Wednesday, February 08, 2006

A chip off the block

Super Bowl Sunday is the day of the greatest consumption of chips and beer during the year. This year was no different (congratulations to the Pittsburgh and all the Steelers fans, by the way). The question for all of us is–after all this consumption, are we ready for more chips and faster chips?

Ready or not, here it comes: IBM unveils super-fast microprocessor; the new Power6 chip which will run at speeds of 4-to-5 gigahertz. Wow, I need some of that.

In comparison to the current Intel Corp.'s Itanium 2 server processor that tops out at 1.66 gigahertz. The Pentium 4 for desktops currently reaches speeds of 3.8 gigahertz vs. the new IBM processor running at a blazing 4-to-5 gigahertz.

IBM's upcoming Power6 is multicore and designed for higher-end servers running the Unix operating system. The chip is created from the ground up to run fast without major losses in power efficiency, said Bernard Meyerson, chief technologist of IBM's Systems and Technology Group. "In Power6, we basically combined everything we could (throw) at it in terms of fundamental atoms and molecules all the way out to what we knew would be the software that would run on top of that system," he said.

IBM presented the new chip at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference in San Francisco this week. The details of the chip will not be available until next year. Let’s see how Intel reacts to this news in the next few months.


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