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Motorola unveils low-power PowerPC G4 Plus

But PPC 7440 too power-hungry for PowerBooks

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Updated Motorola yesterday extended its PowerPC processor line, with a low-power version of its top-end PowerPC 7450, aka the G4 Plus.

The new chip, called the PPC 7440, cuts the core voltage to 1.5V (the 7450 runs at 1.8V). The upshot is that the chip draws less power: 11.4W at 600MHz, compared to the 7450's 14W at 533MHz, Motorola claimed.

The 7440 will initially ship at 600MHz and 700MHz. It contains 256KB of on-die L2 cache, like the 7450, but lacks the latter's external L3 cache support. It supports a 133MHz frontside bus.

The low-power version of the G4, the PowerPC 7410, consumes 5W at 500MHz, its maximum clock speed. Clearly, that's less than half the 7440's consumption for only 100MHz clock speed difference, so don't expect Apple to rush out and switch all of its best-selling PowerBook G4 models over to the new CPU just yet.

That said, Apple's so far behind on raw megahertz, it will probably ship a high-end notebook that sacrifices battery life for clock speed. From what we've Apple staffers have told us about the machine's Titanium casing, which is part of the computer's cooling system, the 7440's higher heat output shouldn't be too much of a problem. Assuming, of course, the PowerBook can cope with a 133MHz system bus.

The 7440 is set to sample in Q3 and ship in volume in Q4. The 700MHz part is priced at $159, when bought in batches of 10,000. Intel's current 700MHz Low-Voltage Mobile Pentium III costs $316, for comparison. ®

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