BusinessWeek: IBM close to ironing out Apple G5 production kinks

“When IBM sneezes, Apple catches a cold, goes one variation on the old saw. As the maker of the PowerPC chips that run Apple’s G5 desktop computers, IBM (IBM ) is Jobs & Co.’s most important supplier. In fact, Apple has more or less staked its computing future on the G5 line, produced largely out of IBM’s Fishkill (N.Y.) facility. Now, IBM is struggling to produce cutting-edge G5 chips of sufficient quality in sufficient quantity, and the upper half of Apple’s hardware lineup is in limbo,” Alex Salkever writes for BusinessWeek.

“Apple is frustrated with delivery delays of new G5 chips, cast with circuit widths of a mere 90 nanometers. That’s 30% smaller than current G5 chips with 130-nanometer circuits. The upcoming chips will also run faster and much cooler. Apple needs these before it can finalize its much-awaited G5 PowerBook,” Salkever writes. “The problem goes beyond laptops. In a worst-case scenario, sales of Apple’s top-of-the-line G5 PowerMacs will continue to languish, as buyers hold out for the speedy new chips. The delays in G5 progress may also force Apple CEO Steve Jobs to eat some crow. He had sworn to have a 3-gigahertz G5 desktop on the market this summer, something that looks increasingly unlikely.”

“Some experts still hold the view that in the long run, the IBM chip production problem is a blip and that Apple still looks smart for having thrown in with Big Blue. Fears that IBM’s chip production problems are serious are seriously overblown, IBM Senior Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer John Joyce said in a recent conference call. And IBM has started to see much higher yields at its Fishkill plant lately, which means IBM’s engineers are pretty close to ironing out the kinks, Joyce suggested,” Salkever writes.

Full article here.

31 Comments

  1. Hopefully, they will work out the kinks quickly. This is leading edge technology (90nm, SOI, etc). Once they do, Apple should see regular speed bumps in the G5 line and higher yields will mean G5s coming down into other product (Powerbook, iMac, etc.).

    I wonder what it would take to get IBM to use Macs (which use IBM chips) instead of Wintel?

  2. Beautiful. I think my 1.25 ALPB will last me quite a while, but ill be happy to see a G5 PB. And a 64 bit OS thats compatible with 32 bit software. Doing that would really knock Windows down several pegs.

  3. Reading the article, it is clear that IBM will devote mega resources to get on track. Multithreading will be next, which won’t be much of an obstacle. (They can take some intel guys to lunch and get ideas).

    The thing is, why the heck is a place called Fishkill?

    Is it right next to Mad Cow City or Trichinosis Town?

  4. My friend just got his first xServe G5 and it is so cool. He will order 3 more later. I “have to” go and “help” him with the setup today ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”smile” style=”border:0;” />

  5. For what its worth and just because I asked the same question a few years ago about a place called Deerkill… The word ‘kill’ as a noun means river. therefore ‘Fishkill’ is an old way to say ‘fish river’. FYI

  6. Per http://www.apple.com/powermac/

    “The Power Mac G5 runs all of your software � and runs it faster � thanks to Mac OS X Panther. Specially tuned for the G5 processor, Panther provides a seamless transition to 64-bit power with optimized math libraries that let today�s applications take advantage of tomorrow�s power.”

    OS X 10.3 is a 32-bit OS that is 64-bit CPU aware, and will utilize the G5’s 64-bit math libraries when necessary. This is not a lame feat. It is the extra wide 64-bit math functions that you need to access to tap one of the 64-bit CPU’s real strengths.

    Granted, it’s not the perfect setup, but it is a huge leap beyond anything Micro$oft will be able to do in the foreseeable future. Mac OS 11 could be the jump to light-speed as it will install a full 64-bit OS (w/ full 32-bit compatibility) if it detects a 64-bit CPU. Add that to a low-temp DUAL 3Ghz G5 by the end of the year, and Microsoft will be so far behind that they are too far away to even see Apple’s dust.

    …and there will STIll be some lame MSzombie that will say “Ya, but Microsoft still rules because you still can’t buy an Mac OS 11 version of ‘Robo BloodBath2000’.”

  7. Joe McConnel said:
    The thing is, why the heck is a place called Fishkill?

    The town was named by the Native Americans that used to live in the area. I used to live 15 minutes from the plant. Oh, and I think PETA once tried to have the name of the town changed. What a joke.

  8. “Vis-kill is Dutch for Fish Creek” based on several websites about the town’s origin, but Sherlock and other on-line translators do not support that translation. With those, the proper Dutch translation for “fish creek” would be “vissen kreek”. Nowhere could I find “kill” or “kil” to mean any body of water. The closest is “kil” = “chilly” so “vis-kil” would be “fish chilly” or perhaps “cold fish”.

    Searching further, according to http://www.channels.nl/knowledge/15083.html
    “First no Dutch words end with two consonants but it turns out that kil has indeed many meanings related to water in Dutch. Funny, I never knew that… The primary meaning is “deep trench between steep banks”. We have a water here which is called De Dordse Kil but again this word is out of date.”

  9. My friend found this (http://www.merrycoz.org/voices/bartlett/AMER15.HTM)…

    “KILL. (Dutch kil.) A channel, or arm of the sea; a stream; river. This Dutch appellation is still preserved in several instances; thus the channel that separates Staten Island from Bergen Neck, is called the Kills; to which we may add the names Schuylkill and Catskill, applied to streams.

    KILLIFISH. (Genus fundulus.) A small fish found in the salt water creeks and hays, from one to five inches in length. It is only used for bait for larger fish. The name is Dutch from kill, a channel or creek (which see), where the fish is only found. They are often called killies.

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