The X704 processor has strong backing from Apple, which is expected to use it in future very-high-performance Macintosh computers.
"The Exponential X704 has the potential to redefine PC multimedia computing and bring a major competitive advantage to the PowerPC platform," said Satjiv Chahil, senior vice president of marketing at Apple.
Sample versions of the processor will ship in the first quarter of 1997 and production versions in the second quarter. When it ships, it is expected to have clock speeds about twice that of Intel P6 family processors shipping at that time.
It will be pricey at first. The Exponential X704 will be priced at the $1,000 price point for large volume production orders. The X704 will also be available in 500 MHz and 466 MHz versions, the company said.
The Exponential processor is based on a radical design.
The main circuits of the chip use very-high-speed bipolar technology, as opposed to mainstream PC processors today, which consist mostly of a slower technology known as CMOS.
However, CMOS is used for a good reason: it offers a nice balance between speed and power consumption, which translate into heat. Pure bipolar technology, while delivering show-stopping speed, comparatively consumes a tremendous amount of power at high clock speeds and gives off an inordinate amount of heat.
But Exponential claims it has a handle on this. The company said it has done extensive testing in desktop and deskside boxes with typical air cooling.