IBM’s forthcoming Power6 processor can count to 10, run up to 5GHz, support AltiVec

“That may not sound like anything special for a processor whose clock ticks at a rate approaching 5 billion times each second. But Power6 can count to 10–and perform numerous other mathematical operations–with the decimal digits 0 through 9 rather than the binary digits of 0 and 1 used by conventional computers,” Stephen Shankland reports for CNET News.

“Binary math is the ordinary mode for Power6 and a natural for computers: The two digits can conveniently be represented by voltage differences and other yes-or-no, up-or-down, on-or-off differences. But humans, graced with 10 digits, generally opted for base 10, or decimal, mathematics, and about a little more than half of numeric [data] stored in commercial databases is decimal, McCredie said,” Shankland reports.

Shankland reports, “Power6, a dual-core chip IBM will begin manufacturing this year for servers going on sale in mid-2007… The Power and PowerPC lines will grow one step closer together with Power6, which incorporates the AltiVec instruction set that speeds up many multimedia tasks. AltiVec, also known as VMX, increases efficiency by letting a single processing instruction be applied to multiple data elements. That’s helpful for video and audio tasks on desktop machines, but servers will benefit as well in, for example, high-performance computing tasks such as genetic data processing, McCredie said.”

“Adding AltiVec was a tradeoff, he said. It’s a valuable feature, but electrical current ‘leakage’ problems in today’s chipmaking technology mean that even idle parts of a chip consume power and produce waste heat,” Shankland reports. “Power6 will run at speeds of 4GHz to 5GHz, IBM has said. ‘It will be closer to 5GHz than it is to 4GHz,’ McCredie said.”

More in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Betcha we know what you’re thinking. Now, forget about it.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Keith L.” for the heads up.]

Related MacDailyNews article:
Intel pledges 80-core processor within five years – September 26, 2006


  1. I’m thinking…. DAMMIT!!

    On the other hand, running on Intels makes business sense for Apple – it gives Windoze users a security blanket while they make the switch.

    I wonder if I can swap out a PowerPC G5….

  2. Here’s hoping Apple silently removes the checkboxes for Intel/PPC and just makes everything Universal by default. How cool would it be if Apple was running on BOTH PPC and Intel at the same time?

  3. ndelc,


    i havnt a doubt apple have done the right thing with the move to intel.

    remember what steve said at the keynote a while back when they announced the move to intel. He mentioned the Intels roadmap and Apples need for processors that were the best for portable devices.

    Just like the G5 if you cant fit it into a laptop, let alone anything smaller for the future, its just not worth it.

  4. And if history is any judge even if it does debut at 5GHZ it will take 3 years, if ever, to reach 6GHZ.

    Obviously it will require liquid cooling and draw 200watts making your laptop around 8″ thick.

    It will also cost $2,000 in orders of 10,000 and never see any use outside of Blade servers or super-computers.

  5. These chips WILL be delivered. They are not PowerPC chips. They also cost several thousand apiece. IBM has had no problems delivering on its Power promises.

    They will also use over a couple hundred watts for the two core version. Closer to three.

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