IBM Unveils Record-Breaking POWER6 Processor

IBM today simultaneously launched the fastest microprocessor ever built and an ultra-powerful new computer server that leverages the chip's many breakthroughs in energy conservation and virtualization technology. The new server is the first ever to hold all four major benchmark speed records for business and technical performance. At 4.7 GHz, the dual-core POWER6 processor doubles the speed of the previous generation POWER5 while using nearly the same amount of electricity to run and cool it. This means customers can use the new processor to either increase their performance by 100 percent or cut their power consumption virtually in half.

IBM's new 2- to 16-core server also offers three times the performance per core of the HP Superdome machine, based on the key TPC-C benchmark (2). The processor speed of the POWER6 chip is nearly three times faster than the latest HP Itanium processor that runs HP's server line. Even more impressive, the processor bandwidth of the POWER6 chip -- 300 gigabytes per second -- could download the entire iTunes catalog in about 60 seconds -- 30 times faster than HP's Itanium. But the new server offers more than just raw performance -- it is the world's most powerful midrange consolidation machine, containing special hardware and software that allows it to create many "virtual" servers on a single box. IBM calculates that 30 SunFire v890s can be consolidated into a single rack of the new IBM machine, saving more than $100,000 per year on energy costs (3). According to IDC, IBM has gained 10.4 points of UNIX revenue share in the past five years -- versus HP's loss of 5.3 points and Sun's loss of 1.4 points (4). IBM will use the new machine to target customers with less-efficient HP, Sun and Dell servers.

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News source: HPCWire

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Intel = mainstream credibility and exposure - exactly what Apple needed.

And it's just as likely that Intel will roll out something in a few months that'll blow IBM's offering out of the water, and have the production capacity to meet demand.

bankajac said,
Apple should have given the PowerPC more time.

Apple gave IBM YEARS to get PPC to this point. IBM was just too far behind at that point.

And for now it's just a server chip.

Besides, after the whole Motorola fiasco I'm sure Jobs has a processor contingency plan in place. But I doubt it'll have to be put in play anytime soon.

In any case, good for IBM. It's a nice technological step.

Apple probably knew about this processor long before they announced the switch to Intel. A lot of research goes into a decision like that; Steve Jobs didn't just wake up one day and think "hmm, maybe we should switch to Intel for the fun of it".

"the processor bandwidth of the POWER6 chip -- 300 gigabytes per second -- could download the entire iTunes catalog in about 60 seconds -- 30 times faster than HP's Itanium."

Seriously, we need to stop using music downloads as comparisons.

I can just imagine it: "Yeah my new processor is 2.4 gigasongs per second."