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IBM's Power5 is Coming

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
50,970
12,476
News.com reports that IBM has successfully tested one of the upcoming Power5 processors, and the results appear promising:

On business computing tasks, the Power5 will be able to perform four times the work of the existing Power4 processor, Zeitler said. IBM introduced the first Power4 systems in late 2001.

The PowerPC 970 -- a Power4-derivative chip -- is expected later this year. Previous rumors suggest that a similar derivative Power5 chip is in the works.
 

adamcoop

macrumors regular
Feb 10, 2002
122
0
Canberra, Australia
Wouldn't be so sweet if in, say, 2 years, a Power5 derivative runs our PowerMacs and PowerBooks, while the 970 becomes chip inside the consumer machines..

And the Wintel world would be wondering what went wrong, 6 months after x86 reaches the end of its life.
 
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esome

macrumors member
Apr 2, 2002
41
0
chase one dream with another

great. we're drooling over the power 5 now and the toned-down version of the power 4 that we _hope_ will be in Macs sometime in early 2004 (maybe) is still a pipe dream. :rolleyes:
 
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bentmywookie

macrumors regular
Nov 6, 2002
155
0
Palo Alto
Power5 also has better error detection and correction than its predecessor. It will be able to run more operating systems simultaneously in separate "partitions." And unlike Power4, Power5 will be designed not only for high-end servers but also for lower-end systems.

Sounds good to me!
 
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MacQuest

macrumors 6502a
Jan 18, 2003
902
0
You See Dead People...
Originally posted by adamcoop
That was said about last year though.
Oh well...

If you were referring to my post:

Last year did prove to be exciting due to the the flat panel iMac, Xserve, and the continued success of the iPod, OS X, PowerBooks, iBooks, and the Apple Stores.

I am currently referring to the future of Apple's desktops along with any other little hardware and software surprises they may have in store for us.:)

This year is going to be a ramp up to an even better '04.

Officially, the 20th Anniversary of the Mac!!
 
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macphoria

macrumors 6502a
Nov 29, 2002
594
0
As long as they end in Macs. I'm just glad I hear Apple and IBM in same sentence more often than Apple and Motorola.
 
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macphoria

macrumors 6502a
Nov 29, 2002
594
0
-----I don't care until there is an actual 970 based Mac that I can touch, cherish, and buy.

Shouldn't you buy first then cherish? ;-) Just teasing. I agree. As I mentioned, I want this 970 to end up in a Mac, instead of some Slorola G4 variation. G5 rumors have gone long enough. It is time for G5, 970, to materialize.
 
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Swift

macrumors 68000
Feb 18, 2003
1,763
922
Los Angeles
Power5 is coming

I have it on good authority that not only will this happen before the end of the year, but it will blow your socks off, and there's a several-year development plan already in operation. Starting very soon, it'll be back to the days when the G3 COULD toast the Pentium II. And that's just the beginning.
 
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Eric_Z

macrumors regular
Jan 15, 2003
118
4
simultaneous multithreading?

Will it be featured in the succesor to 970?

I know that it's a bit early to start dreaming about it now but having a CPU with the abilety to act as a twin core CPU with only one physical core just makes me drool.


For further info see here. (Not exactly the latest info, but what the hey...)
 
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jettredmont

macrumors 68030
Jul 25, 2002
2,725
327
Reality Check

The Power5 is expected in its first computer (Armada, a 64-CPU SMP system) in the first half of 2004. As such quarter/half targets go, that generally means we'll see it around June, 2004. With the Power4, we are seeing about a 2-year delay between the high-end server variant and the desktop derivative. That would put the "980" (or whatever) in June, 2006. That's the "upper limit", as unlike the Power4, the Power5 is reportedly being designed with high-end, low-end, and desktop variants (not derivatives) in mind. Still, I'd be surprised to see it affordable and in a desktop Mac less than a year after its Armada debut (June 2005).

Also, performance details are sketchy. "4 times as fast" can mean a lot of things. First, the Power5 reportedly supports simultaneous multithreading, which is related to Intel's "hyperthreading", but non-marketing-infested and IBM claims its implementation is an order of magnitude more efficient. IBM claims one processor truly acts as two (a 100% speedup) instead of as 1.2 as in Intel's implementation. If running "deep machine code" at four times the current Power4, I suspect that the Power5 is getting half of this gain (2x faster) just via simultaneous multithreading on highly-tuned code. I for one don't fully believe the claims of 100% performance improvement with a good SMT implementation, and expect that that component of the "speedup" will be closer to 1.5-1.75x instead of 2x.

Second, in pure performance/core terms, the 970 is getting SPEC numbers on a single core that the Power4 requires two cores to get as is. A dual-core 970 would theoretically then be about 1.5-1.75x as fast as an existing Power4. But, that having been said, we won't be seeing (as far as I can tell) a dual-core 980 either; the 980 will be closer to equal to 1/1.5 (2/3 or 67%) of the performance of the Power5 with dual cores, aside from any other compromises that might be introduced along the way for cost and production quantity reasons.

Thus, in "real world" terms, I don't expect 970->980 performance increase to be more than around 2x to 3x on the high end (1.5x-2x on the low end), and that over the space of two (or possibly three) years. Roughly consistent with Moore's Law.

So, guys, don't get your panties in a tizzy. The Wintel world occasionally gets ahead of itself like this as well, drooling over Itanium-3 numbers that likely will not end up nearly as impressive when the processor is out. But they're more used to it than us. It's good to finally have a server processor line related to our Macs, and certainly will be providing more of a push for performance than Moto was ever able to pull together. But don't expect true 4x improvement over the 970 a year from now!
 
