IBM unleashes microprocessor in computer server
IBM launched a microprocessor and a computer server that leverages the chip’s many breakthroughs in energy conservation and virtualization technology. 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. IBM’s 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. The processor speed of the POWER6 chip is nearly three times faster than the Itanium processor that runs H-P’s server line. The POWER6 chip has a total cache size of 8MB per chip – four times the POWER5 chip.
The POWER6 processor is built using IBM’s state-of-the-art 65 nanometer process technology. Coming at a time when some experts have predicted an end to Moore’s Law, which holds that processor speed doubles every 18 months. These include:
- An improvement in the way instructions are executed inside the chip. IBM scientists increased chip performance by keeping static the number of pipeline stages
- Separating circuits that can’t support low voltage operation onto their own power supply “rails.”
- Voltage/frequency “slewing.”
- A method of chip design that enables POWER6 to operate at low voltages, allowing the same chip to be used in low power blade environments as well as large, high-performance symmetric multiprocessing machines.
Power saving is also realized when the memory is not fully utilized, as power to parts of the memory not being utilized is dynamically turned off and then turned back on when needed. In cases where an over-temperature condition is detected, the POWER6 chip can reduce the rate of instruction execution to remain within an acceptable, user-defined temperature envelope. IBM plans to introduce the POWER6 chip throughout the System p and System i server lines.
IBM also announced feature that provides customers with the ability to move live virtual machines from one physical UNIX server to another while maintaining continuous availability. Coined the POWER6 Live Partition Mobility function, this technology — currently in beta, with general availability planned for later this year — enables customers to move active virtualized partitions without temporarily suspending them.
On the services front, IBM Global Technology Services announced implementation, migration & assessment service products that help clients shorten the time required to plan, implement and integrate System p POWER6 processor-based servers into their production environment.
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