Next-gen chip wars: breaking the speed limit

runnerIf even the current generation of processors are not fast enough for you, you might be interested to know the next batch could ship bundled with seat-belts.

Leading the pack is the second-generation Cell Broadband Engine processor from IBM, Sony, and Toshiba. The first-generation Cell in Sony’s PS3 has been clocked at 4GHz. This second-generation chip will zip by at 6GHz. Built for speed, yes, but it will also have a dual power supply for higher memory performance.

Behind the second-gen Cell is IBM’s Power6 processor. This speed demon packs 700 million transistors inside a 341 square millimeters and can exceed 5 GHz when running in high-performance mode. Designed for servers, the Power6 consumes less than 100 watts in power-sensitive applications. That puts it in the same neighborhood as the 95-watt AMD Opteron chips and 80-watt Intel Xeon chips.

Intel’s electronic racehorse is a prototype chip with 80 cores that can perform 1.28 trillion calculations per second. The chip measures 275 square millimeters and will run at 4GHz. It has 100 million transistors and dissipates 98 watts of waste heat.

Sun Microsystems has the Niagara 2 processor. The chip measures 342 square millimeters with 500 million transistors. Its eight-core design can run 64 simultaneous sequences of instructions.

runnerIf even the current generation of processors are not fast enough for you, you might be interested to know the next batch could ship bundled with seat-belts.

Leading the pack is the second-generation Cell Broadband Engine processor from IBM, Sony, and Toshiba. The first-generation Cell in Sony’s PS3 has been clocked at 4GHz. This second-generation chip will zip by at 6GHz. Built for speed, yes, but it will also have a dual power supply for higher memory performance.

Behind the second-gen Cell is IBM’s Power6 processor. This speed demon packs 700 million transistors inside a 341 square millimeters and can exceed 5 GHz when running in high-performance mode. Designed for servers, the Power6 consumes less than 100 watts in power-sensitive applications. That puts it in the same neighborhood as the 95-watt AMD Opteron chips and 80-watt Intel Xeon chips.

Intel’s electronic racehorse is a prototype chip with 80 cores that can perform 1.28 trillion calculations per second. The chip measures 275 square millimeters and will run at 4GHz. It has 100 million transistors and dissipates 98 watts of waste heat.

Sun Microsystems has the Niagara 2 processor. The chip measures 342 square millimeters with 500 million transistors. Its eight-core design can run 64 simultaneous sequences of instructions.

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