"IBM is to release a version of the dual-core Power4 processor aimed at the desktop, and will disclosed details at Microprocessor Forum in October.
The new chip designed for "desktops and entry level servers", and will be an 8-way superscalar, SMP-ready design capable of 6.4GB/s throughput. Tantalisingly, the processor has it own "vector processing until implementing over 160 specialized vector instructions."
The "over 160" number is quite significant: the AltiVec vector unit for the PowerPC G4 has… 162 instructions.
Now why would IBM want to do create a desktop RISC processor? It needs to remain competitive with entry-level workstations against the likes of Sun and HP's Alpha, where the size and heat dissipation of the mighty POWER4 have kept it out of systems below $12,000. IBM's desktop workstations still run POWER3 (but then you can find UltraSPARC Iis in Sun's bargain basement)."