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The SpeedZone: Let The Chips Fall Where They May! - Mac Processors & Wintel Processors: A Resource
Updated: 12/30/02

Below you will find a list of links that have been culled from around the Net relating computer processors, mainly those used in Macintosh systems. Like our other 'Hub' pages , this one is intended as a one stop launching point. New news links will be added to the top of each area. If you have a news item relating to Macs processors specifically, or Mac processors in particular, mail it to us and we will add it.

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Active Cool AC 4G Quiet CPU Cooling System  - Could this be a solution for Apple's hot-running G4 Power Mac towers?

IBM hypes PowerPC 970 - IBM has published a Web page with some pictures of the PowerPC 970 and a nice summary of information. Although some of it is a rehash, there are some interesting details on the chip's creation

IBM's 970 CPU may have difficulty competing - SPEC benchmarks indicate that at 1.8GHz the 970 is slower than a current 3GHz Pentium 4. Given that the clock speed of the 970 was little over half that of the Pentium 4, this result isn't too surprising. However, when the 970 becomes available the Pentium 5 should be scaling to 3.6GHz with a faster bus. Even with the 970's impressive Instruction Per Clock (IPC), IBM will need to speed up the part to at least 2GHz relatively quickly

TMO Reports - IBM Confirms AltiVec To Be In New PowerPC 970, Tightens Up Time Table For Production - This is truly great news for Macintosh fans who have been clamoring for more power. The use of the name AltiVec is the strongest evidence yet that the chip is bound for the Macintosh, as it is the only personal computer that uses the technology. Although most have assumed the vector unit would at least be AltiVec compatible, it's a relief to have a definitive answer

PowerPC 970 - First in a new family of high-performance 64-bit PowerPC microprocessors - With the introduction of the PowerPC 970, IBM has taken PowerPC performance to new heights. At up to 1.8 GHz, the PowerPC 970 is the fastest PowerPC yet introduced. But the 970 employs much more than frequency to answer the demands of high-performance computing customers. The 970's multiple execution units including an AltiVec compatible vector processor are fed by an up to 900-MHz processor interface bus, which can deliver data at a rate of up to 6.4 GBps

Extreme CPUs: 430 cores on a die - British start-up picoChip has announced an extreme processor with 430 16bit cores on a die, and is testing the first silicon. It's a pretty radical and interesting approach, which involves a massively parallel array of four different kinds of processors

Carbon Chip Breakthrough May Crush Silicon - Xerox (NYSE: XRX - news) researchers in Canada claim they have stabilized polythiophene, a normally unstable, yet highly flexible, semiconducting polymer that can be etched with electronic circuits in place of rigid silicon chips, promising newspaper-thin computer monitors and televisions you can pin to your wall

RISC or CISC Which is better? - AMD has written some things lately, as well as Intel has in the past, pointing out that the difference between RISC and CISC no longer matter. That CISC is catching up and surpassing RISC. So let's look at this hypothesis.

'Double' chip promises faster PCs - The chip inside your computer is about to get better at doing its job. The world's largest chip maker Intel is introducing technology that tricks a computer into thinking it has two chips instead of one

Apple 'may adopt new IBM chip' - Observers noted the AltiVec support built-in to the chip, and a wave of undiminished speculation has followed as the market tries to decide if Apple will adopt IBM's solution This report, written by senior editor, Tom Halfhill adds to the speculation

The Mysterious G5 - we would probably see them at MacWorld Expo in New York during the Summer of 2002... or so we thought. When MacWorld New York 2002 rolled by... no G5s were to be seen. What we got were more G4 PowerMacs with overclocked processors to get them past 1 GHz. Things were started to look worrisome

Apple should port OSX to Hammer - Lets say Jobs ports OS X to x86-64, thus giving Apple 64-bit kudos, excellent performance, great price, and teaming up with AMD brings to the table cutting edge technology that will continually and quickly grow due to competition. And we all know Apple could use a more steady increase in performance then just a jolt here and there as in the past.

