Many have hoped that Apple will move the PowerMac line to the PowerPC 970, a new 64-bit PowerPC processor being developed by IBM. With Motorola lagging behind in G4 development, and the G5 being nowhere in sight, many have hoped that Apple could turn to IBMis 970 line to erase the performance gap between Intel/AMD and Appleis G4-based products. This suggestion has been given more power by the fact that IBM has officially included AltiVec support in the 970, a technology crucial to many of Appleis developers.
Today, IBM announced the first products to use the 970 -- the PowerPC Blade -- at Europeis CeBit conference. The PowerPC Blade will be added to IBMis BladeCenter product line, a line of servers powered by Intel processors. The company is touting the PowerPC Blade as "superior to Intel Blades for certain applications in the High Performance Computing Sector," and goes on to offer some details on the PowerPC 970 itself. Included in those details is a speed range for the processor of 1.8 GHz to 2.5 GHz, higher than previous announcements from the company. From the companyis press release:
The new IBM PowerPC 970 is the heart of the PowerPC Blade. It is based on the 64-Bit Power 4 architecture which is also used in the processors of the IBM eServer pSeries. The 64-bit microprozessor
- Offers full symmetrical multi-processing
- Has a high reliability (with parity L1, ECC L2 and parity checked system bus)
- Is manufactured in the latest 0,13 micrometer Copper/SOI CMOS technology
- Runs at frequencies ranging from 1.8 GHz - 2.5 GHz
Therefore the IBM PowerPC 970 is the fastest PowerPC so far.
Further technical highlights of the PowerPC 970:
- Onchip 512 KB L2 Cache
- AltiVec Vector/SIMD unit
- 6,4 GB/s I/O system bus throughput
Currently, IBMis Web site shows the BladeCenter as being Intel-only, and there is no more specific information on the PowerPC Blade. There was no time line from IBM for delivering the new server, either, though the company has previously said that the PowerPC 970 itself would be ramping up production in the second half of 2003.