IBM, Apple’s first Power PC in early 1993

IBM and Apple Computer Inc’s first PowerPC-based system will be priced under US$2,000 to compete with 386SX machines, officials from both companies and Motorola Inc revealed.

The system, a low-end desktop expected as soon as early 1993, will offer about 20 SPECmarks in performance, said officials from the three com-paines, speaking at the fourth annual Microprocessor Forum here.

“We expect the first products to compete with the 386SX-lcvcl products — offering those price points but much better performance,” said Eric Harslcm, vice-president of Apple’s desktop product division.

The current road map calls for the PowerPC—a single-chip implementation of IBM’s RS/6000 CPU— to be ready “in the second half of 1992,” said Lcs Crudele, general manager of Motorola’s RISC microprocessor division, which is working on the chips with IBM.

By 1993, PowerPCs will be available for portable and “mainstream” PCs, Crudclc said. These chips will offer performance of about 20 and 70 SPECmarks, respectively. In 1994, PowerPCs will be available for high-end workstaions and servers, offering up to 200 SPECmarks of performance.

By comparison, Sun Microsystems Inc’s $15,495 40MFL SPARCslation 2 processes 24.7 SPECmarks.

In addition to unveiling details of the PowerPC, Phil Hester, vice-president of IBM’s Advanced Workstaion Division, said the group is considering Porting its PowcrOpcn environment to the Intel platform. Hester also said the group next year will build a reference design to enable other firms to design PowerPC-based systems.

“This is not a three-person club,” he said. “We fully expect to have other manufacturers participating by early next year.”

Forum attendees were surprised at the level of redesign that the group is planning. “It’s clear that PowerPC is designed to do more than just fill out IBM’s current RS/6000 line — it’s a whole new platform,” said George White, president of Corollary Inc, a multiprocessing design firm.

Other announcements at the Microprocessor Forum included the following:

* Officials from Texas Instruments Inc confirmed thai the firm’s “Viking” Super -SPARC processor has been delivered to Sun. The new chip will deliver ” up to three times the perform anccof SPARCstation 2,” they said.

*   Motorola unveiled its new 88110 Symmetric  Superscalar  RISC  chip  for workstations and high-end peripherals. It supports 3-D color graphics and two levels of cache.

*   Advanced Micro Devices Inc announced the 29200, a single-chip processor for laser printers designed to compete with Intel Corp’s i960 processor. It processes 7 mips. Samples arc due in the first quarter, said officials. ?

. Vancc McCarthy

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