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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

IBM Unveils 64-Bit Processors

NEW YORK -- In a widely anticipated move, International Business Machines Corp. has introduced computers ranging from workstations to the most powerful computers, based on the new PowerPC technology.


IBM has been trying to establish the technology, developed jointly with Motorola Inc. and Apple Computer Inc., as an industry standard.


The new IBM machines, unveiled Tuesday, include the first use of a 64-bit version of the Power PC chip. A 64-bit chip processes information in strings of data twice as long as a 32-bit chip does.


All other current Power PC chips and most rival products are 32-bit chips.


Among the newest IBM machines was a new desktop RS/6000 PowerPC workstation, priced in the United States at $3,995 and designed for home or office use.


The RS/6000 is designed to match similar models developed by two of IBM's main rivals, Sun Microsystems and Hewlett-Packard Co. IBM said the low-cost workstation is targeted at desktop publishing and users of two-dimensional graphics systems.


IBM also introduced a wide range of enhancements, including three new PowerPC servers, designed for business customers. Servers are computers that link other computers together in a network.


IBM said the three new servers using the PowerPC chip are aimed at the commercial computing market for on-line transactions, such as banks and insurance companies.


The new PowerPC-based servers will begin at $40,900, for a model with two processors, and go up to $83,900. The systems will be available to customers on a limited basis beginning in the fourth quarter, with more availability beginning in first quarter of 1995. IBM also introduced a two-processor version of the SP2 high-end computer, designed for scientific and commercial applications, called the POWERparallel Systems SP2(a).


At $145,000, this computer is designed for scientific applications and is now more than 60 percent cheaper than previous entry models, IBM said from its Armonk, N.Y., headquarters.


"With this announcement, we are making our POWERparallel family smaller and bigger, cheaper, faster and better," said Ben Barnes, IBM Power Parallel Systems assistant general manager. "Our first Power Parallel Systems have been available only a year and already we have 160 shipped or installed worldwide," he said.


Analysts said IBM's new product introductions represent a chance to regain momentum for its Power PC-based products after it said last month that it would delay the introduction of its long-awaited Power PC-based personal computers because of a lack of available software.


At the time, Apple's Power Macintosh was the only PC in the market using the chip.


Motorola, new to the hardware market, is selling its new Power PC machines under its own name and through resellers. The computers are expected to be priced at about $3,800 and up.