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IBM Hardware

IBM's New Processors To Exceed 5Ghz 250

Jordin Normisky writes to mention the news, via ZDNet Asia, that IBM's new Power6 processor will be unveiled next month at a conference in San Francisco. They're also planning to announce a second-generation Cell, both of which are expected to run faster than 5GHz. From the article: "In addition, the [Power6] chip 'consumes under 100 watts in power-sensitive applications,' a power range comparable to mainstream 95-watt AMD Opteron chips and 80-watt Intel Xeon chips. Power6 has 700 million transistors and measures 341 square millimeters, according to the program. The smaller that a chip's surface area is, the more that can be carved out of a single silicon wafer, reducing per-chip manufacturing costs and therefore making a computer more competitive. Power6, like the second-generation Cell, is built with a manufacturing process with 65-nanometer circuitry elements, letting more electronics be squeezed onto a given surface area. "
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IBM's New Processors To Exceed 5Ghz

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  • by larry bagina ( 561269 ) on Thursday January 04, 2007 @03:40PM (#17463088) Journal
    Usually from the bell-end of Apple. I wonder if IBM's fab plants can cash the check their PR department writes.
  • by lessthanjakejohn ( 766177 ) on Thursday January 04, 2007 @03:43PM (#17463150)
    If new technology presents itself, we may go back to that "stage"
  • by mr_stinky_britches ( 926212 ) on Thursday January 04, 2007 @03:43PM (#17463152) Homepage Journal
    But do they achieve a comparable amount of work per cycle?

    Wi-Fizzle Research []
  • by User 956 ( 568564 ) on Thursday January 04, 2007 @03:45PM (#17463202) Homepage
    They're also planning to announce a second-generation Cell, both of which are expected to run faster than 5GHz.

    Why don't they seem to be making any kind of performance comparisons? Talking about physical size, power consumption as compared to intel & AMD are great, but it seems weird that there's no mention of real-world performance against those same competitors. Even a rough estimate would be interesting.
  • by SengirV ( 203400 ) on Thursday January 04, 2007 @04:00PM (#17463478)
    Exactly, Has IBM yet hit the 3.0 GHz they promised Apple 3 years ago?
  • by Binder ( 2829 ) on Thursday January 04, 2007 @04:03PM (#17463534)
    With Intel's chips that was becoming increasingly true. But for IBM's power processors more clock does indeed mean faster. The Power line already outperformed Intel per clock. With the increase in clock things may get very interesting.
  • Size matters (Score:5, Insightful)

    by overshoot ( 39700 ) on Thursday January 04, 2007 @04:08PM (#17463618)
    Once the "first chip" is made the margin cost is VERY low.

    Boy, Howdy! are you out of the loop. I work on those suckers and believe you me, the chip cost is not trivial.

    Do the math: the cost of a 300 mm wafer in a 65 nm process runs well over $5000 (how much is a Deep Dark Secret.) Ignoring geometric yield loss, that's about 70,000 mm of potential dice per. If one chip is 350 square mm, you're getting about 200 per wafer, or $25 per chip fab cost. Yield drops off steeply with size (think in terms of losing ten to twenty dice per wafer, regardless of die size) and that adds into the fab cost too.

    That's bare minimum, assuming there aren't any bad lots etc. It adds up fast.

  • by Slippery Pete ( 941650 ) on Thursday January 04, 2007 @04:16PM (#17463792)
    I would agree with you if these chips were being sold to the common user. As of right now, I'm not familiar with any "e-machines" that run the IBM Cell processor. I don't see what IBM has to gain if their 5Ghz processor isn't an improvement on AMD or Intel because both of those companies already have a substantial amout of the market for home users. I can only assume these chips will be used in high-end products only.
  • by Cutie Pi ( 588366 ) on Thursday January 04, 2007 @04:30PM (#17464062)
    Keep in mind that Power chips are used in high end servers, not commodity PCs. Given the expense of these servers, it's likely that the "OFMG 5GHZ!!!!111" reaction that typifies that commodity PC fanboy market does not apply. I doubt that IBM is sacrificing performance just to market 5GHz speeds (like Intel did with NetBurst).
  • by MrAnnoyanceToYou ( 654053 ) <dylan.dylanbrams@com> on Thursday January 04, 2007 @04:31PM (#17464074) Homepage Journal
    More importantly, not all programs with two hands know how to use either one of them.
  • by iPaul ( 559200 ) on Thursday January 04, 2007 @05:14PM (#17464768) Homepage
    In the world of technology a promise of more/better performance counts as much as a drunken "I love you." One reason why Apple jumped from PPC is that IBM failed to deliver a 3.0 Ghz chip within a reasonable time frame (in the PPC970 series) and completely failed on delivering a laptop chip. Believe it when you actually see shipping servers.
  • Re:Macintoshes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nwhitehorn ( 1044658 ) on Thursday January 04, 2007 @05:15PM (#17464786)
    It was never about performance per se -- there are plenty of faster things out there than the Core 2 Duo. IBM will be happy to sell you some of them, as will Sun or Fujitsu. Or Cray. All for the low price of $600k a machine.

