Sorry, I had to grab your attention by means of the title. I promise you this is a good read, though! I wrote an article expressing my observations and opinions on the state of the PowerPC 970/970FX/970MP and the Power Mac G5s. It is titled "Apple and IBM on Tightropes." Comments, corrections, etc. are welcome. Edit: Oh, I forgot. I have to thank settledown and Jimmie for their assistance in writing this article. Cheers. Apple and IBM on Tightropes Their future roadmap may have them lagging behind or leap computing forward When information on the original PowerPC 970 was leaked at Microprocessor Forum in 2002, we all knew Apple had to take advantage of the new processor. Fast forward a few months, they announced single processor 1.6 GHz and 1.8 GHz Power Mac G5s alongside with the world's fastest Personal Computer, the dual 2.0 GHz Power Mac G5. All of them utilize the original PowerPC 970 processor which were on the 130nm process and with 512 KB of L2 cache per processor. Apple also announced that they would have a 3.0 GHz PowerPC 970 within a year. Later in 2003, they replaced their mid-range single processor 1.8 GHz edition with a 1.8 GHz dual processor edition due to rising demands of 2.0 GHz dual processor in hopes to reduce the demand for the already-scarce 2.0 GHz PowerPC 970 processor. Seven months later, in January 2004, the PowerPC 970FX processor appeared in the newly-released Xserve G5s. Many had already speculated that due to the PowerPC 970FX's smaller die, they would run cooler and thus have higher clock speed potential. We were prepared to see even faster Power Mac G5s that year. We were right, it was inevitable. Nearly a year after the orignal Power Mac G5s made their debut, they finally updated the entire Power Mac G5 product line. This time, they dropped the single processor edition in favor for an all-dual processor line. The line ran at 1.8 GHz, 2.0 GHz and a whopping 2.5 GHz. Unfortunately, Apple never reached the 3.0 GHz goal, citing problems in transitioning to the 90nm process. This was understandable, as IBM was not alone in the problem. Intel and AMD too had problems transitioning to the 90nm process. Complaints about the lack of a low end Power Mac G5 stirred. Apple decided to reintroduce the single processor edition at 1.8 GHz. These machines were great for people who preferred expansion over the limited form factor of the iMac G5, which also includes the PowerPC 970FX processors. Only a few months after the new Power Mac G5s were released out in the wild, there were already news about a new dual core PowerPC 970, dubbed the PowerPC 970MP. For what it was worth, all we knew about it were: dual cores, 1 MB of L2 cache per core and it is planned to be in production sometime in 2005. The current Power Mac G5 lineup is ten months old. Its future is uncertain. IBM leaked some information about the PowerPC 970MP thermal diodes, implying that the PowerPC 970MP is already in production and ready. This is the dual core edition of the PowerPC 970 family. ThinkSecret recently released specifications from a "reliable" source, and from what it looks like, the new Power Mac G5s will still have the 970FX processors. They noted the L2 cache would still be 512KB. This is disconcerting because it's a small speed bump. 10 months and only 200 MHz? This definitely will cause Apple and IBM to lag behind others, badly. However, there are chances that ThinkSecret is incorrect and the new Power Mac G5s will actually have the PowerPC 970MPs. No one knows at which speeds the new PowerPC 970 MPs will run; but my best guess for the upcomping Power Mac G5s is at minimum a single dual-core processor 1.8 GHz edition, with dual dual-core processor editions running at 2.0 GHz, 2.3 GHz and 2.8 GHz. Yes, I said dual dual-core as in two processors with two cores each! This will leap computing forward in terms bigger than anyone can imagine. Apple, along with IBM, must go dual-core. AMD and Intel already announced their dual-core processor roadmap and they're all slated for this year. If Apple and IBM don't release the dual-core PowerPC 970MP as soon as possible, they won't have the chance of being the first and sweeping the computing world. They also won't have anything for another several months, due to their marketing model. They don't release new computers as quickly as the PC world. If they don't move to the dual core PowerPC 970MPs, they will lag behind because the next Power Mac update would be late 2005 at the earliest. AMD and Intel will have beaten them by then. As I am an optimist, I'm going to have to go with dual core Power Mac G5s for the next update. We'll have to wait and see.