IBM’s Power6 processor to exceed 5GHz

Apple may have gone Intel, but fans of the megahertz wars can still watch the clock frequency race cause it ain’t over yet. As reported by CNET, IBM’s Power6 processor will be able to exceed 5GHz in a high-performance mode, and the second-generation Cell Broadband Engine processor from IBM, Sony and Toshiba will run at 6GHz, according to the program for the International Solid State Circuits Conference that begins February 11 in San Francisco.

IBM, of course, once made PowerPC chips for Macs, and the Cell processor was once seen as a future chip for Apple systems. The first-generation Cell Broadband Engine chip, co-developed by IBM, Sony, and Toshiba, has just appeared in Sony’s PlayStation 3 game console and can run at 4GHz. The second-generation chip will run at 6GHz, according to the ISSCC program. In addition, the new chip will have a dual power supply that increases memory performance—a major bottleneck in computer designs today.

For servers, IBM has said its Power6 processor, due to ship in servers in 2007, will run between 4GHz and 5GHz, notes CNET. But in the ISSCC program, the company said the chip’s clock will tick at a rate “over 5GHz in high-performance applications.” In addition, the chip “consumes under 100 watts in power-sensitive applications,” a power range comparable to mainstream 95-watt AMD Opteron chips and 80-watt Intel Xeon chips.

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