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Motorola developing dual-core PowerPC G4, MPC 7447A successor

post #1 of 60
Thread Starter 
Three new PowerPC microprocessors under development at Motorola could provide Apple with additional options for forthcoming revisions its PowerBook product-line, assuming that the company is unable to deliver a PowerBook G5 by year's end.

Freescale, Motorola's soon to be spun-off chip division, is expected to debut its dual-core PowerPC G4 processor at the Microprocessor Forum in San Jose, CA, in October.

According to documents received by The Register, the new G4 will contain two PowerPC cores with AltiVec and expected to feature an on-board memory controller capable of supporting DDR 2 SDRAM, a Gigabit Ethernet controller, Rapid IO bus, and eventually run at speeds in excess of 2GHz.

Freescale's PowerPC Roadmap

The new chip will reportedly be a member of Freescale's e600 series, and the company is also working on a G5-style e700 processor that combines 32-bit and 64-bit operation.

The Register speculates that the dual core chip may pave the way for a future PowerBook G4, if Apple is unable to solve its G5 PowerBook complex in a reasonable amount of time.

Additionally, the article also confirms rumors that Motorola is working on successor to the MPC 7447A--the chip used in the most current PowerBook G4 systems--which AppleInsider sources have previously referred to as the "G4 extended" chip. This chip is rumored to reach speeds of 2G GHz, but is yet unnamed.
post #2 of 60
I will prefer this chip (dual core G4 with on board memory controller) to a G5. I am ready to bet, that this chip, will be very performant.

Good news (if he ship in time ....)
post #3 of 60
Wow, if true, this'll be one kick-ass mother, unless the timing is less than perfect (knowing Motorola, this is almost certain to happen anyways). I wonder if it will be cool enough to put in a laptop, where Apple's biggest need is right now.
post #4 of 60
Wow...there are still people that have faith in Motorola?

I'll believe it when I have a dual-core PowerBook sitting on my lap without causing skin to turn black and flake off...and not a second sooner.

I really hope Freescale succeeds though. Always better to have two CPU suppliers than one. But these over-joyous posts about a product that is still considered vaporware *and* coming from a company that has gathered a bad rep as far as processor development goes is really funny.
post #5 of 60
what about the bus speed?
the G4 was never able to get past the 167MHz mark. the G5 tops out at 1.25GHz bus. who cares how fast it is, if it still has a bottleneck like this.

my 2 cents.

-dornball
post #6 of 60
Firs question is how free is Freescale from Moto. It they are operating without Moto's guidance ( ) then this chip has a chance.

Dual core G4s would be great for a bridge chip until the G5 can be put into a PB and would also keep the iBook and eMac moving right along for quite a while.

If it performs it will also be a stick goading IBM into working hard on their roadmap.

Personally I believe that Apple's switch to IBM for the G5 is a very strong motivation for Freescale to perform like the old Moto hasn't for years. It should be good news over the next few years.
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post #7 of 60
Quote:
Originally posted by dornball
what about the bus speed?
the G4 was never able to get past the 167MHz mark. the G5 tops out at 1.25GHz bus. who cares how fast it is, if it still has a bottleneck like this.

my 2 cents.

-dornball

The article clearly states that the chip will support DDR 2 RAM, with an on-board memory controller. This is very good, and better than the 1.25 GHz bus the G5 has to offer. I just wonder if it the memory controller is single or dual channel.
post #8 of 60
Quote:
Originally posted by Zapchud
The article clearly states that the chip will support DDR 2 RAM, with an on-board memory controller. This is very good, and better than the 1.25 GHz bus the G5 has to offer. I just wonder if it the memory controller is single or dual channel.

Again...on lap...or on desktop.
post #9 of 60
Quote:
Originally posted by Zapchud
The article clearly states that the chip will support DDR 2 RAM, with an on-board memory controller. This is very good, and better than the 1.25 GHz bus the G5 has to offer. I just wonder if it the memory controller is single or dual channel.

wow! ok, thanks for clearing that up, Zapchud.

