Next IBM-Apple chip getting high-end feature

In 2005, IBM plans to bring a significant feature from higher-end servers to the next generation of its PowerPC 970 processor line used in Apple Computer machines and Big Blue's own blade servers.

The next-generation chip will have technology that lets it run multiple operating systems simultaneously, said Karl Freund, vice president of IBM eServer pSeries. Doing so allows a computer to handle more jobs at the same time and to be used more efficiently. The technology, called partitioning, relies on a concept called virtualization that breaks the hard link between an operating system and the underlying hardware. Partitioning is available today only on servers using IBM's higher-end Power4 and Power5 processors and in competing server designs from Sun Microsystems, Hewlett-Packard and Intel.

"The goal is to make virtualization capability ubiquitous across the Power line," Freund said in a Tuesday interview. "We want to drive it down to lower price points and make it available on products like BladeCenter as well." IBM is in the midst of a major, years-long effort to make its Power family of processors an alternative not just to high-end rivals from Sun and Intel but also to widely used x86 chips such as Intel's Pentium and Advanced Micro Devices' Opteron.

News source: C|Net

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