    The issue is that IBM makes supercomputers, and Motorola makes cellphones, and they design their chips accordingly. Apple, making neither of these things, couldn't persuade either of them to make a low-power, fast, cheap CPU useful for a laptop and continue updating it with such a small market. Intel, on the other hand, spends most of their engineering effort trying to solve exactly this problem, and so has its business interests aligned with Apple's, as opposed to IBM or Motorola, who didn't really care about them at all, and would happily spend their R&D money on designing things like this chip instead of making a G5 that would fit in a laptop.
  • by hump_ ( 125049 ) on Thursday January 04, 2007 @05:20PM (#17464888)
    producing 65nm microcontrollers, and samsung is producing 50nm flash chips.

    Fair enough.

    But do these chips come with 32Mb of L3 Cache, have the fastest Fiber Channel Bus Interconnect in the market, and allow for extremely flexible, multi-platform OS true hardware virtualization?

    Performance comparisons between x86 and RISC chips in my opinion are really not valid. What you really want to look at is system workload. Scalability is where the POWER chips really perform and these chips are designed for the high-end server market.

    see for yourself []

  • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Thursday January 04, 2007 @05:57PM (#17465420) Journal
    This is IBM. They were the first people to do dual core. Now everyone is doing it, it's no longer worth talking about. Everyone else, however, is having problems getting past 3GHz, so this definitely is worth shouting about.
  • by RzUpAnmsCwrds ( 262647 ) on Thursday January 04, 2007 @06:31PM (#17465956)
    K8L is going to bring IPC improvements to Opteron, along with L3 cache and native (single die) quad-core.

    AMD is all about the platform now. That's why they purchased ATI. It's about bringing CPU, GPU, and other specailized processors together using a fast, flexible bus (HyperTransport).

    AMD is also about low-cost. Remember that current Athlon 64 CPUs have about half as many transistors as their Core 2 Duo counterparts. CPU + GPU + Northbridge in a single CPU (AMD Fusion) will have huge impact in the low-end market.

    The fact is, 90% of the time, CPU performance doesn't matter anymore. Most applicaitons are either disk or user input bound now. The exceptions are media encoding/decoding (at the high end), scientific/technical computing (CAD/CAM, simulation, etc.), and gaming.
  • by imsabbel ( 611519 ) on Thursday January 04, 2007 @06:43PM (#17466142)
    Sorry, but these annoucements arent much more optimistic than the ones that were made before the launch of the G5.
    Lets see IBM actually roll out those babies, and look what yields they get, how cool they really run and in what ways the design has suffered to allow them to reach that kind of clockspeeds.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 05, 2007 @12:38AM (#17469618)
    Big endian is bass ackwards

    Big endian was around first!

    Converting back and forth continuously causes hardware and firmware people problems. Almost all protocols, and the embedded processors on adapters are big endian. At least in English with arabic numerals, when you write a number in hex on a piece of paper it is big endian. When you look at a big endian memory dump, it will match what is on the paper. When you look at a little endian memory dump, there's an extra, unneeded layer of complexity. You have to do the conversion on a per field basis. When 2 and 4 byte fields are mixed, it can be a PITA. So I think we should have stuck with everything being big endian.
  • by Khyber ( 864651 ) <> on Friday January 05, 2007 @02:47AM (#17470348) Homepage Journal
    Killer Product or App using an HTX-slot card? I can maybe answer the product part - HTX Graphics cards. Pure HyperTransport bus access, huge clock and loads of bandwidth, can literally be used as a universal bus across the entire system (using different pinouts for different types of devices, internal or external,) and maybe perhaps the bus has enough bandwidth (assuming programmers program cleverly and optimally,) to allow for massive things to occur at once, like running a rendering server, play a game, encode music/video, and encrypt stuff, all at the same time with not much of an overall performance hit.

    Killer app? Well, nothing unless it takes full advantage of the capabilities of the system and cards. Perhaps Blender will become the killer app for 3-d modeling/etc when it gets some native support or plugin. Who knows? It's all dependent upon what the programmers/management/company wants to support, there.

It's fabulous! We haven't seen anything like it in the last half an hour! -- Macy's