PowerPC 970 blades inspire G5 notebook speculation

— 3:43 AM on December 19, 2003

There's an interesting article over at BusinessWeek Online suggesting that Apple may introduce a G5-powered notebook next year. The G5's heat dissipation and power consumption are currently keeping it out of Apple's PowerBook line, but IBM may have found a solution to those issues with its PowerPC 970 blade systems.

COOL IT DOWN. Here's the connection: Rack-mounted blade servers share some of the same problems as laptops, namely, heat output and power consumption. Often measuring less than an inch thick, they must work in close quarters where ventilation is scant. For that reason, keeping them cool is difficult, with possible heat-extraction mechanisms limited due to the surroundings and the small physical enclosure of the server itself.

The simplest way to reduce heat is to trim the amount of power going into a chip. That's what IBM has probably done with its PPC blade servers, which are slated to hit the shelves in March, 2004. This implies that a low-power G5 laptop chip is only a small step away from the existing product. "The only thing lacking in the current 970 to make it a laptop is a low-voltage mode. The technology of the PPC 970 is very rapidly approaching the point where such things become slam dunks," says Glaskowsky.

A G5-powered laptop would be sweet indeed, though it AMD will probably have a lock on the 64-bit notebook market for the foreseeable future.
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