IBM Rolls Out New Power7 Processors

IBM has revealed its new Power7 processor architecture as well as a number of systems based on the chip, designed and built by Big Blue at its East Fishkill plant in New York, and will complement and replace the Power6 and Power6+ models over the next few months.

Big blue has managed to throw a few elements from the Cell Architecture that was co-developed with Toshiba and Sony and currently resides as the Cell processor in the Playstation 3 Gaming console (and a number of other lesser-known devices).

The Power7 is a massive beast, one with 1.2 billion transistors, eight cores per processor with four threads giving the OS potentially 32 threads to play with. Build using a 45nm manufacturing process, it has a 32kB L1 cache, 256kB L2 cache and a whopping 32MB L3 Cache.

IBM Power7's will run at speeds above 4GHz, making it one of the fastest commercial processors around. In comparison, Xeon processors from rival Intel have significantly less threads to play with; the Xeon X5680 which will be launch in March 2010 will "only" have 12 threads.

Furthermore, a new feature, called TurboCore, will allow cores at the top speed and boost performance by up to 20 percent depending on the applications being run.

Three systems, the Power 780, 770 and 755, will be built using the Power7 processor and will go head to head against Intel's Xeon and Itanium processors as well as Oracle/Sun's SPARC models.

Our Comments

There has been reports over the last few years that AMD and IBM would be sharing the same sockets as far as high end computing would be concerned. We still think that sooner or later, IBM will buy AMD just to keep Intel on its toes and recapture some of its former hardware glory.

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