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PowerPC G4 improvements in the works

updated 08:00 am EDT, Wed August 18, 2004

PowerPC G4 improvements

Freescale, Motorola's chip division, is expected to at the Microprocessor Forum in San Jose, CA, in October. According to The Register, the new G4 is expected to feature an on-board memory controller capable of supporting DDR 2 SDRAM, a Gigabit Ethernet controller, Rapid IO bus, and speeds eventually in excess of 2GHz. The processor "may also mark the next major leap in Mac notebook G4 processors" before the PowerBook G5. A successor to the MPC 7447A, used in current PowerBook G4 systems, is also in the works.




by MacNN Staff

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  1. bobolicious

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    mhz vs 'architecture'..

    ...after trying a 1ghz G4 Powerbook & not feeling it was much faster than a 400 at browsing & basic tasks, and trying a dual G5 2ghz that felt as fast as a PC, well there was no comparison - will a faster G4 really equalize the apparent gap that is once again growing between desktop & mobile macs ???

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    mhz?

    Huh, you compare a desktop to a laptop, and decide that the desktop more closely resembles the speed of a PC? Well, duh. Laptops are ALWAYS slower than their desktop counterparts. To keep power consumption down (as well as heat that needs to be dissipated), laptops generally have slower hard disks, slower busses, slower video, slower, well, everything.

    If you're going to make blatantly stupid observations, at least put a little thought in your testing and compare a G4 Powerbook with a Wintel PC laptop, or compare a desktop G4 with a desktop G5.

    [Note: I'm not saying a G4 laptop is faster or slower than a PC one, or that the G4 is as fast as a G5, I just hate lousy comparisons.]

  1. dave a

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Terrific news!

    Given that the dual 1.25 G4 desktop usually tests at about the same speed as the single 1.8 G5, the dual-core G4 is just what the doctor ordered. Perhaps this will help Apple to finally bring out the LC 5 ... a reasonably sized, reasonably priced headless Mac that can be sold en masse to education and to business for office work, while countering the Centrino chipset.

  1. cyngus

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Laptops

    The performance gap in general is widening between desktops and laptops again, regardless of platform. It comes down to one thing - power consumption. Desktop CPUs can use as much power as they like as long as they don't melt their internal cicuits. For all intents and purposes once the heat is out of the chip and on to the heatsink nearly infinte heat can be dissapated with cooling techniques (yes, they may be expensive, but just stay with me here). Laptops have two problems with power consumption.
    1) Battery life is important to mobile users.
    2) Laptops have a far lower ability to remove heat. Space is small and lots of fans will take more power (see #1). Additionally, liquid cooling is probably not an option because of space constraints.
    The space constraints are particularly great in Apple's laptops because they tend to be on the small end of laptops in general (especially so for the PowerBooks vs. their performance).
    Furthermore, to the first poster. A 1Ghz PowerBook? Those aren't even sold any more, maybe you should compare current technology instead of last years.

  1. cyngus

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    My PowerBook 1.25Ghz

    Also, I can hardly tell the difference between my desktop dual 1.25Ghz and my PowerBook G4 1.25Ghz for "basic tasks". If you can see a difference in web browsing speed, I'd like to know how, because most of it for rendering pages is in the millisecond arena, unless you've found much more interactive and media rich pron sites than me.

  1. fiesta cat

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Sounds interesting..

    But I'd question if many laptop users would even need this (the graphics designers would, however there is a point where you really need to move to a desktop).

    There is also the eternal question of battery usage/life.

  1. JeffHarris

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Could be a good

    Based on heat issues alone, I don't see a G5 PowerBook coming anytime soon. AND with heat and power consumption being such critcal laptop issues, I would NEVER buy a Rev.A G5 PowerBook. My Rev.A Titanim PowerBook was trouble free, but I remember others' headaches.

    A dual-core G4 processor might be better and faster than a G5.
    The main question? Can Motorola deliver in quantity and on time?

    ________________________________
    Re: mhz vs 'architecture'...

    I've had 3 Titanium PowerBooks: 500mhz, 667mhz and now a 1ghz. ALL been incrementally faster than their predecessors. The 1ghz is a great machine, with the level 3 cache and 64MB of VRAM it's been a CAD, 3D and Photoshop workhorse!

  1. Okonomiyaki

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    worst thing I've ever...

    Good heavens, Motorola, are you still trying to win? You've got an overdeveloped sense of vengance. It's going to get you in trouble someday.

  1. 1800-whatever

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    re: could be good.

    I think it could be a good thing to.

  1. paulmac

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    dual G4 before G5

    Hopefully Motorola will actually deliver these in October.

    I don't see how there can be a fast G5 chip in the powerbooks--possibly 1.4-1.6 ghz at 90nm at best--if the 1.8's and 2.0's and 2.5's need such serious cooling. If IBM is working on the 65nm chips that will go into the xbox, those would be suitable for a powerbook, since I don't think xbox's (will) have fans or other active cooling, but that's in late 2005 or 2006.

    Still, I believe the size, heat density problem is the wall that all these chip manufacturers have hit. Active liquid cooling seems to be a good solution, but it does require space and more power consumption and of course greater cost.

    Heat dissipation and power consumption are serious realities. There is very little likelihood that the current round of 90nm IBM chips could ever fit inside the 0.8inches of a powerbook with adequate, battery-efficient cooling. Like others have said, the spread between laptop and desktop speed will likely widen. Dual-core cpus will help laptops keep up, but there will never be a thin laptop that will be able to compete with a desktop.

    The current G4 1.5ghz is an excellent chip, a dual-core version would be fantastic, especially with faster ram. The current powerbook G4 enclosure would not need too much modification, though probably the 17" model has the edge because it has more space for cooling. I'd bet on this dual-core scenario. Then maybe a redesigned powerbook G5 in summer or fall of next year. It's a distressing reality certainly.

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