Wednesday, March 16, 2005

PB: Dual Core or G5? NO, it's not OR, it's *AND*!?!?

I had posted a weblog article about my speculation of PowerBook's future, which might be using either a Dual-Core G4 or a G5. In which I wrote:

Personal Conclusion: I will take the Dual-Core G4 PowerBook over the G5 one anyday, when it comes out (and if it does come out; the rumor had re-surfaced, at least). Also when it comes to performance, I don't think the power-down G5 with smaller bus can perform any better the Dual-core G4. Actually, it can even be outperformed by the dual-core G4.

The only problem Apple might have for making Dual-Core G4 the next generation PowerBook: Marketing. They had created so much hype about one word: G5. Many people I know really believe that G5 is everything and being a G5 making it the fastest thing on this planet. If the Dual-Core G4 is outperforming the G5 ... then Apple has a problem.

Shortly afterward, Apple came out with the (probably) last update to the PowerBook line we know and love.

After the line was updated, all rumors about PowerBook went silent for a while, only to resurfaced again recently with a few exciting evidences which supporting the rumor:

People will now starting to speculate a Dual-Core G5 PowerBook. But before that, I think there are still some questions that needed answers:

  • Can IBM tame the chip well enough to put it into a compact and feature-rich space of PowerBook? (I haven't read the note posted by them yet. Still feel sick and headache).
  • Can Apple design the thermal control system good enough to control the heat in such a small space?

When Jobs debut the G5 PowerMac in WWDC 2003, he promised 3.0 GHz in a year. However WWDC 2004 had gone, and half a year after that the top of the line PowerMac is still at 2.5 GHz. Jobs mentioned the difficulties the entire industry had at the 90nm scale. In Steve's word: the entire industry had hit the wall.

So it seems to me that the current G5 chip has problem going any faster. So, if they are hitting the wall going straight, why wouldn't they just go around the wall to make it faster?

So, here come a new chip with new specification; the way to go around that wall. I rather think we will see this new dual core chip first in the new PowerMac, which should be announced by WWDC the latest. PowerBook just saw it last update not so long ago, so it would be WWDC the soonest (and most unlikely) that we will see another update.

Before I see any of this dual core G5 in reality and how much heat it produces and how IBM and Apple engineers tame it, I won't be betting any cent that it would be appearing in the next PowerBook; my current bet is still with the dual core G4.