Intel doubles cache on new Xeons - Intel released three new Xeon chips for four- and eight-processor servers in a move to increase the pressure on Sun Microsystems. The new chips--formerly code-named Gallatin--are enhanced versions of Intel's Xeon line for multiprocessor servers. The fastest of the new chips runs at 2GHz and contains a 2MB tertiary cache, a reservoir of memory for rapid data access. The older Xeon, which came out in March, tops out at 1.6GHz and has a 1MB cache

Big Blue chips for Apple eclipse Motorola's G4s  - PITY POOR Motorola. No sooner does IBM detail how it's going to wrest the performance crown away from its erstwhile PowerPC partner, courtesy of the Power 4-based 64-bit PowerPC 970, but information leaks out of Motorola showing just how slow its high-performance processor ramp really is

IBM's 970 - The end result is that the 970 should conservatively cut the difference in clock ratios from 1 GHz : 3 GHz to about 2:3.5 or 2:4. Which no matter how you look at it, is a big improvement for the PPC. More important, in the same time frame, I expect to see improvements in vectorizing compilers, the libraries that Apple has already created to help programs (and programmers and apple using them), the software that uses them, and most importantly improvement in the cache and memory subsystems which should radically help the PPC's ability to keep AltiVec fed (which is the only thing keeping the PPC from beating the P4 even worse in Vector performance)

Intel Pushes Pentium 4 Past 3 GHz - New desktop chip will be the first to feature hyperthreading technology, allowing your PC to perform as if it had two processors

IBM's Power4 will boost Mac performance - At the recent Microprocessor Forum in San Francisco, IBM unveiled a new PowerPC processor whose performance outclasses the Motorola G4 PowerPCs used in current Macs - and most Intel Pentium 4 chips used in Windows machines - by a good margin. Dubbed the PowerPC 970, it's a combination 64- and 32-bit chip, derived from IBM's Power4 processor.

Inside the PowerPC 970 - What I offer you today is the first part of a two-part series on the PowerPC 970, IBM's first entry into a market that doesn't yet exist: the 64-bit desktop market.

Potholes on Apple's chip roadmap? - he unsigned piece considers revisions to the 745x processor that was originally launched in January this year. Its author(s) suggest a tentative timescale which sees faster revisions of the current 745x leading to the introduction of 970-based systems in 2004. But what happened to Motorola's 7470?

Details on Motorola G5 Processor Emerge - It appears from this road map that the next Motorola "G-something" processor will be a G4, its model number being MPC7457, with a MHz range between 867-1833MHz. This chip is based on a SOI (silicon on insulator), .13micron process and appears planned for sometime in 2003

Reader Report: PowerPC Performance - Here are some SPECint2000 and SPECfp2000 benchmark results which I found on the internet. These can be used to compare against the estimates given by IBM for the PowerPC 970

Mac OS X Built For CISC, Not RISC - WCityMike writes "One of the programmers at Unsanity, maker of haxies, recently posted a rather shocking relevation on the company's weblog. He says that Mac OS X's Mach-O runtime ABI (Application Binary Interface) comes from a NeXTStep design for 68K processorts, and is not designed for the PowerPC architechture. Had they used the latter, things would have been approximately 10-12 percent faster

Schiller: "We Are Committed To PowerPC" - Schiller was asked about Apple's commitment to Motorola. Perhaps revealingly, Schiller said that Apple was committed to PowerPC, but did not mention Motorola. Apple is also reported to be considering an IBM Power4-derived chip, but currently relies on Motorola for supplies of its G4 processor

Why OS X on X86 Is the Stupidest Thing Apple Could Do - Here are the reasons I believe Apple will be well advised to keep its OS off the x86 platform

AMD's Opteron could spur dual-core processor showdown - Advanced Micro Devices Inc. said its upcoming Opteron microprocessor will feature better integer performance than all other server processors, setting up a possible race with Intel Corp. to move to dual-core server processors as early as next yea

Intel's Itanium: Before Its Time or Just in Time? - Itanium 2 has been buffeted by rumors, hype and slower-than-expected adoption. All of the chaos surrounding the chip's introduction has made it difficult to discern its true role in the overall marketplace. Will Itanium 2 be a championship contender, or will it fade into the background, eclipsed by newer offerings?

