on Friday provided details about its manufacturing of PowerPC 970FX microprocessors. This is the same processor used in Apple’s Xserve G5, announced last month at Macworld Expo San Francisco.
IBM said that the 970FX — manufactured at the company’s East Fishkill, NY plant — is the first chip built using a combination of silicon-on-insulator (SOI), strained silicon and copper wiring technologies. The strained silicon and SOI technologies helps speed the flow of electricity and decreases power consumption through the microscopic transistors in the chip, according to IBM. IBM said that the net result is that the PowerPC 970FX can perform the same or even faster than comparable processors while using less electricity, and as a by-product, generating less heat. What’s more, IBM expects to see improved efficiency as it ramps up production.
IBM’s PowerPC 970 chip serves as the heart of Apple’s Power Mac G5 desktop system — first introduced last year to attendees of Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco, Calif. IBM’s news that the PowerPC 970FX works as well as the desktop chip does with lower power is a tantalizing hint to Mac users that a chip like this, or some derivative, could be used in a future PowerBook design. Apple does not comment on unannounced products but has made no secret of its desire to scale the G5 architecture to its laptop line once the time is right.
IBM expects to offer more details about the 970FX at next week’s International Solid-State Circuit Conference (ISSCC) in San Francisco, Calif.