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Meanwhile Intel Corp. and Advanced Micro Devices are working hard on their microprocessors and supporting platforms with virtualization capabilities aiming to release them commercially in 2006, IBM’s servers and Apple’s personal computers may get virtualization technology on the hardware levels as early as next year.

Virtualization for All, but Peculiarities Unclear

IBM’s PowerPC 970 processor line used in Apple Computer machines and in IBM’s blade servers will have technology that lets it run multiple operating systems simultaneously, which allows a computer to handle more jobs at the same time and to be used more efficiently, said IBM’s Karl Freund, vice president of IBM eServer pSeries, according to CNET web-site.

IBM was among the first companies to introduce dual-core processors, which gives a company an advantage in developing central processing units with virtualization technology. Virtualization is usually known in conjunction with Intel’s Vanderpool technology along with Microsoft’s Longhorn operating system.

The Santa Clara, California-based Intel has been planning to enable advanced parallelism for personal computers in order to increase reliability and add new usage models for end-users for a while. Vanderpool is a hardware tech that splits system into several virtual parts that work independently and use the same resources of the PC. Servers’ central processing units and platforms are also likely to get a virtualization tech: Intel calls it Silvervale, but does not reveal any differences compared to Vanderpool.

It is unclear, what exactly IBM’s virtualization technology that is expected to be available in Apple’s computers and IBM’s blade-servers will be capable of.

IBM’s Dual-Core for Desktops May be on Track

At this time it is unclear, whether Apple supports virtualization capability in its future operating system. However, earlier this year it was said that IBM’s dual-core chip for Apple’s desktops would be out in 2005. Current news-story may confirm that IBM is on track with its dual-core product for Apple’s desktops and potentially Big Blue’s blade servers.

IBM has a chip code-named Antares with two PowerPC cores inside in the roadmap. The microprocessor will presumably be officially called PowerPC 970MP and will be intended for Apple’s desktops, workstations and servers, according to a report dated late July, 2004.

Each core of the PowerPC 970MP chip will have its own L2 cache of 1MB and will be clocked at about 3.0GHz. The PowerPC 970MP will feature a copper bus with 10 layers of metal: the dual cores will share a single Elastic Interface (EI) bus supporting a wide range of bus ratios and opening the door for higher that 1000MHz bus speeds, the report claims.

IBM’s PowerPC 970MP chip will be made using unknown CMOS SOI10K fabrication process at IBM. Its die will be about 154 square millimetres, only a bit larger compared to today’s AMD Athlon 64 microprocessor.

Besides Velocity Engine instruction set and IBM’s PowerTune technology for power-saving purposes, the new PowerPC 970MP chips will feature ABIST (array built-in self-test) diagnostic for test and qualification simplifications.

Unofficial information cited by the web-site claims that the first prototypes of IBM’s first dual-core chip for consumer applications will be available in August, 2004, while the production is slated to begin in January, 2005, which means that Apple’s customers are likely to experience the dual-core technology next year.


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