made on the 90-nanometer process at the International Solid State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) in San Francisco next week. PowerPCs on the market today, produced on a 130-nanometer process, top out at 2GHz.

To make the new PowerPCs, IBM is combining layers of silicon on insulator (SOI) and strained silicon. Together, the two technologies allow manufacturers to improve energy efficiency or performance: They can either make processors that run as fast as current models but consume far less power; or they can produce chips that use the same amount of power but run at higher clock speeds.

You can find more information in the full report at C|Net.