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Apple utility 'confirms' dual-core PowerPC chip

IBM's G5-class PowerPC 970MP drawing near?

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Tantalising evidence of upcoming Macs based on the rumoured G5-class dual-core PowerPC 970MP - aka 'Antares' - has surfaced in the latest iteration of Apple's developer tools.

MONster, a utility included with Apple's Computer Hardware Understanding Developer (CHUD) kit, contains a direct reference to a "YPPC 970MP" buried within its binary code. MONster is used to track how a CPU processes code, the better to pinpoint performance issues caused by the iteration of code and processor.

According to an Everything Apple report, using the grep utility to search the version of MONster in CHUD 4.1.0 for the phrase "970MP" yields the following: "MONster.nib/keyedobjects.nib:879:71755:YPPC 970MP".

IBM's development of the 970MP first emerged in July 2004. The chip is believed to contain two PowerPC 970 cores each with its own Velocity Engine SIMD unit and 1MB of L2 cache, up from the current 970FX's 512KB, but still without L3 cache support. The 970FX is used by Apple in the Power Mac G5 and iMac G5 desktops and its Xserve G5 server.

The 970MP will clock initially at 3GHz with a 1GHz frontside bus, and feature an updated version of the 970FX's PowerTune power management system, which was designed to synchronise across processors, which suits it well to dual-core CPUs. The 13.23 x 11.63mm part is not expected to be pin-compatible with existing 970 and 970FX chips.

More recently, it has emerged that the 970MP will launch alongside the 970GX - a single-core version of the processor. A mention of the as-yet-unannounced 970GX recently appeared on IBM's website, although the company was quick to remove it and claim that it was all a mistake. The company has not publicly confirmed the 970GX or the 970MP. ®

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