IBM G5 Dual-Core 2.5 ghz


Chic Not Geek

IBM today introduced a dual-core version of its PowerPC 70 (a.k.a, "G5") processor, which could find its way into Macs in the coming months. In a presentation at the Power Everywhere Forum 2005 in Japan, the company also annnounced new low-power versions of the PowerPC 970FX, which are currently used Apple's Power Mac G5 desktops and iMac G5 systems. According to IBM, the dual-core G5 chips will be made available in speeds ranging from 1.4GHz to 2.5GHz, which could find their way into forthcoming models of its Xserve server and/or Power Mac G5 desktops.

The 64-bit dual-core PowerPC "G5" 970MP chips, code-named Antares, contain two processing units per chip, each with their own execution core and 64K of Level 1 cache. The chips also offer 1MB Level 2 cache for each unit, making the chips more than twice as efficient as IBM's current 970FX PowerPC G5 processors, according to the company. The new dual-core chips also feature power consumption features to dyanmically regulate frequency and voltage as well as the ability to completely turn off one core for added power savings.

The 970MP chip offers SMP functions, enabling it to seamlessly integrate with other dual-core processors to improve performance without increasing processor speeds. In addition, IBM says it has integrated a power saving function to manage the electric power of the system dynamically.

The new family of low-power PowerPC 970FX chips will be available in speeds up to 1.6GHz. They will feature a 512K Level 2 cache. PowerPC 970FX chips are currently used in Apple Power Mac G5 and iMac G5 systems.

IBM also touted its "Power" architecture, noting that IBM processors are used in six of the top 10 supercomputers in the world an that 51 percent of the systems in the top 500 list are using IBM chips, which translates to 57 percent of the global supercomputer processing power.

IBM made the official announcement in Japanese and had yet to update its US website with information on the new chips.
970MP based PowerMacs have been expected for later this year. Despite Apple's recent announcement for plans to switch to Intel based Macs, at least one or two more PowerPC based PowerMacs are due before the switch.
I find the low-power 970FX more interesting, as I'm a notebook user. Maybe the second revision of a G5 PowerBook _might_ make me change my sig. The first one won't, though.
I'd like to give a big "I told ya so" to the the "IBM can't deliver" crowd now. They've been keeping up with Intel just fine for the past two years, regardless of whether they hit their own growth targets.

This is as expected, and pretty much in line with what has been expected for the past year (although it was hoped that they'd be ready for the last revision).

I'd like to hear more about the low-power version. They don't make any specific claims of 'Book-worthiness. Low-power doesn't necessarily mean low-enough-power. If they really can be crammed into PBs, that would be yet another shot to the "Intel's chips are faster" theory of Apple's switch. Hmm.

I still think Apple's decision to switch was not about performance.
Actually, no, isn't. The dualcore parts don't go above 2.5 GHz, and the low power variants at only 1.6 GHz? It's nice that they didn't sleep and do nothing at all, but a "big i told ya so" is not necessary at this point in time. Because also none of the slides said when the things'd be released.
Not many dual cores go beyond 2.5 GHz. The Intel P4s are able to hit higher clock speeds due to the way the architecture is designed, for clock-speed and not necessarily performance.

But I agree a low power variant at 1.6 GHz isn't that exciting. It's going to be barely faster than the 1.67 GHz G4 in the current Powerbooks. So if people were expecting a big jump in performance if/when the Powerbooks are moved to G5, this ain't it.
About the dual cores: Yes. Okay. But that means that the PowerMacs need _two_ of those to gain performance. A single processor dual core 2.5 GHz PowerMac would probably run cooler, but won't necessarily perform better than a dual processor single core 2.7 GHz PowerMac... So: If Apple actually gives us dual processor dual core PMs, that's okay...
The Register says...

Well to be honest i agree with the view that one way or another new chips would appear, with or without Apple. It certainly seems like a step in the right direction for IBM, but i still think they have plenty of hurdles to overcome.
Did Apple say they were going to drop shipping dual processor systems if/when the dual core Powermacs arrive? If they did, it's clearly shooting themselves in the foot.

I always thought that they would be shipping dual processor dual core systems, so you end up with 4x processor cores in your Powermac. Which would be so sweet :) This would also make them among the few consumer manufacturers who produce desktops with so many processor cores.
fryke said:
So: If Apple actually gives us dual processor dual core PMs, that's okay...
Of course. I mean, why wouldn't they? My assumption has always been that Apple will never go back to single-processor high-end machines. It just wouldn't make sense (unless the supply is pathetically low, which is another possible reason for The Switch).

