IBM's PowerPC 970FX – the processor used in new Xserves from Apple – has been declared "the best desktop processor of 2003" by the industry's leading microprocessor title.
It wins the In-Stat/MDR Analysts' Choice awards, which are granted in conjunction with Microprocessor Report. These are recognized across the microprocessor industry as "representing the best of the best – excellence in technology innovation, design, and implementation", by the industry. Awards were presented at a gala dinner February 5.
Based on IBM's Power4 server processor, the 970FX is manufactured by IBM using its cutting-edge 90 nm (nanometer) production process. It offers all the advantages of the preceeding PowerPC 970 processor – known by Mac users as the G5 that powers Apple's new professional desktop Macs, but has a higher top speed and requires significantly less power and heat.
IBM's 970 processors were made using IBM's 130nm manufacturing process, while the new 970FX has a maximum power consumption of 55W at 2GHz, down from the 90W of the current Power Mac chip.
IBM describes the typical working power consumption of the 970FX as: "12.3W@1.4GHz, or 24.5W@2.0GHz" – potentially more impressive, and much less that the current processor's typical power needs of 51W@1.8GHz.
Apple's chosen processor beat off competition from AMD (Athlon 64 FX-51) and Intel (Pentium 4) to take the fifth annual award in the Desktop Processor category.
AMD's Opteron won in the Server Processor category, while Intel's Pentium M took first place in the Mobile PC processor category. IBM's Power5 processor, which rumour claims may be re-engineered to provide another faster processor for desktop computers in future, was a runner-up in the server category.
Microprocessor Report editor-in-chief Peter Glaskowsky has predicted the Power PC 970FX will be adopted by Apple in its next-generation G5 Power Macs.