microprocessor ever built in Powerful New Computer
21]LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM/ IBM (NYSE: 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.
IBM Test Manufacturing Technician B.J. Barrett tests POWER6 microprocessors
at the company's Burlington, Vermont facility. IBM today launched
its first POWER6-based systems that set new benchmarks for speed,
energy efficiency and virtualization capabilities.
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.
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.
The POWER6 Chip: a Convention-Shattering Design
The POWER6 chip in the new IBM System p™ 570 server
owns a number of industry “firsts.” It is the first UNIX microprocessor
able to calculate decimal floating point arithmetic in hardware.
Until now, calculations involving decimal numbers with floating
decimal points were done using software. The built-in decimal floating
point capability gives tremendous advantage to enterprises running
complex tax, financial and ERP programs.
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, the IBM breakthrough is driven by
a host of technical achievements scored during the five-year research
and development effort to develop the POWER6 chip. These include:
* A dramatic improvement in the way instructions
are executed inside the chip. IBM scientists increased chip performance
by keeping static the number of pipeline stages – the chunks of
operations that must be completed in a single cycle of clock time
-- but making each stage faster, removing unnecessary work and doing
more in parallel. As a result, execution time is cut in half or
energy consumption is reduced.
* Separating circuits that can’t support low
voltage operation onto their own power supply “rails,” allowing
IBM to dramatically reduce power for the rest of the chip. * Voltage/frequency
“slewing,” enabling the chip to lower electricity consumption by
up to 50 percent, with minimal performance impact.
* A new 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. The chip has configurable bandwidth,
enabling customers to choose maximum performance or minimal cost
The POWER6 chip includes additional techniques
to conserve power and reduce heat generated by POWER6 processor-based
servers. Processor clocks can be dynamically turned off when there
is no useful work to be done and turned back on when there are instructions
to be executed.
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.
World’s first UNIX server with active virtual
Also announced today, IBM is unveiling an industry-first
with a new 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. While competing offerings require a disruptive reboot of the
UNIX system and software stack, IBM is the first vendor to help
clients optimize resource utilization on a broader scale by allowing
administrators to think of large groups of servers as a fluid resource
rather than focusing on each server as a single entity with a dedicated
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 new System p POWER6 processor-based servers into their