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IBM to ship fastest chip


Johannesburg, 06 Sep 2010
Read time 2min 10sec

IBM has unveiled what it calls the world's fastest computer chip, the microprocessor in a new version of its mainframe.

The chip comes with a 5.2GHz four-core 45nm processor and 1.4 billion transistors.

IBM says the chip speed is necessary for businesses managing huge workloads, such as banks and retailers. “As the world becomes increasingly more interconnected, data has grown beyond the world's storage capacity, and business transactions continue to skyrocket,” the company adds.

According to a study by business intelligence company Berg Insight, the number of active users of mobile banking and related financial services worldwide is forecasted to increase from 55 million in 2009 to 894 million in 2015.

“Such trends are driving the need for innovations in systems that can help businesses to take advantage of them, to provide new services and develop new business models,” IBM said in a statement.

The company also released the new zEnterprise technology, as a result of investments totalling more than $1.5 billion in research and development, as well as more than three years of collaboration with organisations worldwide.

The mainframe processor is driven by IBM's embedded DRAM technology, which allows dense DRAM caches, or components, on the same chips as high-speed microprocessors, resulting in improved performance.

According to IBM, from a performance standpoint, the zEnterprise system is the most powerful commercial system ever.

“The core server in the zEnterprise System called zEnterprise 196 contains 96 of the world's fastest, most powerful microprocessors, capable of executing more than 50 billion instructions per second.

“That is roughly 17 000 times more instructions than the Model 91 - the high-end of IBM's popular System/360 family - could execute in 1970.” the company adds.

Describing the new microprocessor technology, IBM says it has software to optimise performance of data-heavy workloads, including an up to 60% improvement in data-intensive and Java workloads.

The company also claims the new system offers 60% more capacity than its predecessor, the System z10, while using almost the same amount of electricity.

“Energy efficiencies were achieved through advances in microprocessor design, 45nm silicon technology, more efficient power conversion and distribution, as well as advanced sensors and cooling control firmware that monitors and makes adjustments based on environmental factors such as temperature and humidity levels and even air density,” reveals IBM.

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