Details emerge on IBM's PowerPC 970 chip - Put simply, 64-bit processing allows a processor to work on more data with each clock cycle. Sandon said that another advantage from 64-bit operation is the ability to add more than 4GB of RAM to a system. However, code must be created specifically for 64-bit operation to see an advantage

Topic: A Brief Look at the PowerPC 970 - Even before the session yesterday, the PPC 970 had been widely rumored to be an 8-wide superscalar machine. This led some reporters and online discussion participants to confuse instruction dispatching with instruction issuing. I'll briefly attempt to clear this up here,

IBM Discloses 64-bit PowerPC Details - Performance-wise, IBM believes the chip can record a benchmark of 932 on SPECint 2000 and a score of 1051 on SPECfp2000, both at 1.8-GHz. Peak SIMD GFLOPs should be about 14.4, Sandon said. Using Dhrystone MIPS, the chip should output a score of 5,220. or 2.9 DMIPS/MHz/. IBM expects the chip should test 18 million RC5 keys per second

Processors begin 64-bit push - The CPU is expected to spark debate over whether the desktop is ready to break through the 4-Gbyte addressing of 32-bit architectures. Whatever the answer, the 970 would give Apple Computer Inc. a chance to deliver high-performance 32-bit systems that could later be upgraded to full 64-bit computers.

IBM Remains Coy About Apple Chip - the chip's support for "single instruction multiple data," or SIMD, on the IBM chip is the same as Motorola's Altivec. SIMD allows a chip to perform the same mathematical operation on multiple sets of data at the same time. And though IBM has said nothing about potential customers for the chip, speculation over the chip's future was sufficient to give Apple's stock price a 22-cent boost on Oct. 14, the day that IBM first released details about the chip

Could IBM's 64-bit PowerPC chip kick start Yamhill? - Yesterday, Gartner analysts wrote off the chances of processors that run both 32-and 64-bit code, as an irrelevant half-way house. But, with AMD, IBM, and possibly Apple using 64-bit CPUs that also run 32-bit code, it will be interesting to see Intel's response

Wraps off IBM's 1.8GHz chip - The PowerPC 970 sports a 900MHz bus and supports multiple processors. The bus can deliver information to the processor at up to 6.4GB per second. The bus in a computer links the processor and the internal memory

Opinions Vary On IBM's PowerPC 970, IBM's Specs Offer 900 MHz Bus Speeds - Whether or not the PowerPC 970 makes it to a Mac near you, its capabilities seem impressive to us. At the very least, it will put a little fire under Intel and AMD in the race for 64-bit supremacy

Intel says Itanium development on track - "I think the industry and the analysts are fairly impatient - I think impatient is the right word - in the ramp of Itanium but internally the Itanium 2 and the Itanium processor family is actually on track with our expectations," said Andy Combs, general manager of Intel's Enterprise Platforms Group

64 bits How much should you care? - the concept of "64 bit computers" is rearing its head again. The Itanic, er, Itanium is 64 bit, AMD is coming out with its own next generation x86 processor that will support both 32 and 64 bit, and IBM's GPUL (next generation PowerPC) or rumors of the G5 are also 64 bit. This all begs the questions, "how is this better for me?" The answer is surprisingly little

IBM to unleash new PowerPC chip - The PowerPC 970 chip, due next year, will run at 1.8GHz, nearly twice as fast as Big Blue's quickest existing PowerPC chip, the 1GHz 750FX. It will also be able to handle both 32-bit software, the current standard on desktops, and 64-bit software, used on high-end servers

IBM Promises Muscle for the Mac - Industry sources say that IBM plans to announce a new 64-bit processor on Monday -- known as the PowerPC 970. It will run a new line of Macintosh products that could be available by the end of next year

IBM Debuts 64-Bit Chip - Will Apple Bite? - IBM said its PowerPC 970 -- the first in the company's planned line of high-end PowerPC processors -- is a 64-bit chip that will run at initial speeds of up to 1.8 GHz.

