Mac OS Rumors has laid out their version of the PowerPC roadmap with some interesting comments:
– The PowerPC 976, the first dual-core 97x chip based on the POWER5 architecture, will probably ship in mid-2005 and will also be the first PowerPC to use the VMX2 vector (“Velocity Engine”) instruction set; VMX2 will vastly increase the range of applications that will benefit from AltiVec/Velocity Engine-optimized code as well as the performance of that code. In particular, watch for Apple to tout VMX2’s impressive 3D graphics performance.
– The single-core PPC 980 will be Apple’s workhorse high-end processor beginning in early 2006 and variants will probably still be powering low-end Macs until nearly 2010.
– In late 2006, the PPC 985 will take over the high end of the Mac with a return to dual-core architecture based on POWER7. By this time IBM and Apple project that the cost to performance ratio of the PPC 9xx family will be no less than 5X that of any planned or otherwise likely competitor processor from Intel.
– Although processors after the 985 run so far into the future as to be impractical to speculate upon, one notable feature mentioned in internal Apple documents is “the ability to emulate Intel architectures with performance no less than 2X that of native solutions.”
Full article here.