logomacitynet1200wide 1

The G4 + in the fall

The cube, the biprocessor G4s, the new iMacs and then, perhaps at the Apple Expo in Paris, the new iBooks. Apple could have completely renewed its product range within a couple of months. What for, perhaps not even with the French iBook, the hardware remains almost unchanged for a year now. The changes in this sector are minimal in low-end machines (speed bump for iMac, a few more MHz for iBooks last February …) and zero in the G4. Here the stall takes on disturbing contours. The current configurations of the processors are the same as from the end of last August with the unpleasant episode in the middle, even, of a downgrading. We all know whose fault. In the space of 12 months, Motorola failed to take the Max processor one step further! (code name of the current G4). According to some sources from the production chains, only occasionally, despite the refinement processes of the last few months, are chips able to be reliably taken at speeds above 500/550 MHz, an unfortunate situation for Apple but also expected since last winter when some reliable rumors whispered that the fin company had now given up on further implementing the current architecture by focusing its research resources on the G4 +, a radical evolution of the current processor that industry experts said would allow Apple machines to exceed the GHz by the beginning of 2001. But even here the delays have been added and from spring we have gone to summer and summer to winter. Now, for, let's say it with caution, the good moment seems to have arrived. Browsing through the seminars planned for the conference of the microprocessor forum, the most important event in the sector in the coming autumn, we discover that Motorola is planning to reveal "its latest generation of G4 processors". Given that the conference scheduled starting from October 9th it could be legitimate to expect the adoption of the new G4s in machines released before the end of the year or at the same time as the launch of MacOs X which should take place next January in San Francisco. It should also be pointed out that the debut of G4 in Apple machines occurred before its official presentation by Motorola and that, at least on paper, the presentation of PowerMac with the G4 + in even shorter times cannot be excluded. In this case it seems difficult for the hypothesis, given that the biprocessors are released in these days and their operational life should be, for market reasons, at least four or five months. But beyond the speed increase (G4 + it should debut at 700/800 MHz) one of the most interesting features of Motorola's new processors will be its architecture which, despite being built on the basis of the current G4, will adopt the SOI technology for the first time. The use of SOI (silicon on insulator, an advanced isolation system that allows less dispersion and therefore higher performance with lower consumption), one of the novelties that few expected from G4 +. It is known that IBM, a leader in innovation, is about to release chips with these features, but many believed that for a Motorola processor with SOI it would have to wait until the end of 2001. If, therefore, Motorola actually keeps this once the promises within six months the gap with the PC world in terms of processors will be filled. Not only will we have chips with speeds very close, even from the nominal point of view, to those of Win users, but we will also have available machines that thanks to SOI will have the possibility of going faster by consuming and heating less. This will mean more innovation in design and functionality.