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x86, watch out: PowerPC is coming!

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In all the hoopla in the last couple of weeks about the new game consoles announced at E3 by Sony (PS3), Microsoft (XBOX 360) and Nintendo (Revolution), one item has received little attention: every one of them runs on PowerPC chips.

Am I the only one that finds this significant? Think about it: every console after 2006 will have a PowerPC chip in it, all of them multi-core. Cell, the processor in the PS3, will have nine processing cores. (Intel is just now getting to release Pentium Extreme Edition with two cores.)

Compared to the PC market, the console market is small (about 15 million units a year I think). But Apple is also running PowerPCs, and with consoles clearly positioning as favorites for the "home media center" title (and Apple expected to do something along those lines with the Mac Mini), this seems like the beginning of an important shift, and I suspect it will become pretty significant over time. Intel in particular has been struggling to extend beyond their core market of PCs, and this is clearly another blow to them, and is under pressure from AMD as well.

IBM! Think back to its position in 1995... the tech industry certainly has surprises in store for everyone. :)

PS: btw, the PS3's specs just blow the XBOX 360 out of the water (just in terms of processing power, it's 2 TFlops against 1, and it has amazing compatibility, integration with PSP, bluetooth, BluRay DVD, and more). Now the question is whether the early launch of XBOX will make up for that or not...

Categories: technology
Posted by diego on May 25, 2005 at 9:23 PM

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