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IBM Releases Power7 Processor

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the of-cores dept.

IBM 231

Dan Jones writes "As discussed here last year, IBM has made good on its promise to release the Power7 processor (and servers) in the first half of 2010. The Power7 processor adds more cores and improved multithreading capabilities to boost the performance of servers requiring high up-time, according to Big Blue. Power7 chips will run between 3.0GHz and 4.14GHz and will come with four, six, or eight cores. The chips are being made using the 45-nm process technology. New Power7 servers (up to 64 cores for now) are said to deliver twice the performance of older Power6 systems, but are four times more energy efficient. Power7 servers will run AIX and Linux." And reader shmG notes Intel's release of a new Itanium server processor after two years of delays. The Power7 specs would seem to put the new Intel chip in the shade.

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231 comments

4.14GHz? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31068826)

What happened to the "3GHz ceiling"? Why can IBM go above it but Intel, AMD and VIA are stuck below it?

Re:4.14GHz? (2, Informative)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#31068846)

Different architecture maybe? A little bit like how RISC could clock faster than CISC back in the day.

Re:4.14GHz? (4, Informative)

the linux geek (799780) | more than 4 years ago | (#31068878)

Its still that way. POWER6 could actually go up to 5GHz, but IBM sacrificed out-of-order execution to get there. POWER7 brings it back with a slightly lower clock speed and more cores.

Re:4.14GHz? (4, Informative)

Totenglocke (1291680) | more than 4 years ago | (#31068870)

You mean how you can buy a 3.4 GHz Phenom II X4 from AMD? That 3.0 GHz ceiling?

Re:4.14GHz? (3, Funny)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#31068884)

There probably were better ways of increasing computational speed using multicore processor designs than just increasing the clock speed. Kind of like going from a V4 engine to V6 being a better option in terms of power than increasing the individual piston HP of the V4 from 25 to 30.

Re:4.14GHz? (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31068958)

What stops you from doing *both*? ^^

Re:4.14GHz? (2, Insightful)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#31069116)

Cost. Spending an extra 500$ to double the power makes sense. Spending 5,000$ to increase the power a measly 20% is rather foolish either way you look at it by comparison.

Re:4.14GHz? (2, Insightful)

amorsen (7485) | more than 4 years ago | (#31069550)

Spending 5,000$ to increase the power a measly 20% is rather foolish either way you look at it by comparison.

Not if your work load doesn't scale with additional cores. Then $5000 for 20% extra speed can be worth it.

Re:4.14GHz? (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#31069600)

The cost of producing these higher clock speeds appears to be very cost and technologically prohibitive. The operations that can't be parallelized are apparently not important enough to justify higher clock speeds.

Re:4.14GHz? (4, Funny)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 4 years ago | (#31069162)

There probably were better ways of increasing computational speed using multicore processor designs than just increasing the clock speed. Kind of like going from a V4 engine to V6 being a better option in terms of power than increasing the individual piston HP of the V4 from 25 to 30.

Back in my day, manufacturers used to slap a turbo button on the front of the case.
And we liked it that way.
Now get off my lawn!

Re:4.14GHz? (3, Informative)

alvinrod (889928) | more than 4 years ago | (#31068896)

Actually both AMD and Intel have chips currently clocked over 3 GHz. Some of the newer Intel chips also have something they call Turbo Boost where the chip essentially overclocks itself if it's not using all of its cores. It also looks like AMD has a 3.6 GHz Phenom II X4 chip slated to be released soon. It would appear that the companies found solutions to whatever ceilings may have existed. VIA doesn't target the high-end of the market so I don't think that they're producing any chips that would run at those clock speeds.

Re:4.14GHz? (4, Insightful)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 4 years ago | (#31068900)

First, there is no 3GHz ceiling, so you're begging the question. Second, these processors use specialized cooling - not run of the mill cheapo barely-enough heatsinks. If AMD or Intel spent $20 more on their heatsinks, they'd easily be selling 3.4-3.8GHz processors. But the profit margin isn't there. Third, power usage hikes as you increase voltage high enough to hit those speeds. Most people running nuclear explosion simulations on a 4GHz processor don't care, people running 30,000 machines in a design center...do care.

