Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 27th Nov 2009 22:10 UTC
IBM "IBM likes to go on and on about the transaction processing power and I/O bandwidth of its System z mainframes, but now there is a new and much bigger kid on the block. Its name is the Power Systems IH supercomputing node, based on the company's forthcoming Power7 processors and a new homegrown switching system that blends optical and copper interconnects. The Power7 IH node was on display at the SC09 supercomputer trade show last week in Portland, Oregon, and El Reg was on hand to get the scoop from the techies who designed the iron. This server node is the heart of the 20 petaflop 'Blue Waters' supercomputer being installed at the University of Illinois."
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RE[3]: Comment by strim
by Drumhellar on Sun 29th Nov 2009 06:37 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by strim"
Drumhellar
Member since:
2005-07-12

I've yet to see an X86 chip that can match the power-to-performance ratio of the ppc,


You haven't been paying attention, then.

Steve Jobs said, in the 2006 MacWorld keynote, that Intel's Core Duo had 4x the performance/watt of the PowerPC chips they were using.

The numbers he gave place the G4 doing a tad better than 1/4th the performance/watt, and the G5 doing a little worse than 1/4th.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[4]: Comment by strim
by cerbie on Sun 29th Nov 2009 16:55 in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by strim"
cerbie Member since:
2006-01-02

It's a matter of perspective. As the clock speeds ramped up, the older versions do lack. However, the newer versions were quite impressive (like in the Mac Mini, later Macbooks, and now Freescale SoCs)...but the performance/watt, much like the Atom, is predicated on keeping the speed and voltage down, and thus the performance ceiling low. If you hunt benchmarks on the 'net, newer Macbook G4s are neck and neck with Atoms, using chips that are much older, and physically much bigger.

The G5 (970) was competitive, but not spectacular in any way, and it wasn't worth it for IBM to try to keep it up, as a part for Apple. It was really good in terms of throughput, but the K8 put the smack down on it in normal tasks (where, "smackdown," can be defined as, "this runs 5-10% faster on Linux/A64 v. OS X/G5, doesn't use much more power, and is way cheaper"), and it went downhill from there. Ironically, beefing up G4 (not based on a Power CPU), as Freescale did, might have been a better path to take, in hindsight.

Also, Apple cooked half their benchmarks, when they did the move. Many them were quite a ways off from what actual users could get. It's not that x86 are bad, but the G4 was quite a piece of work, and might still be in PC-like devices, updated with new names, if we had a fairer market.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[5]: Comment by strim
by tylerdurden on Mon 30th Nov 2009 17:51 in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by strim"
tylerdurden Member since:
2009-03-17

Except that is not the reality. The G4 pipeline was rather poorly partitioned, and the OOO structures were pretty mild. Both severely limited the scalation of the design. And that is exactly what happened.

A G4 is in no way shape or form comparable to a core2, even on a clock per clock basis.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[4]: Comment by strim
by Nicholas Blachford on Sun 29th Nov 2009 17:49 in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by strim"
Nicholas Blachford Member since:
2005-07-06

Steve Jobs said, in the 2006 MacWorld keynote, that Intel's Core Duo had 4x the performance/watt of the PowerPC chips they were using.

The numbers he gave place the G4 doing a tad better than 1/4th the performance/watt, and the G5 doing a little worse than 1/4th.


They were not comparing like with like. They were comparing a high end desktop chip with a mobile chip, a bit of a dodgy comparison.

As for the G4, same thing, they were comparing a new Intel with an old G4.

They also completely forgot to include PA Semi's chip, which is understandable because it would have completely destroyed their argument, it had better per/Watt than the Core2.

There is a word for this sort of thing, it's called marketing.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[5]: Comment by strim
by Drumhellar on Sun 29th Nov 2009 18:42 in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by strim"
Drumhellar Member since:
2005-07-12

They were comparing a high end desktop chip with a mobile chip,


He wasn't talking about desktop chips. Apple's Core Duo debut was in laptops, so it was a like with like comparion.

And even if Steve Jobs stretched the truth about performance, as he frequently does, the performance/watt is still significantly higher.

Reply Parent Score: 1