PowerPC 970 (G5) prototype hits 2.5GHz; Apple may debut G5 this July

An IBM press release details the features and specs of the prototype PowerPC 970, Big Blue’s desktop derivative of its Power4. This CPU is expected by many to be used by Apple in brand new case-design desktop Power Macs perhaps as soon as this July. The 970, a 64-Bit CPU, is also to be used in IBM’s blade servers. According to IBM, the PowerPC 970 prototypes are now running at between 1.8GHz-2.5GHz. The CPU offers full symmetrical multiprocessing, a 512KB L2 cache, AltiVec and system bus throughput of up to 6.4GB p/s.

The PowerPC 970 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, and 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

More info here.

23 Comments

  1. regarding the previous comment about announcing in July and deliver 6 months later. That would absolutly kill the alredy weak tower sales for 6 months, not a good way of making money. The IBMs are not at paltry speedbump like the current 1.25 to 1.42 but a dawn of new era after more than 4 years of G4 failures. So announcing 970 towers or even 970 servers will stop the G4 tower sales dead in their tracks.

    So Apple will play this very close to the chest and have an absolute minimal period between show and sell

  2. Nah. If I had to gamble real money on this one, I would bet that this will be the Whopper that Steve Jobs is chomping at the bit to unveil. PCs have been routinely been beating up on the PowerMacs in benchmarks lately (even though the most educated of us know that the slowest component for either machine, the human, is just as slow as ever), IBM is efficient at delivering working chips (unlike Moto), so what they have working and what they can deliver is much closer and should allow Steve Jobs not only to announce the new “G5s”, but should also allow for delivery of the lowest end dual 1.4 GHz models within a matter of weeks from MWE, meaning the end of July or the first weeks of August with the Big Boy being available in September. I would also expect a pretty big speed bump come next March.

  3. Just a quick correction — the G5 designation refers to the Motorola follow-on processor that eventually became the MPC8500 series, now destined for network routers and other such bric-a-brac. It has no connection whatsoever to the IBM POWER4 derived GPuL (the PowerPC 970). Wholly different products.

    I would correct the oversight to avoid confusion.

    — eldee

  4. “So announcing 970 towers or even 970 servers will stop the G4 tower sales dead in their tracks.”

    Actually, DELAY SALES dead in their tracks. Apple will get its money in the end and probably with a nice premium.

    I’m not a skeptic… I’m an optimist.

    –Richard

  5. From: Eldee Stephens

    “Just a quick correction — the G5 designation refers to the Motorola follow-on processor that eventually became the MPC8500 series, now destined for network routers and other such bric-a-brac. It has no connection whatsoever to the IBM POWER4 derived GPuL (the PowerPC 970). Wholly different products.

    iI would correct the oversight to avoid confusion.”

    Eldee,

    The G3 and G4 are marketing designations and Apple can call ANY CPU it so desires a “G5.” There is no need to change the article as posted.

  6. My understanding is that the G5 is a 64bit CPU – what does that mean to OSX and applications? Can it run 32bit applications? I guess another major upgrade is not exactly what even the most loyal customers have in mind…
    My take on it is that we won’t see the chip in consumer machines anytime soon. Which leaves us moreless stranded on the Motorola stump.

  7. If and when Apple announces a CPU using the 970 they will have already cleared the channel. Initially Towers will get the slower of the 970s with Servers getting the heat. The 970 represents a major bump up from MOT’s G4. Any G4 “Pro” machine still on the shelf when the 970 is announced is dead meat. Apple will have to eat that inventory and that isn’t something Jobs will allow to happen. I suspect that inventories will actually go to zero, for a period of two to three weeks, to avoid “bought within 30 days” exchanges.

  8. I would think that IBM would be sensitive to the Apple market, and would announce this information only if Apple were pretty close to being able to ship the product. This is just silly optimism, but, hanging in for 6 months would really hurt Apple. Most power users will wait for this machine, which makes me think that it may be closer than we think, and this announcement is only out because it is close to shipping.

  9. my understanding is, Yes the 970 can run 32 bit apps as is. So all your old software should run fine.
    Of course newly written apps tailored for 64 bit processing will run much faster… kinda like the change from OS 9 to X… Apple rarely makes new things that aren’t as backwardly compatable as possible.. ther are exceptions.

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