-dornball
post #10 of 60
These are interesting options. Apple could go with a e600 based platform for the Powerbooks in 2005 and wait until 65nm before moving the G5 into portables.

Consumers wouldn't mind as the Powerbooks are G4 to this day and that's not keeping them from buying them up. I like the SoC features of the Freescale chips. I'd like to see the Powerbooks go dual core and then when the dual core G5s are ready for Powerbooks you can move the e600 chips down to the iBook/eMac.

Aug 1, 2006

Powermac- G5 Dual Cores from 2.6Ghz to 3.6Ghz
iMac- G5 Dual Core 2-2.4Ghz
Powerbook- G5 Dual Core 1.8- 2.2Ghz
iBook- e600 Dual Core 2Ghz
eMac- e600 Dual Core 1.8Ghz
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post #11 of 60
Quote:
Originally posted by kim kap sol
Again...on lap...or on desktop.

I'm guessing that you can't have it in a laptop in dual core version, unless you want your penis fried. We'll have to see about that, but I think this chip has good potential for lower-end desktop offerings, like the eMac and the iMac.

Hopefully, it'll be cool enough for a laptop.
post #12 of 60
I'd bet Mot has much better luck building a low-power chip than IBM has (their designs are generally regarded as beautiful; it's fabrication where they've historically fallen down, and Crolles 2 fixes that). For one thing, if all's gone well (and no news has emerged that they've fallen behind, for once) they're using a more sophisticated 90nm process than IBM is, which should reduce leakage current and lower overall wattage. The G4 core is long since hand-tweaked to avoid hot spots and run cool. Also, Apple can throttle the clockspeed when/if heat or power become a concern. An on-die memory controller will take care of the worst of the G4's two main performance bottlenecks (the other is its nice but lonely FPU). The dual-core design will take all CPU-to-CPU traffic off the bus and run it across a very fast, very low latency on-chip bus, so between that and the faster "bus" off the memory controller we should see significantly more efficient SMP (well, OK, SMC) performance than in the dual G4s of yore.

I have a lot of hope for this. If this is the CPU that goes into the PowerBooks, PowerBooks will own except for the cases where single-core FPU performance is critical — and then it'll only look bad relative to 14 pound "schleptop" P4s.
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post #13 of 60
Quote:
Originally posted by Powerdoc
I will prefer this chip (dual core G4 with on board memory controller) to a G5.

I bet Apple won't since e600 is no 64 bit processor. Apple have pretty much equated the G5 with 64 bit processing. The e700 on the other hand..
post #14 of 60
Quote:
Originally posted by Henriok
I bet Apple won't since e600 is no 64 bit processor. Apple have pretty much equated the G5 with 64 bit processing. The e700 on the other hand..

I don't know a single application turning under a laptop, that need 64 bit processing.
Marketing have his own reasons, but sometimes logic and wisdom should prevail. G3 and G4 have co-existed for years, I don't see why it will not continue with G4 and G5.
It's the case in the Intel word with the Pentium mobile chip and the prescott.
post #15 of 60
Quote:
Originally posted by Amorph
... Crolles 2 fixes that).
... they're using a more sophisticated 90nm process than IBM is, which should reduce leakage current and lower overall wattage.

I have a lot of hope for this. If this is the CPU that goes into the PowerBooks, PowerBooks will own except for the cases where single-core FPU performance is critical — and then it'll only look bad relative to 14 pound "schleptop" P4s.

Even as uneducated in cpu technology as I am, a dual core G4 with an on board memory controller sounds good/great to me. I do question whether Crolles is quite up to speed yet. If they were, how come the MPC8540 and MPC8560 still aren't available for purchase? I know these aren't desktop cpu's, but they were supposed to be out a long time ago, what is it up to now, over a year late?

Could you elaborate on your statement that "they're using a more sophisticated 90nm process than IBM? How is Freescale reducing leakage current and lower overal wattage compared to IBM?

If available soon enough, I would think a 2.0+GHz G4 with a dual core and on die memory controller would be acceptable in more than just laptops. The Cossbar switch and RapidI/O Motorola has for so long described reached almost mythical status during previous discussions on this forum and over at Arestechnica. As far as floating point, if I remember correctly, the G4's floating point on a per MHz/GHz basis is actually quite good, Motorola just never kept up in the GHz department and stuck with just one floating point unit( I apologize in advance if my memory is faulty).

