Apple's Pipedream - PowerPC G5 3GHz & The XBox360
A month ahead of the release of Microsoft's new XBox 360 IBM have released infomation about the custom PowerPC processor powering the unit.
"The IBM-built chip features three customized PowerPC computing engines that can each handle two simultaneous tasks at clock speeds greater than 3 gigahertz. It was customized for Microsoft in less than 24 months from the original contract."
With that information in mind here is my take on what took place this time last year:
Steve Jobs calls IBM late 2004 and says "we need a PowerPC G5 3GHz by Q1 2005 a G5-Mobile by Q2 2005 and a multi-core G5 Q3 2005, what can you do?" IBM respond "Just a minute Steve we've got Bill Ga... Joe Blogs on the line oh and Sony and possibly Nintendo. We'll call you back."
Steve unhappy with IBM goes and meets his mate from Intel for a game of golf. While putting the 9th hole Steve asks what chips Intel have lined up for 2006. The Intel guy is more than happy to chat about their plans for 64-bit Dual-core Pentiums and power efficient 64-bit Pentium-Ms.
After finishing the game of golf Jobs and his friend from Intel get to talking about Microsoft and IBM. Jobs is unhappy about IBM's time being taken up with the Cell for Sony and especially the new found friendship between Microsoft and Big Blue. The Intel chap is also unhappy, the Microsoft XBox with it's trusty Intel Pentium III was selling like hotcakes and Microsoft's decision to jump ship and turn to IBM has left a bitter taste in his mouth.
Over coffee Jobs and the Intel buddy get to talking about how great it would be to have the power of Apple's OS X combined with the future CPU products from Intel. Certainly the Apple cool factor would help win some of those AMD lovers back for Intel and Job's really could do with a modern CPU
to put in the Apple Powerbooks let alone a quicker CPU down the road for the PowerMac range.
The deed was done and Apple were on their way to Intel land.
Needless to say IBM did phone back. "Steve we can get you a dual core G5 for October 2005 but 3GHz just isn't going to be possible... uughh one of our 'other' customers has got the first call on those. Oh and the mobile chip won't be ready until we can rework the G4 design. How does 2006 sound for the Mobile G4-64 1.5Ghz?"
Steve took the dual core G5s at 2.7GHz. Not because he really wanted to but because he had no other choice. He knew the Intel boys had it all taken care of for 2006...
Read more about how Microsoft stole PowerPC from Apple and how they allowed Apple access to the x86 world and ultimately OS domination:
New Xbox processor offers powerful speeds - Games - MSNBC.com