Apple wants to PowerTune G5s for notebooks

— 11:12 AM on June 26, 2004

In this article, eWEEK sits down to talk about the future of IBM's PPC970 (a.k.a. "G5") processor with Norman Rohrer, its chief designer.

Apple would very much like to sell G5-based PowerBooks, and when those laptops appear, they will use the same chip used in today's G5 Power Mac and XServe systems. Rohrer says the CPU will be comfortably housed in the svelte chassis of a PowerBook, thanks to its scaled back processor frequency/voltage and a dynamic clocking system dubbed "PowerTune". With PowerTune, the 970 chip is capable of rapid swings from full to 1/64 speed, where it sips as little as 1-2W.

Dual-core chips are all the rage these days, but Rohrer has reservations. He believes that the pressure to repeatedly ratchet up clock speeds would ease with multicore chips running at lower speeds, but with thermal limitations remaining the same, that may be a necessity. More to the point, Rohrer knows what buyers want: "It's hard to get away from frequency. It's the easiest apples-to-apples comparison you can make."

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