IBM server chip seen slimmed down for Apple Macs - IBM said the new PowerPC 970 microchip is a "lite" version of its Power4 chip, which it launched last fall in its sophisticated computer server, code-named "Regatta." The PowerPC can run 32-bit applications as well as 64-bit ones and is tuned for graphics, like some Intel chips

Power4-based chip May Give Insight into Next-Generation Apple CPU - Jobs has had a sneak preview of the PowerPC roadmap that we aren't privileged to, but it's safe to say he's happy with the 'options'

IBM processor hints at Apple's 64-bit future - IBM Corp. may give a peek into Apple Computer Inc.'s 64-bit future when it details a new version of its Power4 microprocessor next week. Aimed for use in desktops and low-end servers, the 64-bit Power4 could be IBM's first PowerPC-compatible chip to support the Altivec multimedia instruction extensions defined by Apple and Motorola Inc

IBM's PPC 750FX G3 Now Available at 1GHz - Currently running at 700MHz, the 1GHz G3s give Apple the option to run both the iBook and the original CRT iMacs on the G3 for the foreseeable future. It's inexpensive to do so and it's probably doubtful whether average users will need or use the power offered by the G4

Atomic memory developed - Imagine a CD with a storage capacity not of 650 MB but 650 million MB. Such a storage capacity is theoretically possible because of experiments using individual atoms to store data

AMD plans its biggest product launch: 'Hammer' a challenge to Intel - AMD is planning its biggest launch - and it's no Intel knockoff. The new processors share some of the same elements found in powerful servers but will also target personal computers

IBM makes nanotube breakthrough - IBM researchers have discovered a way to fabricate carbon nanotubes that could be incorporated into processors to make them more powerful

AMD narrows gap with new notebook chips - The Athlon XP 2000+ and 1900+ processors are expected to be featured in consumer notebooks coming out from Hewlett-Packard, Fujitsu-Siemens and others, according to AMD. The chips will provide around the same performance as Intel's 2GHz and 1.9GHz Pentium 4 chips, according to historical trends

Rumour mill suggests an earlier Intel 3.06GHz P4 - WHILE AMD is expected to introduce its 2800+ and 2700+ Athlon XP chips this week, rumours are growing that Intel might attempt to steal its thunder and rush its 3.06GHz Hypethreading Pentium 4 out of the door earlier

Second Thoughts about Intel in Macs - While some agreed that such a move would be disastrous for Apple, others said it could be a good idea -- if done right. And you know what? I think they may have a case. Let me lay out their argument

Apple, IBM Team On 64-Bit CPU - The eWeek article claims the size of the chip is about the size of a Celeron, would that be good enough for laptops, and if so does that finally mean portable dual processing (with 2 cores per chip)?

Topic: More on Apple's upcoming 64-bit white horse from IBM - the revelation that Apple is (thankfully) working on a new bus architecture, called ApplePI, to replace Maxbus for use with the GPuL. No details on what improvements this bus architecture will bring, though, except the obvious: point-to-point topology and higher frequencies. The GPuL chip is likely to debute on a 0.13u SOI process at speeds ranging from 1.4 GHz to 2 GHz, and it will feature four processor cores packed onto a single die for four-way on-chip SMP

Apple, IBM Team on 64-Bit CPU - According to sources, IBM Microelectronics, a division of IBM, is working with Apple on a 64-bit PowerPC processor for use in the latter's high-end desktops and servers. Sources said Apple is testing the CPU, dubbed the GigaProcessor Ultralite (GPUL) on Mac OS X-based hardware at its Cupertino, Calif., headquarters, and making sure that the processor complies with a new bus architecture on tap for future Macs

Altivec And Monte Carlo Methods - Anonymous Coward writes "It is great to see that Apple is releasing numerical libraries with Altivec optimizations (e.g. the BLAS). While double precision calcs are (alas) not speeded up by the G4, if you can get by with single precision, the Altivec can be quite advantageous. Last week I realized that up to 50% of the computations that I do at work (on Pentium 4's) rely on tight loops with random number generators. That is the nature of Monte Carlo methods for simulation. It occurs to me that the Altivec unit should pretty much rock for this sort of thing

The Desktop Microchip Race: Who's Ahead? - As desktop computers reach performance levels once considered appropriate for global weather modeling, buyers may wonder which company is producing the most advanced microprocessors. But there is no simple answer to this question. Which processor is best depends on when one buys it and what one plans to do with it

