After weeks of speculation and rumors, it's finally official. IBM has a new, "lite" version of its 64-bit Power4 processor. The new processor is called the PowerPC 970, and will debut at 1.8GHz in the second half of 2003. With such a low clock speed, the chip's IPC will have to be quite high, especially if it's expected to compete with whatever AMD and Intel are offering us next year.
Unfortunately, there's not a lot of new information on the chip, just confirmations that it will indeed have a single processing core, and that it will also run 32-bit applications. What will be particularly interesting to see is how well the chip can run existing 32-bit applications, and whether Apple will indeed use the chip in its servers, workstations, and potentially even personal computers. News stories on the new chip are still quoting "sources" that claim Apple will use the new chip, but there's no official word from Apple on whether the chip will make its way into Macs.
At the very least, Apple should be comfortable selling a "MHz isn't everything" message. Personally, I can't wait to see a "switch" add with someone talking about all the wonderful things they can do with their Mac now that they have an extra 32 bits to play with.
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