Apple launched what claims to be the fastest notebook on the planet yesterday. The new machine, christened the PowerBook G3 after the Power PC G3 processor family that powers it, is more than twice as fast as the company's current fastest notebook, the 3400C. The new PowerBook uses the Motorola 750 G3 processor, clocked at 250MHz. Apple claimed that the G3 is "significantly faster" than Intel's top-of-the-range notebook processor, the Pentium 233 MMX. The industry benchmark Spec int (integer arithmetic) figure for the G3 is 1.7 compared to 1.0 for the Pentium 233MHz. The result for Spec FP (floating point) is 1.5 on the G3 compared to 1.0 on the Pentium. One of the reasons for the PowerPC's improved performance is that there is more parallelism used in the new G3 generation of PowerPC chips than in the preceding 60x family. For example, the 750 offers two integer processing units. James Dingwall, product marketing manager at Apple, said this speeds up performance massively since applications spend 90% of their time performing integer functions. "The 750 can pipeline (instructions) through two integer units which effectively doubles integer performance," explained Dingwall. He added that the 750 also benefits from new memory cache technology called Backside Cache. This reduces the bottleneck in reading machine code instructions from memory at a slower rate than the processor can handle. Through these architectural enhancements and the optimisation of the MacOS 8.0 for the 750, Apple said that substantial performance gains will be achieved compared to previous PowerPCs clocked at the same speed. "It's a bit like a VW Beetle and a Ferrari: they may be both doing 5,000rpm, but that doesn't mean they are travelling at the same speed," commented Jonathan Ferman, product manager at Apple UK. The PowerBook 750 will begin shipping next Tuesday. Prices are expected to be around #2,395.
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