Apple, Intel, AMD go for speed

Apple, Intel, AMD go for speed

'Apple Computer Inc. unwrapped its new, slimmer iMac and Mac OS 9 last week. The latest iMac has a 350- or 400-MHz PowerPC G3 processor, 64M of RAM, a 56-Kbps modem, a 10/100-Mbps network interface, a choice of broadband connectivity port, a 15-inch monitor with flip foot and the Sherlock query engine. Some models incorporate DVD drives and iMovie software.

Also last week, Intel Corp. gave its long-awaited 64-bit Merced processor a brand name: Itanium. Full production will begin in mid-2000, and Intel officials said the Itanium's Explicitly Parallel Instruction Computing instruction set will handle multiple parallel operations and will deliver a maximum of 6 billion floating-point operations per second.

Meanwhile, rival Advanced Micro Devices Inc. of Sunnyvale, Calif., bumped up its x86 clone processor, the Athlon, to 700 MHz. AMD officials said Compaq Computer Corp. and IBM Corp. will build desktop PC systems around the chip. The Athlon has a 200-MHz system bus, 128K of on-chip Level 1 cache, a programmable backside Level 2 cache interface and new 3DNow instructions.

'Frank Tiboni, Susan M. Menke, Patricia Daukantas and Christopher J. Dorobek

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