May 2, 1998: You Call It Altivec, I Call It Velocity Engine

by Chris Seibold May 02, 2011

The MHz wars were essentially over. While users argued about which chip was faster a consortium of Apple, IBM and Motorola went with the idea that the chip that could do more was superior.

In truth, IBM wanted to focus on the MHz but they were overruled by Apple and Motorola who wanted to focus on something special. The "something special" was an addition to the chip called Altivec, an enhancement that specialized in vector processing. Vector processing was seen as crucial to Apple's largest business market: graphic creation.

Apple, always mindful of public perception, renamed Altivec. Apple called it, with just a bit of hyperbole: "Velocity engine." The chip enhancement was the keystone for many Apple claims of chip superiority and was first announced by Motorola this week in 1998.


  • I’ve heard enough good things about the floating point and integer SIMD instruction set called Altivec. I like the name Apple gave it, Velocity Engine. While looking for a private cloud provider you can stumble upon many IT news and learn a lot:)

    ClaytonWind had this to say on Jun 14, 2011 Posts: 8
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