Power6, the World's Fastest Processor

4.7 gigahertz

Stop the presses and prepare for the ultimate jaw-dropping. IBM has launched the world's fastest microprocessor even built. The new dual-core Power6 has a frequency of ...drums and fireworks... 4.7 gigahertz. Take that Intel!

As the press release says, 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.

The Power6 processor is built using IBM's state-of-the-art 65 nanometer process technology and aside from the huge 4.7 frequency, it also scores another first. IBM says that this 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 company adds.

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.

IMB also announced an ultra-powerful new computer server, the System p 570, which 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", the press release mentions.

It appears that IBM's new 2- to 16-core server is not too shabby either, since it offers three times the performance per core of the HP Superdome machine. And the main reason for this performance is the processor speed of the Power6 chip, nearly three times faster than the latest Itanium processor that runs HP's server line.

IBM continues to compare its server to HP's and says that when it comes to processor bandwidth, the Power6 chip offers 300 gigabytes per second, enough to download the entire iTunes catalog in about 60 seconds; 30 times faster than HP's Itanium.

Too bad Apple and IBM are no longer working together. I would have liked a Mac workstation powered by the Power6 monster.

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