What You Missed With Power 6


Last week, IBM unveiled its long-awaited Power6 processor, its PowerPC architecture server chip. The Power6 breaks commercially-available CPU clock-speed records, coming in at 4.7GHz, as Hardmac reports.

In perhaps a sly nod to Apple, as the French edition of Hardmac, MacBidouille notes, IBM said that the Power6 could download the entire iTMS catalog in 60 seconds. The reason? The Power6 boasts bandwidth of 300Gb/second (at least when it runs at 5GHz; the Power6 was designed to run at between 4GHz and 5GHz).

The Power6 features cutting-edge technology. As RealWorldTech writes, "Each POWER6 MPU is implemented as a two way CMP design, integrating two simultaneous multithreaded processors along with private per-core L2 caches in a 340mm2 die. For high-end models, four POWER6 MPUs will be packaged in a single multi-chip module, along with four L3 victim caches, each 32MB."

Analysis: As IBM focussed on embedded processors and servers - witness the use of the PowerPC G5 or derivatives with Sony and Microsoft - Apple, of course, made the big switch to Intel processors, as Big Blue was unable to deliver 3GHz G5s within Apple's required schedules. Of course, the Intel switch has worked exceptionally well for Apple, and its focus is now exclusively on developing OS X for the Intel platform. But PowerPC still makes you wonder what could have been...or whether Apple still maintains an operational version of each edition of OS X on PowerPC...