Re:4.14GHz? (2, Informative)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31068986)

If AMD or Intel spent $20 more on their heatsinks, they'd easily be selling 3.4-3.8GHz processors. ...
Third, power usage hikes as you increase voltage high enough to hit those speeds.

You’re contradicting yourself. The reason they can in fact not easily ramp up the CPU speed, is exactly this increase in voltage. Which increases temperature at a cubic speed relative to processor speed. (See the Pentium 4, for what that results in.)

And because your bring not a single actual argument to why you think there is no 3GHz ceiling (actually it’s a gray area above 3 GHz), I call your argument... busted! ;)

Re:4.14GHz? (4, Insightful)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 4 years ago | (#31069012)

There's no contradiction. Power usage is less of an issue on higher end "enthusiast" chips. They could easily sell 3.6GHz chips in this space with better heatsinks (as evidenced by...people running them at 4GHz easily on air cooling).

In the commodity space, even with better cooling, the power usage increases disproportionately as voltage goes up. There is a sweet spot, and it isn't currently >3GHz.

Finally, I didn't point out why there is no 3GHz ceiling because it takes 30 seconds of googling to see that there are currently chips selling at > 3GHz, and there have in the past been x86 CPUs up to 3.73GHz.

Busted my ass.

ROFLCOPTER (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31069400)

Busted my ass.

And you liked it, too, you fucking flaming homosexual.

Re:4.14GHz? (2, Informative)

afidel (530433) | more than 4 years ago | (#31069120)

Intel did 3.73 Ghz as the top end for Netburst (Xeon 5080) but it was a fairly poor performer on a MIPS/Watt basis. In fact the 5160 running at 3.0Ghz did about 33% higher Specfp and run at 80W instead of 130W for the 5080 (35.2 specfp_2000/watt vs 15.5).

Re:4.14GHz? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31069296)

They are selling 3.4GHz Phenoms!

Re:4.14GHz? (1)

Gerzel (240421) | more than 4 years ago | (#31068996)

Fairy dust! IBM has captured several pixies and uses them to craft its magical chips.

Re:4.14GHz? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31069030)

Don't forget that one of those 4GHz CPUs probably costs over 10 times as much as an equivalent Intel or AMD part. A decent PC costs as much as a car payment -- a decent POWER machine costs as much as a car.

The price is old, but a couple years ago a 5GHz Power6 CPU cost $15k for a dual-core module (with 4 threads) plus $30k to activate each core. That means you'd pay $75k total to use both cores of the CPU module. I'm sure Intel would have no problem supplying 5GHz CPUs at $75k each, but it's unlikely that they'd have many takers, so you're stuck with CPUs that are only 3GHz (but go almost as fast as IBM's 5GHz parts).

dom

This is Bad News (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31068828)

For Intel...

Re:This is Bad News (3, Insightful)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 4 years ago | (#31068888)

Right, because the Power series is such a global moneymaking powerhouse, right?

These chips (and Itanium) are niche. In fact, the commodity chips are getting so powerful across the entire CPU segment from embedded to HPC computing that they will start eating into the market of even these niche chips. Why buy a Power7 when you can buy 3-4 Nehalems, be twice as fast, and spend 1/2 the money? There are exceptions, but they're becoming fewer and fewer.

Re:This is Bad News (1)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 4 years ago | (#31069294)

There are exceptions, but they're becoming fewer and fewer.

That's not necessarily true. As the top end moves up, new opportunities and markets are created that were not there before.

Re:This is Bad News (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31069360)

You'd buy a Power7 because it comes with 63 other Power7 friends in a single box and runs an operating system specifically designed for the ridiculous number of cores and capable of handling even the most data intensive legacy applications.

I agree that the high end server market is becoming smaller and smaller as time goes on but in reality there's still a huge backbone of legacy applications that require the sort of processing throughput only a single whopping great server can provide. The kind of applications that draw $150,000 3 month contracts for developers because nobody knows a damn thing about them, general public included.

Direct comparisons are bad (5, Informative)

the linux geek (799780) | more than 4 years ago | (#31068864)

POWER and Itanium are architecturally so different that kdawson's snide "put this new Intel chip in the shade" comment is kind of nonsensical. Itanium is superscalar to an extent that POWER doesn't come close to, with each core being able to execute up to six instructions per cycle. While its possible that POWER7 is faster, its also more expensive to get a reasonable configuration and the performance difference between the two is not as clear-cut as our illustrious editor is trying to suggest.

