Motorola reaches a significant milestone in the evolution of the PowerPC processor this week with the launch of the next-generation G3 family and the unveiling of a new Macintosh-compatible machine based on it.
The G3 is a 32- and 64-bit processor family based on 0.35 micron and 0.25 micron technology. The first chips are clocked at 233MHz and 266MHz, but this is expected to increase to 400MHz in the third quarter of 1998.
The new processor has 30 million transistors (compared to 8 million on the current 600 series) and offers performance, scalability and symmetric multi-processing enhancements.
Paul Clark, European marketing manager for Risc technology at Motorola, claimed: "G3 processors exceed the speed of current Pentium technology in terms of multimedia performance."
Motorola will be unveiling a new Macintosh-compatible system based on the new PowerPC processor family at Macworld Expo in Boston this week.
Sources close to Motorola said Apple is also prototyping machines based on the G3.
Motorola's StarMax Pro 6000 clone uses Arthur, the PowerPC 750 microprocessor, which is the first member of the G3 processor family; it will run the new MacOS 8 operating system.
It also uses "backside" Level 2 cache memory, which Motorola claims is unique because it can be accessed at much faster speeds than the motherboard bus speed. A 66MHz system bus is another feature.
Using the new chip, enhanced cache memory design and faster system bus, Motorola claims the StarMax Pro 6000 is up to four time faster running graphics and imaging applications than any Mac on the market. It will be available next month, starting at #2,346.
Beyond the G3 family, Motorola will be introducing a G4 family in 1999 based on 0.18 micron technology and supporting 50 million transistors on chip. Clock speeds in excess of 500 MHz will be attainable, according to sources at Motorola.
By 2000, the company plans to deliver PowerPCs based on 0.1 micron technology which it claims will achieve clock speeds greater than 1GHz.
With this level of performance, Clark said "high-end PowerMac machines will be capable of delivering the kind of performance people expect from Silicon Graphics today".
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