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Dual-core IBM PowerPC 'to ship in single-core form'

Standalone part - or a dualie with one dud core?

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IBM's dual-core G5-class PowerPC processor, codenamed 'Antares', is to ship alongside a single-core version, if sources cited by Think Secret are to be believed.

The PowerPC 970GX - aka 'Antares SP' - will essentially succeed today's single-core part, the 970FX, the sources claim, but will provide double that chip's on-die L2 cache to 1MB.

Like the dual-core Antares - likely to ship as the 970MP - the 970GX will clock at frequencies of up to 3GHz. At this stage it's not clear whether the 970GX is a true single-core implementation of the 970MP - or simply IBM's way of selling 970MPs that contain a dud core.

Think Secret's sources point to a Q1/Q2 2005 introduction - which would mean the chip would debut a year after the 970FX's introduction. The 970MP has been given a similar timeframe for entering volume production.

Meanwhile, erstwhile Motorola chip division Freescale is continuing work on the G4-class MPC7448, its first 90nm PowerPC chip. Launched last October, the chip contains 1MB of L2 cache, clocks at 1.5GHz and up, and is said by the company to consume significantly less power than its 130nm predecessors.

Apple last updated its PowerBook laptop line in April. The 7448 is due to sample H1 2005, according to Freescale's official timeline, but the word on the grapevine is that the part will appear next year sooner rather than later, possibly in time to refresh the PowerBook line next Spring. ®

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