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Mac hardware rumors about the IBM 970 chip newer faster


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"The Next Big Thing"

"So here's the thing: over the past several months, we've been steeped neck-deep in dirt about the PowerPC 970, IBM's shiny new processor that's supposed to put Apple back in the game as far as raw computing power is concerned. There was Ars Technica's ridiculously comprehensive report on the chip. There are new 970-related rumors flowing out of MacBidouille at the rate of approximately six per minute, the latest of which implies that the Power Mac 970 has a fiber channel port for connecting an Xserve RAID, or perhaps a bonnet-style hair dryer. (Our French is a little rusty.) And now Mac OS Rumors has just kicked in its own expectations for what technologies the 970-based Power Mac will include.

Yessiree-Bob, there's certainly no shortage of information (albeit of questionable validity) about the 970. The upshot of which is, of course, we're already sick to death of the thing and it's not even out yet. Oh, the tribulations of being a rumor junky. We're considering applying for some sort of federal aid.

It's a good thing that Mac OS Rumors is looking out for us, though; in addition to the 970 Power Mac specs, MOSR has also started dishing dirt on-- are you ready for this?-- the PowerPC 980. Yes, folks, if you, too, are so jaded beyond recognition by all the 970 speculation that you can't picture yourself deigning to buy one because it already feels like last year's model, the solution is simple: just start looking forward to the 980 instead. After all, if MOSR is even remotely on target, there's a heckuva lot to look forward to.

Apparently while the 970 is derived from IBM's POWER4 architecture, the 980 will be based on the POWER5-- which, as anyone can see, is one louder. And as if that weren't exciting enough, just take a gander at the projected clock speed: "4.5 GHz to 5.0 GHz +." Couple that with "a much more powerful Altivec unit, a high-performance on-board memory controller, and countless other improvements" and you wind up with a nitro-burnin' funny chip with "performance levels well in excess of ten times today's." And when will all this magic come to pass, you ask? "A little over a year from now," we answer. Or, rather, MOSR answers. We're just pipe-dreaming right along with you guys.

All of which means, of course, that the only people who will buy a 970-based Mac instead of waiting another year for a 980-based model are lame-os, squares, and the feeble-minded. And lest you think that we're only saying that to drive down demand for the upcoming 970s in hopes of spurring an early round of price cuts for our own personal gain, we assure you that nothing could be further from the truth. Nope. Nuh-uh.

By the way, the 970 also causes baldness. And weight gain. Massive weight gain."

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It does look promising. But I expect the "a little over year from now" to still be a little over year from now, when a little over year from now has passed.

But the 970 seems to almost certainly be here, summer or fall. It will need an OS rewrite of some sort and Panther (10.3) seems to still be a few months away.

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