Rumor: PowerPC 970 (G5) ahead of schedule; bulk manufacturing to start April 15 is reporting, translated from the original French to the best of our ability, “Until now, the processors PPC 970 which were manufactured were prototypes being used for tests. Yesterday, Peter Sandon, father of the PPC 970 gave the green light. The PPC 970 is now regarded as free from bugs and good for the production. As of April 15, it will be manufactured in series in the factories of IBM. The chips will be integrated as of the end June in blade servers from IBM and of course in the Apple Macintosh machines. One can note the similarity of dates between the exit of machines IBM and the WWDC. Knowing APPLE, they probably negotiated the exclusiveness in the advertisement of the arrival of the PPC 970 with a margin of a few days.” original article in French here.

Peter Glaskowsky, editor-in-chief of the Microprocessor Report, which hosts the annual Microprocessor Forum recently told EE Times, “[PowerPC 970] performance will be in the upper reaches of any CPU. Apple would be able to produce for the first time machines that not only have great performance but support full 64-bit addressing.” The real question is not whether 64-bit is coming to the desktop, but “how much of that capability will really be used,” said Dean McCarron, principal of Mercury Research (Phoenix). “Apple’s in a better position than AMD to use it aggressively since they control their own OS.” As reported by EE Times here.


  1. Initially maybe 64bit won’t make a big difference. I guess apps will have to be rebuilt for the new architecture. Bigger address space might mean the ability to plug much more RAM in, which would be nice, especially for those big renders. 10GB anyone ?

  2. I forgot to mention chip speeds, which will be a welcome improvement. The OS will be tweaked quite early on too, I imagine, so the Finder will seem much more responsive.

  3. According to rumor the PPC 970 will initially be released at clock speeds ranging from 1.4-1.8 GHz (early report) all the way to 2.3 GHz or so (more recent rumor). The PPC 970 allegedly achieves performance parity with a P4 at twice the GHz, supports AltiVec and is designed from the ground up for symmetric multiprocessing because of its Power4 server CPU heritage.

    Even better news – IBM is the supplier which means better supply and faster development!

  4. 64 bit addressing brings, as an above poster noted in reference to the arstechnica article, the ability to use greater than 4GB of memory and the ability to sling REALLY large numbers around faster… in technical terms, of course.

    What this means for the average consumer: diddly over squat. What this means for people manipulating either large numbers or large amounts of data: significantly more efficient programs.

    Outside of 64-bitness, though, the PPC970 is much more efficient than the G4, runs at lower wattage (meaning, it is cooler, meaning, you won’t burn your hands on your AlBooks or have to listen to loud fans in your PowerMacs), and has lots of potential for scaling up in frequency.

    So, while the average Mac-head isn’t going to see much benefit from 64 bits, the PPC970 is still one heck of a processor upgrade.


  5. I agree. Sure 64-bit processing might not do diddly squat for some programs. But for those of us in graphics, photography, CAD and etc, I can’t imagine why it wouldn’t make a difference if the code is optimized. In the end, I think the G4 is at the end of the line. I have a friend who works at Motorola, and I asked what is Motorola gonna do about the G4 and he said that people have to realize that it’s not a race. Well, the G4 gets trounced by PC’s that are half the cost of a Powermac, and more customizable to boot.

    In the end, i think Apple is a MUCH better software company than hardware company. Although the P970 gives me hope.

  6. Any video editing application (including iMovie) will benefit from the larger address space the 64bit processors provide. Video clips are usually mapped into memory (memory-mapped files) to simplify access. Now, a lot of code is there in OS to deal with limitations of the size of the file you can map.

  7. Phoukka said “What this means for the average consumer: diddly over squat. What this means for people manipulating either large numbers or large amounts of data: significantly more efficient programs.”

    But the crux of this is that for the average consumer who is reading email and surfing the web a 3 GHz P IV means diddly over squat –. quite simply one does not need mega ghz just to perform average tasks, despite the sales pitch that intel or other chip manufacture flog.

    What it means is that for those things for which speed is really needed, speed is really going be there.

  8. regarding the guy that says the move to 970 will mean diddly squat for the average consumer, I’m not sure that’s true. In fact, (and I’m not a real techy so feel free to correct me), isn’t it likely that Ibooks, for example, will move up to g4 processors since Apple tends to keep them one generation behind the powerbook/powermac line? And aren’t the G3 I books still a little slow for running os x (early powerbook g4 400 here)?

  9. “I think Apple is a MUCH better software company than hardware company. Although the P970 gives me hope.” – Chomper Apr 09, 03 | 2:50 pm

    I beg to differ!

  10. The immediate benefit will be from the 970’s ability to run 32 bit apps. at the higher CPU speeds and the lifting of the 166 mHz bus speed limits imposed by the current G4 chips. Even without changes to OS X gallowing 64 bit processing, we will see a great speed bump out of the box.
    For my money, I would rather run 32 bit a little longer with the new chips, and let Apple get it right on 64 bits out of the box. Everybody is going to be living with 64-bit computing for quite a while; and if Apple doesn’t do it right there will be hell to pay.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.