Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

IBM Reveals World's Fastest Microprocessor: z196

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 62 comments

Sorry, this new 5.2 GHz processor wasn't designed for your desktop.

Tuesday during the Hot Chips 2010 conference, IBM revealed more details surrounding its 5.2 GHz microprocessor, the z196. The chip isn't designed for consumer consumption, but rather for the company's Z-series of mainframes. Its cost is estimated to be in the hundreds of thousands--perhaps even over a million bucks.

During the conference, IBM said that the processor is based on CISC architecture and contains 1.4 billion transistors on a 512 sq. mm chip fabricated on 45-nm PD SOI technology. The chip provides 64KB L1 instruction cache, 128KB L1 data cache, and 1.5MB private L2 cache per core. It also uses a pair of co-processors for cryptographic operations.

Additionally, a 4-node system uses 19.5MB of SRAM for L1 private cache, 144MB for L2 private cache, 576MB of eDRAM for L3 cache, and 768MB of eDRAM for a level-4 cache.

IBM engineer Brian Curran said Tuesday that the z196 uses 1079 different instructions. 75 of these instructions can be used by millicode (IBM's term for instructions internally executed by the processor) only, and 219 can be executed by millicode. An additional 24 instructions are "conditionally executed" by millicode.

Curran said that the z196 processor will be available sometime in September.

Display 62 Comments.
This thread is closed for comments
Top Comments
  • 29 Hide
    dalethepcman , August 26, 2010 11:21 PM
    You shouldn't publish articles about "The Matrix" the humans will begin asking questions
  • 27 Hide
    ikefu , August 26, 2010 11:31 PM
    1) Horrible for Crysis
    2) Great if you're trying to create a simulation of the entire universe
    3) Still not powerful enough to figure out what the hell the Microsoft Jerry Seinfeld TV ads were trying to sell
  • 26 Hide
    alchemy69 , August 26, 2010 11:26 PM
    Before anyone asks: No, it f****** won't play Crysis.
Other Comments
  • 12 Hide
    mlopinto2k1 , August 26, 2010 11:17 PM
    Uhhh.. what the hell do they use it for? How many cores does each chip contain?
  • 29 Hide
    dalethepcman , August 26, 2010 11:21 PM
    You shouldn't publish articles about "The Matrix" the humans will begin asking questions
  • 14 Hide
    demn , August 26, 2010 11:21 PM
    z196
    The mainframe cores are based on the z196 chip, a 5.2 GHz quad-core out-of-order CISC-based z/Architecture processor. They are the highest clock speed microprocessors available at the introduction date and, at least at introduction, the fastest CPUs in the world.[1] These cores can run a variety of operating systems in any combination, including z/OS, z/VM, Linux on System z, z/VSE, and z/TPF.
    A z196 node is a two rack system; the "A frame" consisting of the Central Processing Complex, cooling, none or one I/O drawer or up to two drawers and power supply and the "Z frame" with two system Support Elements and up to four I/O drawers or up to two I/O cages.
    Comes in five models, named after the number of processors: M15, M32, M49, M66 and M80.
    Up to 96 cores segmented to up to 80 processor units, up to 14 system assist cores and 2 spares.
    Up to 3 TB of RAIM (Redundant Array of Independent Memory), i.e 3.75 TB of RAM where 750 GB is used for parity redundancy. This function allows the system to recover from entire memory channel failures in addition to chipkills.
    Nodes can be either water or air cooled.
    Compatible with the previous z9 EC and z10 EC mainframes providing a clear upgrade path.
    (c) Wikipedia
  • 6 Hide
    phatboe , August 26, 2010 11:25 PM
    What exactly are these Z-Series mainframes used for and what OS is it running?
  • 26 Hide
    alchemy69 , August 26, 2010 11:26 PM
    Before anyone asks: No, it f****** won't play Crysis.
  • 3 Hide
    mikem_90 , August 26, 2010 11:27 PM
    Big Blue Boasts big business brain for biotech? But biome brooding becons big-time bits too!
  • -7 Hide
    Anonymous , August 26, 2010 11:29 PM
    I'd ask "but can it play Crysis," but the answer is obvious. In fact, it can probably orchestrate an actual alien invasion of Earth. Does this kind of tech actually reach later consumer processors, or is this just an extreme of current tech that will be expected to be superseded by the time consumer computing demands reach this level? Or is this entirely the wrong question?
  • 27 Hide
    ikefu , August 26, 2010 11:31 PM
    1) Horrible for Crysis
    2) Great if you're trying to create a simulation of the entire universe
    3) Still not powerful enough to figure out what the hell the Microsoft Jerry Seinfeld TV ads were trying to sell
  • 4 Hide
    borisof007 , August 26, 2010 11:31 PM
    Goddangit, Alchemy beat me to it
  • -7 Hide
    fayzaan , August 26, 2010 11:34 PM
    fastest internets in tha worlds!
  • 6 Hide
    the_krasno , August 26, 2010 11:38 PM
    I think it's not going to be very big on bang for the buck...
  • 8 Hide
    cookoy , August 26, 2010 11:40 PM
    Install Vista and it will crawl.
  • 2 Hide
    Mr Pizza , August 26, 2010 11:56 PM
    wow... AWESOME imagine 3Ds MAX render times
  • 12 Hide
    alexapi32 , August 27, 2010 12:04 AM
    This is a stock speed.
  • 7 Hide
    mikem_90 , August 27, 2010 12:30 AM
    cekasoneI've seen an AMD and Intel chips over clocked to 5GHz and beyond. You aren't so special Mr. z196


    Something tells me, the massive parallel architecture based in this chip is meant to do things your 980x can only dream of. AMD proved clock speed doesn't matter around 5+ years ago. Where were you?

    Its not how fast you spin your wheels, its how much power you put to the road.
  • -6 Hide
    Anonymous , August 27, 2010 12:48 AM
    I had to do a small amount of mainframe administration as part of a previous job, I cannot understand why it's still used, the only thing it has going for it is that it's so counter-intuitive and confusing, that no hacker would bother spending the time to figure out how to use it.

    Don't get me wrong, Windows, at the API and administration level, is a bit stupid and half-baked, but atleast it kind of makes sense(aside from being stupid and ill-conceived). If any Windows fanboys think I'm making that up, go learn VBScript.
Display more comments