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PowerPC 970MP to pack dual cores for future Apple hardware

IBM is wasting no time to be the first to offer dual-core processors. Already we know that Intel and AMD have plans to come out with their own dual-core processors though theirs production dates differs from IBM's. Right now all three companies are still experiencing problems with the transition to a 90nm fabrication. So it's still pretty much in the air who will be first to offer dual-core processors.

Although Apple has only this year begun shipping G5 Power Macs and Xserves with the PowerPC 970FX processor, IBM plans to raise the bar with the chip's successor, a dual-core processor code-named "Antares," well-placed sources told Think Secret. Known officially as the PowerPC 970MP, the chip will feature two interconnected microprocessors on a single 13.225mm x 11.629mm die -- a first for the 970 processor family. Each core will have its own 1MB L2 cache, sources said; the 970FX has only 512KB. L3 cache will not be supported.

The 970MP will feature a copper bus with 10 layers of metal; the dual cores will share a single Elastic Interface (EI) bus supporting a wide range of bus ratios and opening the door for higher bus speeds. Antares will be manufactured using IBM's CMOS SOI10K process with Silicon on Insulator technology, sources said. The new chip will also support the VMX instruction set with Altivec-compatible Vector/SIMD units -- one on each core.

News source: Think Secret

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