Big Blue’s parting shot to Apple: Dual-core Power PC chips

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The International Business Machines Corp has announced the details of its first dual-core chip for the PowerPC processor. Big Blue made this announcement at the ongoing Power Everywhere show in Tokyo on Thursday.

The chips code-named as ‘Antares’ are officially the PowerPC 970MP and are the dual core versions of IBM’s PowerPC 970FX. The chip clocks speeds ranging from 1.4GHz to 2.5GHz. Each core has its own 1MB of Level 2 cache and has been introduced in power-saving models as well. A unique feature of this power saving is the fact that if users are not working on high-end data applications, they can simply shift one core to a ‘doze’ state and continue to work with the other core. This chip is aimed at servicing entry-level servers as well as the embedded market. However, IBM has not disclosed the price range of these chips.

Apple is reportedly considering using the chip in its Power Mac G5 machines. However, this could be the last IBM product to adorn the Mac since Apple is shifting its products to Intel. In an apparent snub to the Cupertino, Calif-based Company, IBM announced a low-power version of its PowerPC 970FX chip. This chip uses just 13W at 1.4GHz frequency and 16W at 1.6GHz. The chip also boasts of power-packed features that can dynamically lower power consumption. This was Apple’s main concern when deciding to have Intel inside. However, Rod Adkins, vice president IBM’s Systems and Technology Group had dismissed these claims, “There’s nothing about Power architecture that limits you in any way in terms of power management or power efficiency,” he had noted.

IBM also uses the PowerPC chips in its Blue Gene supercomputer. IBM also announced the Open Power Project in Tokyo. This project seeks to work with IT professionals and developers who are engaged in Linux products.