Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 29th Dec 2006 21:35 UTC
IBM Judging by details revealed in a chip conference agenda, the clock frequency race isn't over yet. IBM's Power6 processor will be able to exceed 5 gigahertz in a high-performance mode, and the second-generation Cell Broadband Engine processor from IBM, Sony and Toshiba will run at 6GHz, according to the program for the International Solid State Circuits Conference that begins February 11 in San Francisco.
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RE[7]: Uh-Oh
by rayiner on Sat 30th Dec 2006 20:27 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Uh-Oh"
rayiner
Member since:
2005-07-06

There is a really informative new presentation on Power6 here:
http://www2.hursley.ibm.com/decimal/IBM-Power-Roadmap-McCredie.pdf

It reveals some details that I haven't seen published before, specifically the fact that the core isn't really any narrower than Power5+: Power6 has 2 integer units, 2 FPUs, one branch unit, presumably 2 load-store units because of the dual-ported data cache, and is 7-issue over two threads and 5-issue on one thread.

In response to your point, you're right that Power6 seems very scalable for IBM's server line. It looks like its going to go from blade systems all the way up to very huge servers. However, the thing to keep in mind is that even the cut-down configuration of Power6 puts it in the high-end Opteron/Xeon range from a system architecture point of view. A half-width memory bus on one controller is still in quad-channel FB-DIMM territory, and even a quarter-width elastic I/O bus is still in Hypertransport territory. And of course the core is still huge, with 4MB of L2 per core, and on-chip L3 directories, etc. Such a system is pushing it even for a hypothetical $5000-range PowerMac, much less a $1500 iMac ;)

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[8]: Uh-Oh
by andrewg on Sat 30th Dec 2006 21:14 in reply to "RE[7]: Uh-Oh"
andrewg Member since:
2005-07-06

Maybe smaller still. If I remember correctly it can be configured without L3 and the L2 cache is twice the size of the admittedly big 2 meg per core cache found on the current Core 2 Duo chips - some of them anyway.

I realise that Apple really had no where to turn, they had to go with x86 or end up using chips which were designed with other purposes in mind. Actually they had already been doing that for years and it was starting to hurt and get worse.

But it is also interesting to see that the Power6 comes with Altivec. Does Altivec have much use in servers or more accurately server application software?

Reply Parent Score: 1