Feeds

Big Blue backs PowerPC G4 with production deal

IBM to second-source G4s for Apple -- Jobs breathes major sigh of relief...

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The essential guide to IT transformation

IBM made a surprise comeback to the desktop PowerPC market yesterday, when it was announced -- albeit by Apple -- that Big Blur would be fabbing PowerPC 7400 (aka G4) CPUs. It's not yet clear whether this is simply a little arm-twisting on Apple's part to get IBM to produce extra chips, or whether this is a commitment on the IT giant's part to the G4. Back in July 1998, IBM pulled out of its partnership with Motorola in the development of PowerPC chips for the desktop PC market, choosing instead to concentrate on processor for the server and embedded markets. At the time, one of the reasons for the break-up was Motorola's advocacy of AltiVec, its vector processing system that rivals Intel's Screaming SIMD Extensions technology. Motorola was keen on competing with Intel, IBM felt that the technology didn't have much of a role in the markets it was interested so it had no interest in developing AltiVec or supporting it in its chips. And, lo, there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth at Motorola. With hindsight, IBM's move was ill-judged, but it certainly made sense at the time. By the end of 1998, the two companies had made up, and IBM was saying it could well support AltiVec at a future date, maybe, perhaps... What has made IBM's move away from AltiVec seem the wrong call is the company's more recent contract with Nintendo to create a PowerPC chip for the games business' next-generation console, codenamed Dolphin. Nintendo's console is being designed to compete with the Sony PlayStation 2, which is based on a Sony-Toshiba designed CPU, the Emotion Engine, which has its own vector processing system... So suddenly IBM needs the very technology it spurned 18-odd months ago. Part of the deal to get may well have centred on a commitment to produce G4 CPUs, which is great news for Apple, at least in the medium term. The Mac maker will have to wait until sometime in the first half of 2000 for IBM to get the volumes up. Getting IBM in on the act could also provide a boost to the G4's clock speed, provided the company applies its silicon-on-insulator process technology to the chip. Indeed, it could even offer parts at higher clock frequencies than Motorola, which could shift Apple's allegiance away from an operation it has already publicly criticised for its inability to ship sufficient volumes of 7400s. Now that is going to make for some interesting Mac market politics. ®

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

More from The Register

next story
Microsoft exits climate denier lobby group
ALEC will have to do without Redmond, it seems
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
Barnes & Noble: Swallow a Samsung Nook tablet, please ... pretty please
Novelslab finally on sale with ($199 - $20) price tag
Ballmer leaves Microsoft board to spend more time with his b-balls
From Clippy to Clippers: Hi, I see you're running an NBA team now ...
Kate Bush: Don't make me HAVE CONTACT with your iPHONE
Can't face sea of wobbling fondle implements. What happened to lighters, eh?
Video of US journalist 'beheading' pulled from social media
Yanked footage featured British-accented attacker and US journo James Foley
Amazon takes swipe at PayPal, Square with card reader for mobes
Etailer plans to undercut rivals with low transaction fee offer
Assange™: Hey world, I'M STILL HERE, ignore that Snowden guy
Press conference: ME ME ME ME ME ME ME (cont'd pg 94)
Call of Duty daddy considers launching own movie studio
Activision Blizzard might like quality control of a CoD film
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?