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IBM to ship world's fastest production processor


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5.2 GHz big iron servers ship Sept 10

IBM has confirmed it will ship servers using the world’s fastest production processor next week.

The z196 processor is built around 45nm process technology and is capable of up to 5.2 GHz speeds on a quad core chip. The chips will be used in the new zEnterprise 196 mainframe line that will launch on September 10.

“It’s a significant step forward for mainframe computing,” said Charles Webb, IBM fellow system and processor design.

“Financial institutions are doing many more transactions but they also want to do more processing on those. That’s driving more and more compute power around all of those transactions.”

The new system will use 96 microprocessors, running at more than 50 billion instructions per second and claims a 60 per cent improvement in Java and data-heavy workloads, while running on reduced energy loads.

The financial sector is at the cutting edge of customers for these kinds of systems. Such computing power allows huge numbers of stock trades to be placed speculatively and then rescinded depending on the fluctuations of the market.

Such systems are so important that last year Goldman Sachs sued former employee Sergey Aleynikov for copying its stock control software.

IBM has spent three years and $1.5bn developing the new processor technology, with was a cooperative effort from labs in New York, Austin, Germany, Israel and India.

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