Re:Direct comparisons are bad (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31068910)

The Itanium is more that just superscalar, it is explicit parallelism. You can accomplish the same feat with superscalar and out-of-order execution but it takes far more silicon and it tends to have some odd corner cases.

POWER and Itanium are both pretty slick architectures but Itanium is definitely a generation later in design. If only Intel were willing to bet the company on it, about 10 years ago, we would all be using it today.

Re:Direct comparisons are bad (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31068938)

Until they are superscalar and vectorial they can only go to their bed and cry.... damned programmers that failed linear algebra!

Re:Direct comparisons are bad (1)

ZiakII (829432) | more than 4 years ago | (#31068914)

I'm not sure what your trying to say here could you use a car analogy?

Re:Direct comparisons are bad (1)

GenP (686381) | more than 4 years ago | (#31068970)

Itanium: vrooom!, vrooom! POWER: putt, putt, putt

Re:Direct comparisons are bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31069006)

Or maybe POWER is more like http://members.fortunecity.com/john_deere/Waves/B35work.wav.

Note the clock scaling as the workload varies.

Re:Direct comparisons are bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31069482)

Power7 is an F1 car. Itanium is a high-powered pickup. They do different jobs, both well.

Re:Direct comparisons are bad (1)

teg (97890) | more than 4 years ago | (#31069578)

I'm not sure what your trying to say here could you use a car analogy?

Ferrari vs volvo Truck? Straight out speed, vs. load capacity.

Re:Direct comparisons are bad (5, Informative)

Wesley Felter (138342) | more than 4 years ago | (#31068926)

POWER and Itanium are architecturally so different...

That doesn't matter; they both address the same market (high-end Unix) and thus they are competitors.

Itanium is superscalar to an extent that POWER doesn't come close to, with each core being able to execute up to six instructions per cycle.

Yeah, POWER7 can only execute... six instructions per cycle. And you might indeed say that an in-order Itanium at 1.7 GHz doesn't come close to an out-of-order POWER7 at 3+ GHz.

While its possible that POWER7 is faster, its also more expensive to get a reasonable configuration...

Since no Tukwila servers have been announced, we don't even know how much they will cost.

Re:Direct comparisons are bad (1)

WilliamBaughman (1312511) | more than 4 years ago | (#31068934)

You're totally correct: a direct comparison between POWER and Itanium is difficult because the architectures have different purposes. That said, do you know of any benchmarks where the new (or old) Itanium chips clobber POWER6 (or 7) processors? I'm not trying to be snarky, I'm really curious.

Re:Direct comparisons are bad (4, Interesting)

the linux geek (799780) | more than 4 years ago | (#31068962)

http://www.tpc.org/tpcc/results/tpcc_perf_results.asp [tpc.org] - I wouldn't say "clobber," but they're roughly at par on performance and Itanium has an edge on price/performance.

Uh, did you look at your link? (3, Insightful)

raftpeople (844215) | more than 4 years ago | (#31069022)

Power procs=32, cores=64
Itanium procs=64, cores=128

So double the Itaniums almost gets you to where Power is.

Re:Uh, did you look at your link? (3, Insightful)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 4 years ago | (#31069044)

What's your point? All that matters is price/performance. If processor A can get the job done more cheaply with twice the processors, why would I care?

Re:Uh, did you look at your link? (3, Insightful)

raftpeople (844215) | more than 4 years ago | (#31069086)

Because this statement was made: "but they're roughly at par on performance", which isn't correct.

Your point is valid, but that isn't what I was responding to.

Re:Uh, did you look at your link? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31069104)

Point taken, though one could argue that for any sane, meaningful comparison there is always an elliptical "for a given price". If CPUTech sells a $10,000 chip that's only twice as fast as MicroTech's $500 chip, is there even any point in discussing how CPUTech's chip is "faster"? Who would buy it?

Re:Uh, did you look at your link? (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 4 years ago | (#31069100)

Because there's more shit on the die to fail and go bad, quickly rendering your cheap solution useless and slow.

Also, it needing more processors to get the same job done means it's likely a weak POS to start.

Re:Uh, did you look at your link? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31069156)

Lol.. Right. You _clearly_ know what you're talking about dude ;)

Re:Uh, did you look at your link? (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 4 years ago | (#31069212)

I do indeed. I work with semiconductor fab quite often. It's part of my business selling horticultural LED lighting.

