The Power7 chip has up to eight cores, with each core able to run four threads, IBM said. A Power7 chip can run 32 tasks simultaneously, which is quadruple the number of cores on the older Power6 chip. The Power7 will also run up to eight times more threads than Power6 cores.
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Power7 chips will run between 3.0GHz and 4.14GHz, said Ross Mauri, general manager of IBM's Power Systems unit, during a press event in New York on Monday. The chip will come with four, six or eight cores.
The chips are being made using the 45-nm process technology. The company has made memory-level improvements that should enable the processor to execute tasks faster.
Power7 systems will deliver twice the performance of older Power6 systems, but be four times more energy efficient, Mauri said. The systems will run operating systems including AIX and enterprise Linux offered by Red Hat and Suse.
The new chip also has TurboCore technology, which allows customers to crank up the speed of active cores for performance gains. The technology also puts memory and bandwidth from eight cores behind the four active cores to drive up the performance gains per core.
The company also launched four Power7-based servers. IBM Power 780 and Power 770 high-end servers are based on modular designs and come with up to 64 Power7 cores. The IBM Power 755 will support up to 32 Power7 cores. The company also launched the 750 Express server. The Power 750 Express and 755 will ship on Feb. 19, while the Power 770 and 780 will become available on March 16.
In addition to boosting performance, the Power7 servers can save more energy, IBM said. A technology called Unique Intelligent Energy allows parts of a system to be switched off to reduce power drawn. The technology also allows the processor clock speed to be cranked down on a single server or across a pool of multiple servers, which can reduce power consumed.
IBM representatives declined to provide server pricing, but said it would be competitively priced. The servers will deliver better performance and bang for the buck than existing Power6 systems, said Rod Adkins, senior vice president of IBM's Systems and Technology group.
IBM officials called the chip the "world's fastest processor," but emphasized that system performance will be measured by the ability to deliver "intelligent" performance.
"As we conceived this Power7 system... raw performance was a given. What you will see is a tremendous focus around ... intelligent performance," Adkins said. A mass of data will flood servers as computing expands to devices like mobile devices and smart meters, he said. This data will need to be collected, processed and analyzed on the fly. For example, collecting data will allow utilities to instantly analyze energy usage patterns, and new ways to acquire energy from multiple sources.