Let me also add that this is only the *beginning* for this new line or processor from IBM. I'm sure we'll see additional compiler optimizations and applications developers willing to take advantage of the CPU's features.
I also remember Steve Jobs mentioning that the 970's were built for massive parallelism in mind -- full SMP support. I then remember him mentioning that the powermacs have 2 processors and that it's only the beginning ... or something to that effect. Perhaps someone here can recall what Jobs said about SMP. I may have gotten it wrong.
As far as the Opterons go... I just don't see them hitting the CompUSAs and CircuitCity type outlets any time soon, but considering how much trouble AMD has been having with getting their tech to market, it does make you wonder just how much longer they can keep pushing the envelope.. the same goes for Intel. This CPU war has caused them to push harder and faster in a race to bring the fastest CPUs to market as quickly as possible no matter what the cost. How much further does either company have with respect to pushing the envelope? Remember, Intel was working on the Itanium for a VERY long time. I suspect that they saw the end of the x86 line coming sooner than they would have hoped -- that's probably why they started the project. Now AMD goes and brings out AMD-X86-64 -- x86-64 is something that Intel *didn't* want to have to deal with. I can't imagine how it will pan out for the Wintelon crowd. I don't think they've been thinking about those types of problems.