Anyway, I guess is, better late than never.
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post #16 of 60
I love the idea of this chip. I hope they can produce it in quanities that Apple needs. It would be great for the 'Books. The integrated memory controller would solve the main issue with the G4. The rest of the G4 is a very good chip especially for portables. This should match up better with the Intel's Dothan chips.
post #17 of 60
Quote:
Originally posted by hmurchison
These are interesting options. Apple could go with a e600 based platform for the Powerbooks in 2005 and wait until 65nm before moving the G5 into portables.

...

Aug 1, 2006

Powermac- G5 Dual Cores from 2.6Ghz to 3.6Ghz
iMac- G5 Dual Core 2-2.4Ghz
Powerbook- G5 Dual Core 1.8- 2.2Ghz
iBook- e600 Dual Core 2Ghz
eMac- e600 Dual Core 1.8Ghz

Oh, that's funny. IBM (nor anyone else yet, it seems) still can't get 90nm to work reliably, and you're already expecting 65nm around the corner!

Oh, and I can't believe you have us waiting another two years before we see the G5 get to 3.6GHz? This is going to cause another round of "Oh, how apple has fallen behind" stories.
post #18 of 60
Hehe...on this very forum 5 years ago, there were people posting articles of companies thinking they could reach 20GHz by 2004 through some new fabrication process.
post #19 of 60
Quote:
Originally posted by rickag
Even as uneducated in cpu technology as I am, a dual core G4 with an on board memory controller sounds good/great to me. I do question whether Crolles is quite up to speed yet. If they were, how come the MPC8540 and MPC8560 still aren't available for purchase? I know these aren't desktop cpu's, but they were supposed to be out a long time ago, what is it up to now, over a year late?

I don't actually know. If they're 130nm CPUs, that would explain why — 130nm was Motorola's last process in their own fab, and it was by far their most star-crossed.

They could also be delayed for other reasons. The 85xx series seems to have been something of a dud.

Quote:
Could you elaborate on your statement that "they're using a more sophisticated 90nm process than IBM? How is Freescale reducing leakage current and lower overal wattage compared to IBM?

Sure. They (and AMD, who've licensed Mot's process tech) are using the same list of process technologies (copper interconnects, SOI, the so-called "Black Diamond" low-k dielectric, which will go a long way to reduce leakage) that turned the 1GHz 7455 into the 1.42GHz 7455A when they applied them to the 180nm node, and which enabled the 7447 to reach 1.5GHz at much lower wattage when Mot finally succeeded at applying them to 130nm. Freescale and AMD both have said that their 90nm chips will be made with all these process technologies. Neither IBM nor Intel applies anything so sophisticated to their 90nm fabrication; instead, they tried to get out of the gate early.

Quote:
If available soon enough, I would think a 2.0+GHz G4 with a dual core and on die memory controller would be acceptable in more than just laptops. The Cossbar switch and RapidI/O Motorola has for so long described reached almost mythical status during previous discussions on this forum and over at Arestechnica. As far as floating point, if I remember correctly, the G4's floating point on a per MHz/GHz basis is actually quite good, Motorola just never kept up in the GHz department and stuck with just one floating point unit( I apologize in advance if my memory is faulty).

Yes, the G4's FPU is quite nice, and its integer capability is formidable enough to easily handle the sort of integer work that tends to accompany FP code (e.g., array indexing) so that the FPU stays busy. It's just that there's only one.

It should be a solid scalar FP contender. AltiVec code will also be able to break through the "glass ceiling" imposed by the narrow MaxBus, and one core should be able to best the G5 (handily, in some applications) clock for clock.

Note that the Register says there'll also be a follow-on single core G4, basically just a better version of what's available now. That should be great in iBooks and eMacs.
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post #20 of 60
Quote:
Oh, that's funny. IBM (nor anyone else yet, it seems) still can't get 90nm to work reliably, and you're already expecting 65nm around the corner!

