The Microprocessor Report is carrying a full report on IBM's PowerPC 970 processor.

IBM raised waves of speculation when it demonstrated its new processor during October's Microprocessor Forum.

Observers noted the AltiVec support built-in to the chip, and a wave of undiminished speculation has followed as the market tries to decide if Apple will adopt IBM's solution This report, written by senior editor, Tom Halfhill adds to the speculation.

"The 970 is such an obvious improvement over today's G4 chips, it is hard to imagine Apple using anything else in its top-of-the-line desktop Macs and servers", Halfhill writes.

"Nobody at IBM would confirm rumours that a leading customer for the PowerPC 970 is Apple, and Apple is even more tight-lipped," he wrote.

"The 970 seems tailor-made for professional publishing and media-processing applications," he explains. The 64-bit processor can handle 32-bit instructions.

Halfhill explains the advantages of the processor: "It has a much deeper pipeline than G4-family processors, so it's in a better position to compete with a rival architecture that's marketed largely on the basis of clock speed. It has tremendous bus bandwidth, pushing effective bus rates to 900MHz and peak data bandwidth to 6.4GB/s."

The full report is available to Microprocessor Report subscribers only.