Analysts say new PowerPC 970 only 2GHz ‘won’t erase gigahertz gap’

“Apple Computer appears poised to boost its Power Mac line in what could be a much-needed overhaul of its high-end desktops. Apple is preparing to introduce a new line of machines that are built around IBM’s speedy new PowerPC 970 chip, analysts say, a move that won’t erase the ‘gigahertz gap,’ but should at least narrow the chasm,” writes Ian Fried for CNET News.com.

We pause here now to let that sink in… Now, take a deep breath, you’re going to need it.

“Late Thursday, Mac watchers say that the Apple store briefly displayed a series of specifications for new G5-based Power Macs. The desktops were said to range from a 1.6GHz model to a dual 2GHz machine, with the machines boasting up to 8GB of RAM, a 1GHz procesor bus, Serial ATA drives and other performance enhancements. Fried writes. “For years, Apple has been on the losing end of the megahertz race, using Motorola’s G4 processors, which have been slowly improving in performance, while Intel and Advanced Micro Devices crank out ever-faster chips at a much swifter clip. Megahertz isn’t everything when it comes to performance, but increasing the clock speed generally does boost chip and computer performance.”

“It is not clear just how far adoption of the IBM chips will take Apple in terms of performance. According the the specifications briefly posted on Apple’s online store, the new PowerMacs top out at 2GHz. Meanwhile, Intel is nearly ready with a 3.2GHz chip and is coming out with Prescott, a revamped processor that should take it to even higher speeds,” Fried writes.

“Meanwhile, Needham’s Wolf said in his report that ‘the 970 could reach a 2.5GHz speed by mid-2004 and 4.0GHz to 5.0GHz speeds by 2005.’ The current top-of-the-line PowerMac has dual 1.42GHz G4 processors. Some say the move to IBM may only be an interim step, with Apple’s real future stemming from porting its operating system to Intel-based chips. Bear Stearns’ [Andrew] Neff, among others, has called on Apple to make such a move,” reports Fried. Full mess here.

MacDailyNews Take: After recovering from our apoplexy, we came to the realization that the majority may still think, “Intel’s number is bigger, so it must be faster.” The G5 debut will either shatter the “Mhz Myth” once and for all, so that even those down at the very bottom of the intelligence scale (Wall Street analysts) will finally understand, or Apple will continue to be viewed as a maker of machines that aren’t as fast as ones with Intel Inside because their GHz ain’t as big.

And Apple’s ‘real future’ isn’t moving to Intel chips, if that’s what the “analyst” Neff implied. If so, do they actually pay this guy or is this some sort of community rehab deal they have worked out for the poor soul? If he’s implying that Apple will release Mac OS X for Intel to compete with Microsoft, that’s a little better (we’d love to see the resulting firestorm, not to mention Bill Gates’ head popping off its stem like a dandelion), but please just shut your uninformed yap anyway, okay, Andy?

57 Comments

  1. Well, I assume there will allways be people justifying their defending of MS crap, as long as most of them are indirectly dependent on MS for a living. I do pity them.

  2. He should be comparing it to the Itanium2, which according to Intels website is to be introduced 6/30 and runs up to (drum roll please), 1 GHz on a 900MHz bus. Plus it’s only for servers.

  3. I bet this guy was bullish on Global Crossing. But seriously there
    are some real issues to consider: Who is Apple competing
    against and what is a real performance boost? I agree that
    the bigger the performance boost whatever that really means and
    clearly it doesnt just mean processor speed, the more likely that
    professionals and the public will be tempted to upgrade. I also
    recognize that Apple does not want to become a niche or
    boutique computer company but the ground for its competition
    with Gates is OSX and other Apple soft ware–it is the reliability
    and utility of the software that will lead the sale of the hardware.

  4. Apple could release a 10GHZ Mac and you know what the response from the Wintel folks would be? “Speed ratings are a myth”.

    Enjoy the many pleasures and benefits of using Apple’s Mac OS. Let the others struggle with the torment of using MS’s version.

  5. This person, Ina Fried, Staff Writer, CNET News.com, has a job for a reason. For the uninformed this story seems completely believable, unbiased and even well informed. However, for the well the informed, the article makes the blood boil. This CNET staff writer seems to know nothing… or does he/she? I think the article was written by an informed person targeting a specific and uninformed audience. It’s called ‘spin’. Nothing new. I just wonder what the incentive or motive for the writer is. To gather as many ‘facts’, organize them in such way and then report them only points to two scenarios:

    1) This person is stupid and is currently on the short list for layoffs at CNET (and so is their editor); somehow this person is a writer but can’t read between the lines, didn’t understand his/her source material and maybe didn’t read thier own article… maybe their editor was really busy and only had time to run a spell check?

    2) This person is smart and has motive to add negative spin to this story. We can only guess what his/her motive might be. Very subtle… quite brilliant really. It *almost* seems as though it’s written by someone who fully believes what they are writing. Crafty. This story targets the uninformed masses (i.e. Windows Users and/or 95% of Wallstreet).

    I’m not an expert with these sorts of things so I can’t properly speculate to what means an article like this is effective. Does this person hold stock with competitors? Is this person dumb –I don’t think so. Payed off? Perhaps. I don’t know… consider me officially vexed! ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

  6. “Apple has not said whether Panther is geared to take advantage of 64-bit processors. Even if it is, it is likely that Apple and others will need to rewrite their software to gain the benefits of the additional bits. “

    What rock has this ignoramous been living under? This is horrendously shoddy reporting AT BEST.

  7. i would love to have a machine like the leaked description. a 64bit dual 2ghz proc is amazing in itself let alone 8gigs of ram and a1ghz bus speed. the USB 2.0 is what makes me think this is not the new machine.

  8. This is what I sent to Fried:

    Hello:

    Do you actually understand how dramatic an impact the introduction of the IBM 970 chip will have? Your article suggests you do not.

    Two references:

    1. “According the the specifications briefly posted on Apple’s online store, the new PowerMacs top out at 2GHz. Meanwhile, Intel is nearly ready with a 3.2GHz chip and is coming out with Prescott, a revamped processor that should take it to even higher speeds.”

    Even though any reasonable review of the 970 will demonstrate that it substantially outperforms the Pentium architecture, it will of course require that people look behind the megahertz myth. I always thought that, as rational human beings, it was one of our joys in life not to be bound by myth, that we can explode myth, and that one of the missions of the Fourth Estate is to help people see things as they are. But folks like you continue to propagate the megahertz myth by implicitly suggesting that it is indeed valid. In effect, you are endorsing the concept that says: “it says it has higher speeds, therefore it must be better.” If you want to talk about the *marketing* reality of the megahertz myth, that’s fine, but you pretended to talk about the technical reality.

    2. “Apple has not said whether Panther is geared to take advantage of 64-bit processors. Even if it is, it is likely that Apple and others will need to rewrite their software to gain the benefits of the additional bits. “

    A little research would have helped here. Indeed, Panther will have 64-bit capabilities, but the 970 chip will probably require the interim release of OS 10.2.7, code-named Smeagol, until 10.3 is released. While Apple may be officially mum on 64-bit support in 10.3, if you can build an entire article around a brief glitch on a website, then you should at least acknowledge that far more reliable sources have indicated 64-bit support in September.

    Thanks for contributing to the drivel that unfairly diminishes the value of the leading innovator in the industry.

    P.S. I don’t work for Apple. I am just a user who also uses PCs. I choose to spend my personal money on Macs.

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