And LEDs are prone to the same failures as any other semiconductor-based technology.

Go suck it. :P

Re:Uh, did you look at your link? (4, Informative)

Tycho (11893) | more than 4 years ago | (#31069350)

I'd also add that depending on the task, the cheap solution would be slower if the task had serial parts that could not be separated into threads. For instance if a task takes 1,000 cycles and all of the instructions must be done in a precise order, a quad-core processor running at 2.0 GHz would be slower and be of lower utility than a single core 4.0 GHz processor, assuming all other things are equal. The quad-core ends up working at half the speed of the single core and the quad-core also has the penalty of three idle cores draining electricity.

I would also imagine that these newer POWER7 processors carry over the decimal floating point units present in the POWER6. Yes, floating point units that operate in base-10 as opposed to base-2. Not necessarily of much value for scientific purposes, but great for preserving accuracy in financial calculations. One gets to avoid the base-10 to base-2 conversion and the conversion back that can severely hurt accuracy with only a binary floating point unit. One also gets a nice speed up by doing decimal math in hardware as opposed to the other option of software decimal math.

Re:Uh, did you look at your link? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31069330)

electricity and space ain't free boy. now turn off those lights and get off my porch.

Re:Uh, did you look at your link? (1)

amorsen (7485) | more than 4 years ago | (#31069596)

If processor A can get the job done more cheaply with twice the processors, why would I care?

Because most actual work loads scale worse than TPC-C. For most actual loads you're better off with half as many cores which are twice as fast. Also, the Itanium is a horrible power hog, so you'd likely lose out on your electricity bill too. If your workload scales nicely, go for Xeon or Opteron, nothing in the Itanium or Power space can beat those for performance/price.

Re:Uh, did you look at your link? (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 4 years ago | (#31069142)

Look at $/transaction, they are almost the same, and that's what matters.

Re:Direct comparisons are bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31069002)

Not to mention that Power7 systems cost $ 25000 +

Uh... Power7 also executes 6 instr/cycle (1)

uarch (637449) | more than 4 years ago | (#31069238)

Itanium is superscalar to an extent that POWER doesn't come close to, with each core being able to execute up to six instructions per cycle.

Hate to break it to you but POWER7 can dispatch 6 instructions per cycle as well.

That little fact was revealed last year during the Hot Chips 21 presentation.

Real question (3, Funny)

LordoftheChmod (1600803) | more than 4 years ago | (#31068868)

That's all fun but it doesn't answer the real question : Can it run Crysis?

Re:Real question (3, Funny)

skine (1524819) | more than 4 years ago | (#31069186)

I think you clicked the wrong link on Tom's Hardware.

The question here is whether it can run Linux - followed shortly by a debate on how terrible Ubuntu is.

Re:Real question (1)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 4 years ago | (#31069308)

I'm not sure, but their pre-lease benchmarks on Duke Nuke'em forever was off the chart. No. Really. True story.

Re:Real question (1)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 4 years ago | (#31069388)

I think the big-iron IBM philosophy response to that question is "Eh, throw that shit on an expansion card and we'll virtualize it fir ya."

Query (0)

ShooterNeo (555040) | more than 4 years ago | (#31068890)

Anyone have data on how these compare to x86 and Intel's latest creations? Presumably, one could write an efficient algorithm for a variety of common computing tasks and port it to the different chips to get a cross-architecture performance estimate.

Re:Query (2, Informative)

Wesley Felter (138342) | more than 4 years ago | (#31069108)

Anyone have data on how these compare to x86 and Intel's latest creations? Presumably, one could write an efficient algorithm for a variety of common computing tasks and port it to the different chips to get a cross-architecture performance estimate.

That's called SPEC CPU; here are some results: http://www.realworldtech.com/forums/index.cfm?action=detail&id=107244&threadid=107238&roomid=2 [realworldtech.com]

Re:Query (4, Funny)

scotch (102596) | more than 4 years ago | (#31069122)

Holy shit, this guy is on to something. You could write these common computing tasks as a sort of "bench" suite of tests. Then on each architecture, you would get different "marks" against the "bench". Let's call them "benchmarks" for brevity. These "benchmarks" would give allow clear and unambiguous comparison of these various chips. Foolproof and brilliant!

