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. The real issue here: How many applications will take advantage of their quantum computing method? Yeah…

    The Intel switch was well warranted and we have fast chips now, along with a long roadmap and security. What does IBM have? More promises and a single processor line that looks too powerful to go in anything but a big tower. How would that help Apple? It wouldn’t.

  2. Mac users have been living with IBM’s better, faster crock for a decade or longer. Who knows what they promised Jobs over that time and failed to deliver. IBM has proven time and again it couldn’t care less about Apple.

    Anyone who dreams of G6 has shares in Prestone.

  3. where would we be if Apple never switched? STILL WAITING is where.

    Where would we be if we heard this news? STILL WAITING?

    Prices would probably increase instead of decrease like they have with going to Intel.

    IBM, as good as they are with other things, were always slow in getting chips to Apple, and they were loud and took up a lot of power to run.

    I say the Intel move was good, and these chips, while they sound good on paper, would not be so nice if they were ever enclosed into an Apple product. We;d stlll have all the myths and all that other BS.

  4. Yeah, I’m thinking that it will cost $6,000 each, and that it will consume 2,500 watts of power and require 800watts of fan power to cool it, including an exterior wall to vent the heat, or a heat exchange system to heat your house.

  5. Universal binary. the option is there.
    That said, what will intel be pushing by mid 2007? 4 ghz? At this point, speed is becoming less an issue- performance per watt is it in the portable world, which is the direction home computing is going.

  6. You bunch of knobheads.

    If you want power6 then you have to put up with no laptops, no more iMacs, no iTV and the death of your favourite computer manufacturer.

    Q1 2007 you’ll have 2.6 GHz 8 core Mac Pro and priced so you can afford one.

    You twerps that keep on going on about Altivec just ought to wake up and understand that the GPU in your shiny new Mac pisses on the Altivec. GPU is the future Altivec is the past.

    Anyone who doesn’t understand that should take a look at why Shake has been EOLed and a new compositor developed to take advantage of the power of the new GPUs. GPU rendering in multi media applications is the future.

    By going Intel a whole new era of powerful affordable computing is available to you all. Not to mention the development of spin off products like the iTV.

    Altivec is history, deal with it…..

  7. Say what you will, the Power architecture is way ahead that X86 crap.
    Fortunately, good old Steve has learnt from his past experiences and is keeping a PowerPC team at Apple as well for us Power believers…

  8. dd, you’re absolutely right…

    everyone has seen this the wrong way. apple hasn’t switched to intel…they added intel. steve jobs has said time and time again that the mac will run on the most powerful available chip. Who’s to stop Apple from putting this in their xserves or mac pros? XCode builds universal binaries…not just ppc or intel architecture, and then let’s OS X figure out which code to run, while as the user, we see one application.

    this is absolutely brilliant work apple, hats off.

  9. Thank you, Scott. If HP, Gateway, and now Dell can use Intel or AMD, why can’t Apple use Intel, AMD, or PPC? Windows can ONLY use x86, but OSX has proven to be multi-platform. 😀

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