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jettredmont

macrumors 68030
Jul 25, 2002
2,725
327
Re: Power5 is coming

Originally posted by Swift
I have it on good authority that not only will this happen before the end of the year, but it will blow your socks off, and there's a several-year development plan already in operation. Starting very soon, it'll be back to the days when the G3 COULD toast the Pentium II. And that's just the beginning.

Well, IBM generally is more open with its development plans than, say, Apple. When IBM says its Power5 will debut first-half of 2004, that generally means it will debut first-half of 2004 (which more often than not means June, 2004).

Recheck your sources. It is not likely that IBM will be surprising the world with a Power5 in December, 2003 (or before).

970, now that should happen 2H 2003... Maybe that's what you're thinking of.
 
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sergeantmudd

macrumors member
Apr 21, 2002
33
0
The 970 is not as fast as two Power4 cores

I don't know how to quote, but a comment a few ones up says that the 970 gets almost the same score as a Power4 chip with two cores. Unforunately, SpecInt and SpecFp do not take multiple cores into consideration. So every spec mark only relates to one core, which is why the Power4 really does outclass every other chip. To be fair though, each core on the Power4 would get lower Spec score if both were used because the chip would have an effective .75 mb cache instead of an effect 1.5 mb cache.
 
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Frobozz

macrumors 65816
Jul 24, 2002
1,138
76
South Orange, NJ
Power 5 in Nuclear Simulators

New.com report states: The processor will be used in a nuclear weapons simulation supercomputer at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. That machine, called ASCI Purple, is slated to use 12,544 Power5 chips

Holy cr*p. I can't even speculate how much power that is. Does anyone know how many Petaflops this thing can do with 12,544 Power 4's? Cause if you do, multiply that number by 4.

I reiterate, HOLY CR*P.
 
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Mr. MacPhisto

macrumors 6502
Jan 16, 2003
281
0
I still have some contacts inside IBM and they've indicated to me that a desktop derivative will be available to Apple by the Fall of 2004, one year after the PPC 970 is available. A chip for a laptop could be out by early '05.

The reason the 970 took two years from the intro of the Power4 was because there wasn't a need. Two years ago Apple was still happy with Motorola and expected the G5. Last year is when Apple approached IBM and they increased work on what would become the PPC970. Now that IBM knows someone will buy the chips (and they will use them themselves in lower-end servers), they will invest more $$$ and time in preparing the scaled down Power5.

Knowing IBM and their amazing R&D, I'd say that Apple is in for quite a ride over the next few years and should consistently pound Intel chips in performance by this time next year. OS X will likely also increase in efficiency, especially when the Power5 derivative is introduced.
 
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trebblekicked

macrumors 6502a
Dec 30, 2002
896
0
Chicago, IL, USA
Re: Power 5 in Nuclear Simulators

Originally posted by Frobozz
Holy cr*p. I can't even speculate how much power that is. Does anyone know how many Petaflops this thing can do with 12,544 Power 4's? Cause if you do, multiply that number by 4.

I reiterate, HOLY CR*P.

dude, that's nothing. i've got a gateway destination p2 350 with 96 megs of RAM. i'll take on any nuclear weapons wargames simulator any day of the week (except monday and tuesday. it defrags those days).
 
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Frobozz

macrumors 65816
Jul 24, 2002
1,138
76
South Orange, NJ
Re: Reality Check

Originally posted by jettredmont
With the Power4, we are seeing about a 2-year delay between the high-end server variant and the desktop derivative. That would put the "980" (or whatever) in June, 2006. That's the "upper limit"...

However, since they've already done the Power4 -> 970 conversion, perhaps a Power5 -> 980 conversion would be shorter. They may learn a lot about the process. However, just because a chip is available, doesn't mean Apple will use it. If they are getting yields of the 970's running at 3.6+ GHz in 2 years (double intro speed?), I would assume they'd milk it until it's dry. After all, once they eek out enough performance from the 970, they can migrate it to lower end systems, cost permitting, and slap in a 980 in the high end. Given how long the G4 has lived in the mac (too long), I think mid 2006 would be the best targets for Apple adopting it in some fashion.

Good insight, BTW. It's nice to read a comment that's more than "cool, gimme now."
 
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DavPeanut

macrumors 6502
Jun 5, 2002
272
0
Maryland
Re: Power 5 in Nuclear Simulators

Originally posted by Frobozz
Holy cr*p. I can't even speculate how much power that is. Does anyone know how many Petaflops this thing can do with 12,544 Power 4's? Cause if you do, multiply that number by 4.

I reiterate, HOLY CR*P.
Thats at least 3 Petaflops. Thats 15 million DP 1.42 Ghz G4s! Thats crazy! I want one! I could render full length Pixar-style movies at like 3 every 2 minutes or so!
 
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DavPeanut

macrumors 6502
Jun 5, 2002
272
0
Maryland
Re: Re: Power 5 in Nuclear Simulators

Originally posted by trebblekicked
dude, that's nothing. i've got a gateway destination p2 350 with 96 megs of RAM. i'll take on any nuclear weapons wargames simulator any day of the week (except monday and tuesday. it defrags those days).
What, thats all? I have a TI-83+ graphing calculator. Oh, and get this. My school has a bunch of TI-81 graphing calculators. They'll bet you any day at graphing y=x.

Or maybe only the days your computer is Defraging.
 
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