Oh, and I can't believe you have us waiting another two years before we see the G5 get to 3.6GHz? This is going to cause another round of "Oh, how apple has fallen behind" stories.

Louzer,
IBMs problems are heat and yields. The problem is likely fixed but now that they are months behind in yielding that doesn't help Apple ship iMac G5s today but people are making far too much of an issue of 90nm than they should. IBM should be fine by Q1 2005. Parallel development should be going on right regarding 65nm. As Amorph stated above there are ways to fab at 90nm that are more sophisticated than what we're getting today. The use of strained silicon, low-k dialectics and other tech(eFuse) will play a difference in fabbing future projects.

As for the 3.6Ghz. I'm being conservative but I don't expect IBM to be much higher in two years. We'll have 2 or 4 cores at that speed but it may be a while before we get good scaling back. However keep in mind I say "G5" but Apple may call this the G6 because the processor I have in mind in 2006 at 65nm is the POWER5 derivative. I expect this CPU to to be more efficient. It should be able to queue 10 intructions and dispatch 2 per cycle(just like the POWER5) so clock for clock it'll be faster than a 970fx then we toss ondie memory controllers and SMT and we have a 3.6Ghz dual core processor that just kills.

The consumer no longer needs to care about megahertz. They need to understand architecture better. As computers evolve so must their users.
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post #21 of 60
Iam amazed at all the excitement while this is the company that single handidly almost ran apple into the ground. current max G4 is 1.5 so thats equal to about a p4 2.2 on a good day. If apple never went to G5 they would be out of business by now. everyone would have left. dont be fooled by moto again because october isnt here and they arent producing in qty. This is a roadmap on paper only. something they did time after time only to never fulfill any promises. Apple has been nearly killed by sticking with last place moto year after year after pathetic stagnating year. again Moto's best at the moment is pathetic 1.5 how does that compare with Intel or Amd? not even in the same league. Dont hold your breathe waiting on moto/freescale.
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post #22 of 60
Quote:
Motorola developing dual-core PowerPC G4, MPC 7447A successor

Good morning AI
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post #23 of 60
Debut to the Micro Forum in October? I'd say production and available in an actual product in Summer 2006, following another Rev to the G4.

Can you imagine the balls it will take to place that first order with Freescale? That will be a risky commitment.
post #24 of 60
^^^AMD is already shipping .09nm parts. If they are using the Black diamond process then AMD has it working.

yeah i know its the reg but what are you going to do

Quote:
I'll believe it when I have a dual-core PowerBook sitting on my lap without causing skin to turn black and flake off...and not a second sooner.

It makes for a funny quote, but sublime ignorance of Moto/Freescales traditional market space is no excuse. The chip will go into routers and switches and whatever other markets may find a use for it (i.e. maybe Apple).

IBM has no chip for laptops right now. Quoting typical power consumption rather than max power means IBM needs to game their specs because power is their biggest issue.

AMD is quoting 2H2005 for dual cores. Freescale should be in that ballpark ship as well.
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post #25 of 60
Dual-Core chip form Freescale in Q1/2006 at the earliest...
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post #26 of 60
Im more excited about seeing a faster G4 for the current crop of G4 Macs - particularly the PB.

Id like to see 2G 7447A's but that's optimistic, at least a 1.7-1.8G PB allows for the eMac/ibooks to be updated.

Who knows we just might see dual core G4 PB's at WWDC 05!, now that would be neat.
post #27 of 60
Yeah, with a crappie FSB.

Powerbook G5 is on it's way. Look at the /System/Library/Extensions/ AppleMacRISC4PE.kext/Contents/Info.plist in 10.3.5

Powerbook G5 in Q1/ 2005
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post #28 of 60
Quote:
Originally posted by cowerd
^^^AMD is already shipping .09nm parts. If they are using the Black diamond process then AMD has it working.

From the article:

However, 'revenue shipments' doesn't necessarily mean 'volume shipments', and it's telling that the part has not yet been added to AMD's official price list, and the chipmaker has not said what performance rating it will give the chip.

