Power Mac G3, G4, G5... GPUL (9/22/02)

Much as it pains us to admit it, we'd be remiss not to point out that the Naked Mole Rat, infamous for embarking on long and unscheduled chemically-induced hibernations, actually posted two updates during our own most recent dry spell. Yes indeedy, we actually became more infrequent than the Rat; how incredibly embarrassing. Indeed, this is apparently some sort of a trend, since Mac OS Rumors (which has, in recent months, been rather infrequently updated) has also upped the ante, publishing new content every day or three, presumably just to make us look bad. Good lord 'n' butter, all we need now is for the classic rumors format AppleInsider to rise phoenix-like from its only-a-forum-now grave and commence updating more often than us, at which point we'll just have to toss our sorry mortal coils under the wheels of a speeding laundry truck or something.

But we digress. What we meant to point out is that the Rat's most recent report (cunningly crafted as if written by a third party, in what we can only assume was a massively entertaining pharmaceutical lapse) claims that those recent rumors are untrue. Which rumors, you ask, assuming you've been shamefully lax in your Rat-reading duties lately? Why, the rumors that those other rumors are untrue. And we know you're going to ask anyway, so we'll just tell you: the rumors that Apple plans to stick gi-normously powerful POWER4-derived PowerPCs from IBM in future Macs, thus possibly uncoupling our beloved platform's performance gains (or lack thereof) from the arguably lackluster Motorolan attempts to keep our Macs from looking like sloths on Methadone and grain alcohol.

Since we're a little rusty, for clarity's sake, let's make sure we're explaining this okay: it's not the rumors of the IBM Uberchip that are untrue; it's the rumors that those rumors are untrue that are (allegedly) untrue. See? Crystal clear. In other words, IBM is working on a desktop PowerPC variant of the POWER4, said chip does boast Altivec-like technologies (if not necessarily Altivec itself), and it is destined to star in a Power Mac near you-- according to the Rat, at least.

Well, and eWEEK, which, as pointed out by faithful viewer potuncle, echoes and amplifies several of the juicy tidbits to have spilled from the Rat's... er... mandibles, or whatever. To wit, this zesty little chip is called the GigaProcessor Ultralite (or GPUL for short), it's a true 64-bit processor, it's already running Mac OS X in Apple's secret underground labs, and further details will likely emerge at IBM's Microprocessor Forum session in a few weeks' time. (Given that the session description is public, it's pretty tough to imagine that GPUL isn't a real thingy.) Apparently GPUL is a multi-core chip and performance is said to be roughly twice that of a current-model G4 at the same clock speed. And GPUL will initially ship at "1.4 to 2 GHz," so we're talking about a pretty hefty chunk of zip, here.

The only catch, as usual, is time; IBM is reportedly not expected to ship the GPUL until "late summer 2003," meaning that until then, we're going to be mired squarely in G4-land. And if you're a little worried that you won't have anything to whine about come the GPUL Era, fear not; just make sure you take clock speed far too seriously and you should be golden, since if GPUL ships at 2 GHz in mid-2003, it's a pretty safe bet that Intel and AMD will be running chips at frequencies at least 50% higher than that by then. See? There's always something to complain about, if you just dig deep enough. And hey, at the very least, you can always keep whining about our spotty broadcast schedule. We aim to please.

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The above scene was taken from the 9/22/02 episode:

September 22, 2002: Yes, we've been out of commission lately; blame it on Apple's inexplicable willingness to keep doing business with Best Buy. Meanwhile, Larry Ellison steps down from Apple's Board of Directors, and rumors that those new IBM PowerPC rumors are false are... um, false...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 3750: We Can Sue, Can't We? (9/22/02)   Yes, folks, it's really us-- your friendly neighborhood AtAT staff, finally back after many years of war and strangely changed, thus prompting suspicion among the local populace as well as our own families about whether or not we're really who we claim to be...

  • 3751: And Then There Were Five (9/22/02)   Speaking of shocking Apple press releases, by now you've likely noticed that the company has confirmed the rumors: Larry "Trust Me, You Could Never Afford This Suit" Ellison-- CEO of Oracle, poster boy of the Flashy Loudmouth Multibillionaire Society, and reportedly Steve Jobs's bestest buddy-- has officially said buh-bye to his long-held seat on Apple's Board of Directors...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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