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Apple to ship 800MHz Power Mac G4 by year end

Motorola's predictions of Apple's release schedule matches our predictions of Motorola's

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Motorola sources have told MacUser that Apple should be able to release an 800MHz Power Mac G4 by the end of the year - and follow it up with a 1GHz machine sometime during Q1 2001. It's worth pointing out that this is Motorola's schedule, not Apple's, and while the source - and we're pretty sure we know who the fellow is, so it's a safe bet it's based on an official timeline - reckons Apple will have chips available to announce the 800MHz beast at next September's Seybold Conference, that doesn't necessarily mean it will. After all, Apple unveiled the first Power Mac G4s at last year's Seybold, and look how long it's actually taken the company to ship the most powerful machine of the three. To be fair, the delay does appear to have been the fault of Motorola, which now has some honour to rebuild, and pulling out the stops to get the 800MHz chip out for September may be part of just such an exercise. Of course, getting chips to Apple so it can launch a machine is not the same thing as shipping them in volume, so it's best to assume the machine will appear no earlier than mid to late October. And that timeframe neatly meets our own predictions, made last October, of when Motorola's 'G4 Plus' CPU will ship. The spec. described in MacUser closely matches that of the Plus, which is a completely new PowerPC core featuring a deeper instruction pipeline - up from four stages to seven - to allow it to attain clock speeds of 700MHz and up. The Plus will feature 256KB of on-die L2 cache, connected to the L1 cache across a 256 bits wide data channel (up from 64-bits wide). The chip also supports up to 2MB of off-chip L3 cache in backside configuration (in other words, just like the current G4's L2 cache). The architecture will support up to 64GB of main memory thanks to a new 36-bit addressing mode. Chips will be fabbed on a 0.13 micron process, and run at 1.5V for a typical power consumption of 10W (ie. good news for PowerBook buyers). When the G4 Plus was unveiled last October, design lead Naras Iyengar said the chip was geared toward "700MHz and up" operation with "significant headroom for where we want to go", so a 1GHz part is by no means out of the question. That should leave the G4, with the PowerPC's inherent architectural advantages, equivalent to a 1.5GHz Pentium, which is what it's likely to be sold against. Indeed, with not one but two AltiVec vector processing engines on AltiVec-enabled the G4 should fly like the proverbial off a shovel. AltiVec optimisation of MacOS X now taking place in earnest. With January 2001 set as Apple's deadline to ship all Macs with X, the combination of the 1GHz G4 and a well-optimised OS, should leave Apple with a very fast box indeed. Assuming, of course, Motorola can deliver... ® Related Stories Motorola speeds PowerPC to compete on clock speed Apple hit by 'PowerPC G4 can't reach 500MHz' bug Second-stage PowerPC G4 details emerge Motorola, IBM - cold warriors Motorola slammed with PPC G4 supply limitation allegations

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