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A quick look at the program outline for the International Solid State Circuits Conference reveals Power6 chips faster than 5GHz, Cell chips faster than 6GHz and 80-core Intel processors

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Many believe that the race for GHz ended with the Pentium 4 architecture, but you wouldn’t be able to tell by looking at the speed of these two upcoming IBM processors. According to the agenda of the International Solid State Circuits conference, IBM’s Power6 Processor will operate at speeds of over 5GHz in high-performance applications. The second-generation of the Cell Broadband Engine processor, which was co-developed by IBM, Sony and Toshiba, will run at 6GHz.  More details of Intel's "teraflop-on-a-chip" network processor will also be revealed.

The ISSCC2007 advanced program (PDF) claims IBM Power6 server processors are expected to begin shipping in 2007. Although it has been widely believed that the processors will run at a clock frequency between 4GHz and 5GHz, information provided by IBM for the ISSCC agenda states otherwise. The processor will run at over 5GHz in “high-performance applications” while also running at under 100 watts in “power sensitive applications.”’

IBM states that the Power6 offers “ultra-high frequency operation, aggressive power reduction, a highly scalable memory subsystem, and mainframe-like reliability, availability, and serviceability.” The dual-core 341 square millimeter processor features 700 million transistors. It is constructed using a 65-nanometer manufacturing process.

The ISSCC program also revealed technical details of the second generation IBM, Sony and Toshiba Cell Broadband Engine.  The first generation of the chip, which is currently used in the Sony PlayStation 3, runs at frequencies up to 3.2GHz. The second generation chip, on the other hand, will receive a frequency boost of nearly 3GHz and have an operating frequency of 6GHz at 1.3V. In addition, it will be constructed using 65nm CMOS SOI technology and will feature a dual power supply helping increase memory performance.

Despite IBM’s evident advancements in clock speed, Intel will still be holding firm to its multi-core approach to performance. According to the program schedule for ISSCC, Intel will reveal more details regarding its 80-core Tera-scale processor which can run 1.28 trillion floating-point operations per second.

Described as a “network-on-chip architecture,” the 225 square millimeter chip has 80 cores, each operating at 4GHz. The die is built using a 65nm process and is able to “achieve a peak performance of 1.0TFLOPS at 1V while dissipating 98W.” Currently, the processor is not able to run conventional applications for Intel chips.

Even though the chip is currently little more than a prototype, Intel CEO Paul Otellini claims it will be available within five years. The processor was first announced last September at the Intel Developer Forum.

The International Solid-State Circuits Conference will be taking place February 11-15 at the San Francisco Marriott Hotel. Other notable appearances will be given by Sun Microsystems, who will be discussing its Niagara2 processors, and AMD, who will be talking about its quad-core Barcelona processors expected to ship mid-2007.

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By thepinkpanther on 1/5/2007 7:13:05 AM , Rating: 2
Comdrpopnfresh: have you ever seen a game test where a 3.7 ghz pentium beats a e6800 in oblivion which runs dual core..... never.

I do follow you in the sence that when a program is just written for single core than you dont feel more than the same speed. I would argue my e6600 is just as fast as the 3.7 due to better chip, lower nm etc. But when the gamefirms etc start to make games with dual-quad etc games there is just no one on earth that would even think on single core processors.

Just imagine if we get games that are optimised to deliver the workloads to different cores. Like EA when making a game distribute the sound to core 1, the background graphics to core 2, the character animation to core 3 etc etc. Its gonna be INSANE fast.

The biggest obstacle is getting programs and games that are written to take advantage of multicore systems. I also believe in the future the programs can themselves detech your system and take advantage of it.

Single core machines has looked great and beat the multicores but its over with modern games and soon even the most die hard fans of the old single core machines is gone too.

The biggest fear is how much power does each core use. The current use of watts is not good enough. imagine that 80 core system with 75 watts per core..... 6000

But perhaps you can shot cores down in real time... I need only 10 for this job. so the 70 other is sleeping so to say and if intel gets it down to a third in power use its still around 2kw but its possible with better and better psu´s etc.

RE: c2d
By masher2 on 1/5/2007 7:47:08 AM , Rating: 3
> "if intel gets it down to a third in power use its still around 2kw but its possible with better and better psu´s etc."

No PSU in the US is going to supply 2kW unless its hardwired to mains. There's a 15A limit on plugs and receptacles, which (assuming an 80% efficient PSU) limits you to around 1300W.

RE: c2d
By MrBungle123 on 1/5/2007 2:18:13 PM , Rating: 2
that's not true, there are 20A 120V receptacles available. They have a sort of sideways T for the hot side and are compatable with standard 2 and 3 prong residential electrical equipment.

RE: c2d
By masher2 on 1/5/2007 2:29:05 PM , Rating: 2
> "there are 20A 120V receptacles available..."

Sure, and there are also 30A and 50A ones. However, the standard NEMA 5-15 plug and receptacle (found on 99.9% of all 125VAC US households and equipment) is limited to 15 amps. So as I said, you're not going to see desktop computers utilizing more than 15A anytime in the next couple decades. No one is going to rewire their home simply to be able to buy a faster PC.

Servers, now, are a different story, many of which already ship with power needs far above 15A, and thus require special wiring to utilize.

RE: c2d
By Comdrpopnfresh on 1/5/2007 4:28:49 PM , Rating: 2
i agree with you almost completely. But what if the concept of what a 'modern' game is were to be changed? What if it wasn't the job of developers to make their software adapt to efficiently run dualcore?
IMO, it would be far more efficient, power, and adaptive to make a multicore chip that can (ON THE HARDWARE LEVEL) teem processors where needed to , and turn off the others like you said. This would allow for sheer speed in single processes. The same chip would be able to teem sets of a few processors to make less, faster ones- where some multitasking is needed, but not on an 80-core scale. Or it could flat-out run all the processors at default for things like rendering- everyone would win here.
The processor would adapt to meet the needs of the task, instead of software and users having to adapt to hardware, which is almost always obsolete as soon as it is sold. Considering the fact that revisions to hardware are so frequent, is it not to much to ask that the hardware adapt to the market instead of the other way around?

"Nowadays you can buy a CPU cheaper than the CPU fan." -- Unnamed AMD executive
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