...and...

But other CPU makers have had problems with their 90nm processes, and AMD has still to prove that it is different.

You make it sound like they're cranking them out the door. It sounds to me like they're just pushing out a few measly ones like IBM is.
post #29 of 60
Quote:
Originally posted by hmurchison
Louzer,
IBMs problems are heat and yields. The problem is likely fixed but now that they are months behind in yielding that doesn't help Apple ship iMac G5s today but people are making far too much of an issue of 90nm than they should. IBM should be fine by Q1 2005. Parallel development should be going on right regarding 65nm. As Amorph stated above there are ways to fab at 90nm that are more sophisticated than what we're getting today. The use of strained silicon, low-k dialectics and other tech(eFuse) will play a difference in fabbing future projects. .

That's all nice speculation, but like the other poster said about these dual-core things, I'll believe it when I stop hearing about huge delays in ANY G5 machine, let alone the high-end G5s that use the 90nm chips. MacIntouch has several posts of people with huge problems with shipments coming with bad chips and such. IBM might be saying they've got the problem under control, but that doesn't help Apple at all if they don't get any chips. And it doesn't bode well that IBM has the problem fixed.

Oh, and to say that 65nm is in parallel process and on schedule is unrealistic, esp. since everything was on schedule and looking prosperous for the 90nm, 3GHz was in sight, new G5s were going to be announced in January, and then February, March, April, May, and finally June, which announced the 2.5GHz for end July, which turned into August. with many people still waiting for their orders (And this isn't just an IBM problem, because Intel's had production issues at 90nm).

There's absolutely no reason to believe there won't be unforseen problems going to .65nm.
post #30 of 60
I think you have failed to see the bigger picture here. AMD has partnered with Freescale, so they both should be at about the same level of development. Even if Motorola doesn't have a dual core chip available they most certainly have been working on an uprated G4. In other words the device with the described memory controller and other peripherials.

A 90nm LOW POWER SoC for the portable market would be a huge for Apple. It could very well lead to Apple recovering the run time crown over the Dothan series.

Sure there is still the issue of Freescale actually delivering the tech, but niether AMD nor Freescale are big on trumpeting new technology the way Intel does. Since AMD is delivering this chip to the portable market all one has to do is keep an eye out for the next few weeks. WE should see soon if the product is real or not.

Apple is in a differrent situation. They desperately need a 64 bit laptop solution even if this 32 bit chip is a better laptop device. They may get this with a respin of the 970 into a more energy stingy 90nm process. Though I suspect that Apple may just chuck battery operation as a laptop feature and go with the current 970FX. This still leaves the iBook or similar machine, a machine Apple has a history of spending little effort on improving.

So I have to wonder if this chip, an apparrent fine exxample of a portable chip, will ever find a place in an Apple machine. Good as it is Apple knows the pro line needs to go 64 bit very soon so this isn't a good alternative for the Powerbook. To make good use of the chip the iBook would need a redesign, which one has to wonder if Apple is ready for that. What we are hearing about this chip is fantastic but fitting it into Apples product line and meeting consumer demand is another thing altogether.

Dave



Quote:
Originally posted by Louzer
You make it sound like they're cranking them out the door. It sounds to me like they're just pushing out a few measly ones like IBM is.
post #31 of 60
You all forget one point:

Freescale uses RIO und IBM uses HT...

You get the idea
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post #32 of 60
I'm pleasantly surprised that Moto is still trying to make improved PowerPC chips. I thought that they quit trying about two or three years ago!

I think a healthy competition between IBM and Motorola is going to be great for Apple. Not only for the obvious reason that with competition, it is much more likely for progress to happen more rapidly, but also for the position of strength one gets from not being dependent on a single vendor.

Stay tuned!
post #33 of 60
You can only hope that the techcrew at Austin and Crolles are on the job and not watching the olympics

Yep...bring on some dual core madness asap.

As for power usage, the MPC85xx doesn't have any figures readily available...for a chip thats 18 months old, there is a scary lack of evidence that it actually exists outside of blueprints.

