Ever since the launch of the G4 line, Apple has used the phrase "faster than light" to describe the new CPU.
Until yesterday, that is.
Following the publication of this satirical piece, Apple changed the blurb for its new dual-processor PowerMacs from this
[You can click on each thumbnail to enlarge.] We'd have preferred a hybrid: Faster than Soup!", but for now, this must do.
Apple readers have explained how the company began to use this absurd description.
"The inital 500MHz G4 cranked a theorical 2.7 Gigaflops, so each instruction takes less than 1/2,700,000,000 seconds to process. The speed of light is 300,000 km/s, therefore light travels 11.1 cm during each instruction cycle...
Now, how far back do you sit from your monitor? More than that I hope. So while the computer computes, the light from your monitor does not reach your eyes, hence their 'faster than light' claim. Silly but cute." explains JF Paradis.
" Electrons normally travel through wire (and silicon) at roughly 1/3 the speed of light. But in a processor the electron stream is split into multiple paths so that various parts of the chip can be doing different things at the same time. This means that the total distance by traveled by electrons per unit time is in fact much much greater than the speed of light. QED." Thanks to Peter Beery.
Several of you wrote to correct our interpretation of the Special Theory that "to travel faster than light requires an infinite amount of energy"
" No it doesn't. It states that to accelerate to the speed of light requires an infinite amount of energy, he mentions nothing about travelling faster than the speed of light, he just implies that for this to be possible the object wanting to travel at this speed would have to be created already travelling at that speed...." writes Rob Walter. John Bridges made the same point.
" The idea would be that if they could get the pulse to race around faster than light, then they could keep distant parts of the chip in tighter sync. For the details of what kind of conditions they need to create for that do a search for "anomalous dispersion". This would be useful for clocks, but useless if you wanted to actually move information around. For instance sending bits to and from memory is, as far as our physics can tell, limited in speed by Einstein." adds Ben Tilly
Scott Friedland is amongst several who think we taking liberties. Well of course we were. But the fact is, he writes:-
" Quantium motion is the typical motion of all particles through space. It is comprised of a series of descrete instantious (or effectively instant) jumps from one position in space to another. The events which appear to be FTL are actually situations were one or more quantium jumps are superlarge - big enough to measured in our world - instead a few particle diameters a few inches or a few feet - they are both allows under relativity and instant. This doesn't violate Einstein, rather it makes use of an exception that he himself noted - e.g. the theory of relativity is about normal (e.g. small) quantium motion at high speeds, not about the quantium motion.
"This situation more closely resembles what Einstein was describing in his theories. It is a major turn in quantum physics - a whole generation of theoretical thinking is going out the window. Or, to put it another way, one which Einstein would have liked, if a tree falls in the forest it does make a sound. And, the state of the cat is independent of the observer.
"Einstein said that faster than light motion is impossible, he also said the instant motion isn't covered under his theory. Both have been observed."
The funniest observation came from North Carolina:-
" You mention that Apple's faster-than-light speeds would allow time travel," writes J Greenberg of Winston Salem, NC. " Perhaps that's their corporate strategy for dealing with Moto's ongoing violation of Moore's law?"
" Using my new 'faster than light' Dual Ghz PowerMac G4, I was able to have already read this article a day early. Excellent writing! And I can tell you the stuff you are going to write for tomorrow is absolutely fantastic!!"
Bob - flattery will get you anywhere.
However Apple still has ambitions to rewrite physics, however, as Simon Linsey pointed out.
"Combined with a new system controller, L3 Cache, DDR-SDRAM and Mac OS X Jaguar, the dual Power PC G4 chips in every new Power Mac G4 seem to bend the space-time continuum [our emphasis] to deliver results almost before you ask.
For Walt Mossberg, the space-time continuum bends into ecstatic shapes with every Apple Computer he gets sent to review. But the rest of us just have to close our eyes ... and dream. ®