MacWEEK veteran Daniel Drew Turner is reporting for eWeek that IBM is about to introduce a chip code named Sahara that will be the successor to the G3 processor. The article says that Sahara will run at speeds of 700 MHz to 1 GHz, and that it will include performance advantages that offer AltiVec-like performance enhancements across the Mac board. From that article:
IBM next week will announce a new PowerPC ranging in megahertz from 700MHz to 1GHz that could shift the balance of power in the professional Mac market away from Motorola Inc. and its PowerPC G4.
eWeek has learned that Big Blue next week will introduce a new processor, code-named Sahara, that could represent the next significant jump in both megahertz and overall performance, according to sources. In addition, Sahara may match current performance advantages of the PowerPC G4is AltiVec acceleration--which Apple markets under the name Velocity Engine--due to new technology that boosts Mac software performance across the board.
IBM will reportedly announce Sahara next Wednesday, probably at the Microprocessor Forum seminar in San Jose, Calif.
However, sources told eWeek that the Sahara chip will feature an "AltiVec-like acceleration" and not require the AltiVec co-processor in order to provide a speed boost to applications. Details were not yet available as to whether this is due to new hardware or code mapping, but sources said Saharais technology is entirely distinct from AltiVec.
There is more information in the eWeek article that we did not quote, and it is a very interesting read.