High-end server chips breaking records

How would you like a single-chip microprocessor with more than four times the performance (on some applications) of Intel’s best Core i7?

Then consider that up to 32 of these chips can be directly connected to form a single server, achieving four times the built-in scalability of Intel’s next-generation Nehalem-EX processor.

That’s IBM’s widely anticipated Power7, which it described at last week’s Hot Chips conference. But if you’re interested, you’d better be prepared to spend a lot more than four times as much per chip. IBM isn’t talking about pricing, but large Power servers can cost more than $10,000 per processor.

IBM Power7 die photo

IBM’s forthcoming Power7 server processor has eight cores, manages 32 threads, and includes 32MB of on-chip embedded DRAM cache. Power7 also has the highest levels of off-chip bandwidth ever achieved by a microprocessor.

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