IBM claims processor speed record

IBM has claimed it has made the world's fastest computer chip, and will start shipping it on September 10th.

The US computing pioneer says its zEnterprise system clocks in at 5.2GHz without the need for elaborate liquid nitrogen cooling systems, fire extinguishers or asbestos underpants.

Based on the outfit's 45nm technology, the quad-core slab of z196 silicon contain 1.4 billion transistors and can munch through 50 billion instructions per second.

The chips were designed by IBM's New York team, although they tip a wink to R&D departments in Texas, Israel and India for their contributions.

Don't expect to see these turning up in a gaming rig any time soon, however, as they are firmly aimed at the scientific mainframe market and are likely to cost more limbs than most of us can spare.