The Chip Is Real, Or Will Be (10/16/02)

So, which is the better news: that IBM has finally released actual details about its long-rumored POWER4-based PowerPC desktop processor destined for use in new Macs next year, or that Steven the Dell Dude is finally getting the shaft? Personally, we're going for the former. Granted, we hate Steven with a fiery burning vomitous passion, and so his semi-retirement as reported by Reuters (many thanks to faithful viewer Tara Keezer for the tip) is plenty of reason for us to kick up our heels and celebrate Dell's choice to stuff Steven under the desk for a while. But our joy is cut short by the knowledge that Dell's "new, less dude-centric advertising campaign" features "a group of eager interns" and is nearly every bit as bad, in no small part because said "eager interns" are portrayed as empty-headed shmucks who apparently got their jobs without knowing that Dell sells computers via its web site. (You just have to love the message, though: "We hire total morons. Wanna buy a computer?")

So, IBM it is: faithful viewer Porsupah forwarded us an article in The Register which reports that, according to Big Blue's Peter Sandon yapping at the Microprocessor Forum, the official nom de chip of this non-Motorolan beauty is the PowerPC 970. It's a single-core 64-bit processor that can run 32-bit code without emulation and boasts two Altivec units while sucking down considerably less power than Intel's latest behemoths. "Conservative estimates" place the initially available chips at 1.4 to 1.8 GHz when they hit production in late 2003, which isn't going to wow anybody on raw clock speed, but the overall performance of these things might just turn a few heads.

More good stuff: according to a Wired story pointed out to us by faithful viewer mightyAdam, IBM's senior PowerPC architect claims that the 970 is designed for use in quad-processor Macs, "can certainly support eight-way" systems, and has a 42-bit address space-- allowing for the theoretical use of up to 4 terabytes of memory, i.e. over two thousand times more RAM than you can stuff into any currently shipping Mac. And by the time Apple ships a system that'll actually let you stick that much RAM in it, we bet you still won't be able to run Word and Excel simultaneously without massive disk swapping. But hey, we're still optimistic about this whole 970 thing, and if we never have to see the Dell Dude again, well, that's just icing on the cake.

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The above scene was taken from the 10/16/02 episode:

October 16, 2002: Microsoft outdoes itself, stealing Apple's Switch ad concept and then needing to fabricate a switcher. Meanwhile, Mac OS X will be gaining a journaled file system from Graceland, and IBM confirms technical details of that new PowerPC chip we've all been drooling for...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 3777: Predictable As Time & Tide (10/16/02)   You know, for a corporation embodying Pure Evil(TM) and bent on world domination by whatever wicked and dishonest methods it can manage to dredge up from the black, slimy depths of what may once have been its soul, Microsoft somehow still manages to come off about as competent at the whole "We're Going To Take Over The World By Any Means Necessary, Mwahahahahahaaaaa" gig as, say, Shemp from The Three Stooges after eating a couple of handfuls of lead paint chips...

  • 3778: The King Keeps A Diary (10/16/02)   Every so often we can't help thinking that maybe, just maybe, Apple really is serious about a slow push into the enterprise market. After all, Apple is cranking out stuff that big business should be drooling over, if it can get over its allergy to the Apple logo...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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