IBM One-ups Intel with 5 Gigahertz CPUs

The IBM series of high performance CPUs is moving to the next level with the Power6 and speeds in excess of 5 GHz. This was published in the program guide for the International Solid State Circuits Conference and reported at C|Net on Friday.

Modern CPUs have suffered from increased heat output as the clock speed has increased. To deal with this, Intel and AMD have utilized modest clock speeds but multiple cores to increase the computational output. However, IBMis Brad McCredie, a fellow in IBMis System and Technology Group has pointed out that adding more cores doesnit "scale the cache and memory bandwidth."

Recall that the IBM PowerPC 970, Appleis "G5," was the smaller, slightly less capable version of the IBM Power5. The next generation chip, the Power6 is expected to ship in 2007 and be used in IBMis p-series systems. Power output is expected to be modest, less than 100 W.

IBM, which has considerable expertise in high performance computing, has elected to go back to the single core, high clock systems, having apparently figured out how to manage the heat issues. However the computational, heat and cost issues that face IBMis enterprise customers are very different that those faced by Appleis MacBook customers. As a result, the high clock speeds obtained by IBM should not necessarily be taken as evidence that Apple made a mistake transitioning to Intel.