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: "[email protected], or [email protected]" – potentially more impressive, and much less that the current processor's typical power needs of [email protected]

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.