SAN FRANCISCO—IBM Corp. said Wednesday (Sept. 1) that it will begin shipping Sept. 10 a new mainframe computer computer capable of 50 billion instructions per second, powered by 96 microprocessors with clock speeds up to 5.2 gigahertz.
IBM (Armonk, N.Y.) said the z196 processor is a four-core chip that contains 1.4 billion transistors on a 512-square millimeter surface. The chip was designed by IBM engineers in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., and was manufactured using IBM's 45-nm silicon-on-insulator process at the company's 300-mm fab in East Fishkill, N.Y., IBM said.
The mainframe processor makes use of IBM's embedded DRAM technology, which allows IBM to place dense DRAM caches, or components, on the same chips as high-speed microprocessors, resulting in improved performance, according to the company.
A spokesperson for IBM said the company was not disclosing any other z196 benchmark data at this time.
The new mainframe, the zEnterprise System, is the most powerful commercial IBM system ever, according to the company, capable of executing roughly 17,000 times more instructions per second than the most advanced system available in 1970, according to the company.
The z196 processor features new software to optimize performance of data-heavy workloads, including up to a 60 percent improvement in data intensive and Java workloads, according to IBM.
An IBM technician tests the z196 processor, claimed to be the world's fastest with speeds up to 5.2 GHz. (Photo courtesy of IBM).
Last week, IBM engineers at the Hot Chips conference sketched out plans for a petaflops-class supercomputer built from as many as 64,000 Power7 processors.
The zEnterprise System offers 60 percent more capacity than its predecessor, the System z10, but uses about the same amount of electricity, IBM said. Energy efficiencies were achieved through advances in microprocessor design, 45-nm silicon technology, more efficient power conversion and distribution and advanced sensors and cooling control firmware that monitors and makes adjustments based on environmental factors such as temperature and humidity levels and air density, according to IBM.
IBM said the speed of the zEnterprise System is needed to support businesses with large workloads, such as banks and retailers. Citing a study conducted by Berg Insight, IBM said the number of active users of mobile banking and related financial services worldwide is forecasted to increase from 55 million in 2009 to 894 million in 2015.
Pricing information for the zEnterprise System was not disclosed.
IBM has invested more than $1.5 billion in R&D on the zEnterprise line, including more than three years of collaboration with some of the company's top clients around the world, IBM said.
IBM labs in Austin, Texas, Germany, Israel and India made major contributions to the development of the z196 processor, the company said.