I stand by my "I told ya so". :p The only thing that potentially made IBM's high-end chips seem weak was the assumption that they couldn't get DC chips out the door. The whole "z0mg they still haven't hit 3GHz" argument was always weak, since the G5's clock speed has gone up more than the P4's since its release 2 years ago (I forget the exact numbers, but I think it's something like 35% to 20%). The only difference is that Bill Gates or Mike Dell didn't say they'd have 4.5GHz machines by mid-2004.

I said it before Apple's big announcement and I'll say it again now: The high-end PPC is looking better in comparison to Intel's offerings now than it has in the past half-decade or so.
Well, doesn't this throw an interesting spanner into the works. Although IBM have announced these new chips, I still think in the long-run Intel is still the better option.
Not trolling, but why do people insist that Intel is the better option in the long run? Are there documents that I've missed?

Unless of course Steve's "Big lie" technique. Here is what the Big Lie is:
His primary rules were: never allow the public to cool off; never admit a fault or wrong; never concede that there may be some good in your enemy; never leave room for alternatives; never accept blame; concentrate on one enemy at a time and blame him for everything that goes wrong; people will believe a big lie sooner than a little one; and if you repeat it frequently enough people will sooner or later believe it.
Hm. It's also about cost. If the 2.5 GHz 970MP costs only a little more than the 2.5 GHz 970FX, that's great. Twice the power for the same money. If it costs almost double the price... What would that mean for PowerMac pricing? Let's assume it costs 1.5 times the price of a single core 970FX at the same clock rate. That'd enable Apple to actually _lower_ the price of the entry level machine by giving it one dual-core processor instead of two single core processors (but leaving performance intact at least).

Hm. We'll see.
Viro said:
But I agree a low power variant at 1.6 GHz isn't that exciting. It's going to be barely faster than the 1.67 GHz G4 in the current Powerbooks. So if people were expecting a big jump in performance if/when the Powerbooks are moved to G5, this ain't it.

the key is the FSB. the bus speed in G4 is very bad, compared to the half core speed of the G5 - that's where a 1.6ghz screams louder than a 1.67ghz - more data getting in and out.
Lt Major Burns said:
the key is the FSB. the bus speed in G4 is very bad, compared to the half core speed of the G5 - that's where a 1.6ghz screams louder than a 1.67ghz - more data getting in and out.

You do realize that I almost always harp on about the FSB of the G4?

The thing with the G5 Powerbooks is that they need to provide a significant boost in performance before people will stop complaining about them. In my original post, I said that I do not think that a 1.6 GHz G5 Powerbook is going to be significantly faster than a 1.67 GHz G4. It isn't going to make you go "Wow! That's earth shattering". In fact, you might see some applications take a hit in terms of performance, particularly integer heavy apps.

Based on performance alone, I doubt Apple will bother releasing a G5 Powerbook. But then again, Apple has a habit of surprising me... :)
it would be somewhat of another U-turn to release the G5 PB. afterall, it was half the reason for the intel switch (the other being 3.0GHz), so to bring out the G5 book afterall would be steve jobs eating his words. again. and he appears to have far too much of an ego for that. these processors will be destined for last-of-line G5 models before they all go the way of intel.
Here's my argument why Intel is probably the safest bet:

IBM really did (as someone wrote somewhere on the net, can't remember sorry!) pull a "deus ex machina" and save Apple's rear end from Motorola's apathy when it introduced the 970. Motorola had no incentive to up the clock speed of its PPC chips. Too expensive. Not enough demand. Not enough brainpower. IBM's move was a shocker. Quite positive. But shocking.

So, we have IBM as a supplier. But IBM has suffered Apple through **embarrassing** supply problems that plagued the launch of the iMac G5. And as we've seen, IBM really favors making console processors that don't need to be ramped up in speed.

For now, the G5 is competitive. The question is, Who will save Apple the next time?

Intel has competition, a second source, AMD. If Intel falters in a few years (unlikely), Apple will have an easy transition to AMD chips.

I'm sure Apple is weary of being a slave to IBM and Motorola in the PPC personal computing backwaters. Apple is too hungry and innovative to be dragged down by lagging tech.

I think Apple will _gladly_ release a PowerBook G5 (and get some sales before switching to intel).
um. are the low-power ones dual-core? cus then a 1.6ghz g5 pbook would SH!T all over a g4 1.67ghz.