Originally posted by RBR
That is my point exactly. The 970 is really just something to open the door for the 980. That is not to say it is bad, all indications are that it will be a very worthwhile improvement over what Apple have been using, but that it is a transitional CPU. IBM *really* wants to get the 980 out the door. It is their future, not the 970.
I don't think you can say that any single processor is the future per se. When the 980 ships, the 990 will be the future. When then 990 ships the whatever will be the future. In any way the 970 is an enormous improvement over any current offering that Apple can choose from. It will be mean a huge performance gain, parity or almost parity with the wintel platform (being conservative here) and bragging rights about 64-bitness and so on. So in many ways the 970 is indeed the future for Apple. Then 980 will be more of an evolutionary step no matter how much it pushes performance (that will be quite a lot i recon), while the 970 will bring Apple and the mac back in the performance game. And another advantage is that Apple can tailor the next version of os X spesificially for this processor, while MS has to support a lot of different processors, being both 32 bit and 64 bit, which will take a lot of resources I think.
You are, of course, correct in saying that the 980 is an entirely new processor, not merely a "die shrink" of the 970. However the "die shrink" is an important part of the commercial production process from a cost and production perspective which is probably as important as the technical improvements along the way.
Both die shrink and architectural improvements are equally important in the making of a new chip. New chips has often a lot more transistors making them bigger and hotter. A die shirnk can balance that. However a die shrink of a current processor will only lead to improved speed per increased clock cycle, while an improvement of the arcitechture can add more power per clock cycle. So they are both equally important. Increasing clock speed and reducing heat will be increasingly more difficult as processes get smaller and smaller.
The 970+ is an add-on to the product life cycle as near as I can make out as there were no plans originally to take the 970 to the 90 nm process.
Why not. The 970 is an impressive processor now, and still will be in a year, especially at 2.5 ghz. The 90nm process will make perfect processors for the powerbooks and imacs.
There are several ways of interpreting this and I do not know which one is more probable. It could be that IBM are moving more rapidly than anticipated to the 90 nm process and the 980 will be introduced with than process rather than the planned 130 nm process.
Your probably right about this. But we don't have any exact information about his yet.
This would be very good as it would accelerate the rest of the development process and save some money in the long run. Another possibility is that the 980/Power 5 development is taking longer than anticipated and going to the 970+ is buying some time to work on it. Of course there is a possibility that the two are actually one, that is to say IBM may have had success with the 90 nm process and decided to skip the 980 130 nm step (this is purely speculation), but the production dies for the 90 nm process may take a bit longer to have ready than was projected for the 130 nm process 980 and so they are preparing the 970+ to sort out any issues with the 980 90 nm process as they are working on it.
Not very likely I think. I think they had meant to make the 970+ for a long time. The 970 was a "we have to do it in so-and-so many days", so we take it to the 130nm process because that make it easier and faster. Plus the 90nm facility hasn't been finalized yet, what would have meant a long wait for 970 powermacs for Apple. I think Apple had a hand in a lot of these decisions.
I tend to favor the good news scenarios as IBM seems to be on a roll, but there is always the possibility that they are simply having problems.
Of course. Making modern processors aren't easy, and there could always be problems. But I think IBM is one of the best out there, and I'm fairly confident in them working problems out in a far more "polished" manner than motorola. And they already have made the Power5 which make them almost experts on this processor already. That has to mean a lot when they are making the 980. Well, just had to say a few words here.