Sound eerily familiar?
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post #34 of 60
I think the most pertinent part of this release is when will the new 7447A be released at the higher clock speed and how fast? The dual cores are slated for 2005, but will we get a 1.7-2GHz G4 with built in memory controller anytime soon?
post #35 of 60
The G4 roadmap is more believeable than the 85xx roadmap because it is an existing and proven core design. We may complain about it, but Apple has shipped a large number of machines with G4s in them. Doing a process shrink to 90nm (assuming a working 90nm process, which AMD is demonstrating) is not a huge issue. Putting two cores on the same chip isn't really a big deal, especially with the interconnect fabric that Motorola has developed for the 85xx series. Putting SoC features in next to the cores is also not a big deal. Basically this is a safe, conservative approach to the problem of how to deliver a significantly improved G4-class chip.

The result of a 90nm dual core G4 w/ on-chip memory controller, RIO bus, on-chip Ethernet should actually be a hell of a chip. The clock rate should be in the 1.8-2.0 GHz range and heat density not a problem, and overall power consumption reasonable for laptops. Performance-wise the on-chip memory controller will make a dramatic difference in G4 performance. Its integer benchmarks should best the G5's at the same clock rate, although it will still have less than half the floating point performance. Vector performance will likely be about equal, although for heavily computation the G4 has the better vector unit -- the off-chip memory controller on the G5 means Apple can back it up with a better memory system that the 2xG4 will support.

I hope Freescale can pull this off, and it wouldn't surprise me if they did despite their track record. Before then we'll get a hint of what is coming with the "improved" single core G4 -- that is probably just the 90nm shrink.
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post #36 of 60
Unbelievable.
post #37 of 60
Quote:
Originally posted by Aurora
Iam amazed at all the excitement while this is the company that single handidly almost ran apple into the ground.

It's pretty simple, really: This isn't the company that single-handedly ran Apple into the ground. A shareholder revolt took out the management team responsible for Moto's decline, Moto is spinning off SPS — the division we're concerned with — as Freescale, and that appears to be in good hands, and they hired a new CEO, Ed Zander, who has a good rep and who's good friends with Steve, and he's already turned Moto around in the cell phone market, where they were floundering, and made the company profitable again.

Meanwhile, SPS' two main problems — which both stemmed from the same problem of inept top-level management — have been addressed: First, under Chris Galvin, the old CEO, senior engineers at Moto were underpaid and poorly treated, and they left. SPS has the opportunity, the funding and the leadership to change that. Second, under Galvin Moto didn't have the money to run clean fabs. That's one reason why it took them so long to produce anything at 130nm. Freescale has partnered with two veteran semiconductor companies, Philips Semiconductor and STMicro, to produce a nice, bright, modern, clean fab.

So, in pretty much every significant respect, this is a different company. They've taken careful and effective steps to pull themselves out of the hole they were in.

Quote:
again Moto's best at the moment is pathetic 1.5 how does that compare with Intel or Amd? not even in the same league.

Compare the G4 to the Pentium M, which is its real competitor, and remember to account for wattage, because that's an absolutely crucial parameter in this space. How does it look now?

The G4 is not designed or intended to go toe-to-toe with the P4 or the Athlon (although, at the outset, it did surprisingly well). That was the real problem with the G4 PowerMacs: Not that the G4 was terrible, but that it's not the sort of all-out performance chip that you want in a tower. Now that Apple has the 970 family, they can use the G4 where it's designed to be used. And if you doubt its effectiveness there, look at PowerBook, iBook and eMac sales.
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post #38 of 60
I hope you can all stand disappointment.
post #39 of 60
Quote:
Originally posted by kim kap sol
Unbelievable.

Quote:
Originally posted by kim kap sol
I hope you can all stand disappointment.

Everyone here is painfully aware of your stance on this issue by now. Thanks.
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post #40 of 60
Quote:
Originally posted by Gavriel
Everyone here is painfully aware of your stance on this issue by now. Thanks.

You're welcome.

But...for those who still aren't aware of my stance on the issue, I'll be fishing this thread out in a year when everyone is typing on G5 processors or single-core G4 computers.
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