Tri-gate transistor called post-planar contender - "The triple-gate devices are very scalable to smaller sizes. But this is just a possibility, one candidate. We are also considering planar devices, and non-silicon approaches to the 45-nm node. We want to give our manufacturing people the best option to pick from. We do believe the geometry control of making these fins is viable, but clearly it will take years of work to make them manufacturable

Mac OS X on x86 could be a good idea - There are really two platforms to think about, hardware speaking. PowerPC (Macs) and x86, commonly known as Intel. x86 is what people commonly refer to as a Windows computer, but some do install Linux, and even Darwin, the core of Mac OS X which has been publicly available for x86 for quite some time. The rest of what makes up Mac OS X is not available for x86, that is a PowerPC exclusive. One should note that you can also run Linux and Darwin itself on PowerPC. The idea that Mac OS X already exists for x86 is frightening to some, but it shouldn't be

Intel rubbishes AMD's hybrid plans - The head of Intel Corp's server chip division rubbished AMD's 32/64-bit hybrid processor proposition yesterday, saying that if it's such a good idea, why hasn't anyone done it before?

Intel Not Ready for Dual-Core Itanium - Chip giant will wait several years before rolling out technology that allows one processor to offer the power of two

Mac and PC: Ne'er the Twain Will Meet - Could Apple make OS X run on Intel chips? Yes, but it would blunt the unique Mac edge and spark a war that Microsoft is sure to win

Intel reveals more about its new processor for notebooks - The world's largest chip maker announced at its Intel Developer Forum in San Jose that the new processor, code-named Banias, will operate at much lower power levels than Intel's current chips, enabling notebook computers with longer battery life and better performance.

AMD opens the transistor gates - Advanced Micro Devices has created new high-performance transistors in its labs based on the simple concept that sometimes two are better than one. The chipmaker said Tuesday it has manufactured in its labs a new kind of transistor with two pathways, or gates, for electricity--instead of one. The new transistor design can double the amount of electricity that flows through a transistor, similar to the way that adding extra lanes can increase the capacity of a highway

Support Lags for New Pentium 4 - Intel Corp. is expected to unveil this week a performance-enhancing technology that's due in an upcoming release of its 3GHz Pentium 4. But an apparent lack of necessary support from Microsoft Corp. will mean few early adopters will be able to take advantage of it

IBM chip fights power leaks - Scientists at the Armonk, N.Y.-based company revealed that they have manufactured a working static RAM chip out of so-called Fin-Fet transistors, which feature two gates, rather than a single one, for conducting electricity. To date, IBM has said little publicly about double-gate transistors. At a technical conference in December, the company will provide details about the memory chip and also talk about other research on transistors

HP Researchers Make Tiny Memory from Molecules - Using previously patented technology, the H-P scientists have created a 64-bit memory unit that fits inside a square micron -- a micron is one millionth of a meter. The memory contains 10 times more bits per square micron than today's most advanced DRAM computer chip memory chips

Diamonds Are a Chip's Best Friend? - For chipmakers, diamond is a tantalizing material. Theoretically, it appears ideal for many types of microcircuits. It combines some key properties of silicon with those of less-familiar semiconductors, such as gallium arsenide and silicon germanium. These so-called compound semiconductors are used for jobs beyond the capacity of ordinary silicon

Readers contribute info on IBM 64-bit PowerPC & G4/G5 AltiVec - "Concerning your article about IBM's future chip being Altivec compatible, I believe the only thing proprietary about Altivec is the trademark, as the vector unit extensions for PowerPC were named VMX in some roadmap papers before Altivec first appeared, seeming VMX to be an extension of the common PPC architecture developed by the AIM group."

Intel to unveil nanotechnology plans - Multigate transistors are an answer to the problems created by the shrinking size of components on a chip. Chips increasingly need greater amounts of electricity flowing through their transistors to hit their performance targets. However, transistor gates, which control the flow of electricity across transistors, measure only a few atoms thick and are getting thinner. The mismatch is akin to hooking up a fire hose to a Waterpik nozzle

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