Re:Query (3, Funny)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 4 years ago | (#31069206)

I like your folk etymology. It neatly excises surveying from the discussion.

Re:Query (1)

RebootKid (712142) | more than 4 years ago | (#31069228)

oh for mod points

Re:Query (4, Informative)

afidel (530433) | more than 4 years ago | (#31069202)

On a $/FLOP basis they get slaughtered by Nehalem-EX, but if you need flat out performance the Power7 system will be superior thanks to 2x more memory bandwidth per core and ~3.5x more interprocessor bandwidth. The basics for this type of comparison are Specfp_base, Specint_base for CPU performance and usually either SAP, TPC-C or specjbb for business logic comparisons.

Ah, AIX (5, Interesting)

wandazulu (265281) | more than 4 years ago | (#31068894)

AIX....the last Unix you can't just "get" a copy of, but need to actually buy the hardware (a la the Mac). We had a Power box at work with AIX for awhile, but its configuration tools was quite ... unique among Unix flavors (though I was told it was pretty straightforward IBM) and I had a horrible time getting GCC to work with it; most every F/OSS package I came across either straight up wasn't tested on AIX (because no one had the hardware), or it had a whole separate setup (I believe one of the standard lines running ./configure is "Is this an AIX system?").

I recall the box being wicked fast when we were running Oracle on it; it was a "small" Power machine but it still could handle a monster database with hundreds of millions of rows with no trouble. Frankly, I was sort-of sad to see it go; I really did want to get more familiar with it, but apparently the maintenance costs IBM was charging made it a non-starter. Plus, ultimately, it seems that it just wasn't very OSS friendly; xlc is apparently an amazing compiler for the PowerPC, but they wanted $6000 for a license per developer. Plus, and I'm sorry if this is nitpicking, but to have the C compiler called xlc and the C++ compiler called xlC was just, well, insane.

What I really wanted to do was get Linux on it, and Oracle even has a Linux-on-Power version of their database, but there seemed to be some grumbling from the IBM salespeople (according to my boss) that they discourage people from running Linux on Power....I guess you (according to them) need AIX to unleash the real "power" in the PowerPC.

Sigh, okay, whatever. back to Linux on x86-64.

Re:Ah, AIX (1)

raftpeople (844215) | more than 4 years ago | (#31068930)

Minor note: PowerPC was the line of processors used in the Apple computers. POWER (as in Power7) is the server line of processors with it's roots in the as/400 servers back in the 90's. IBM didn't do a very good job of making that distinction clear.

Re:Ah, AIX (1)

Guy Harris (3803) | more than 4 years ago | (#31069568)

Minor note: PowerPC was the line of processors used in the Apple computers. POWER (as in Power7) is the server line of processors with it's roots in the as/400 servers back in the 90's.

The first POWER processor was in the first RS/6000 machines, back when the AS/400's were still IMPI machines. In any case, POWER/PowerPC/Power Architecture/etc. are all close cousins....

Re:Ah, AIX (4, Informative)

argent (18001) | more than 4 years ago | (#31068946)

AIX....the last Unix you can't just "get" a copy of, but need to actually buy the hardware (a la the Mac).

Don't forget HPUX.

Re:Ah, AIX (1)

the linux geek (799780) | more than 4 years ago | (#31068974)

And UNICOS, Super-UX, and a few other niche systems.

Re:Ah, AIX (0, Redundant)

sapphire wyvern (1153271) | more than 4 years ago | (#31069056)

And although he did mention (a la the Mac), he didn't point out that OS-X *is* a certified Unix as well. So there's quite a few Unixes that you need to buy hardware for, apparently - although OS-X is by far the most widely available of those and the code is trivial to obtain, even if the vendor requires that it be installed only on their own hardware.

Re:Ah, AIX (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 4 years ago | (#31069280)

With Darwin you can get the Unix part of OSX free for download.

Re:Ah, AIX (3, Informative)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 4 years ago | (#31069040)

And Mac OS X.

Re:Ah, AIX (1)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 4 years ago | (#31069316)

You can walk into a store and buy something with Mac OS X for $500, though. If you want to get something running HPUX or AIX you're probably talking to a sales rep over the phone and getting a quote somewhere in the low five figures (or worse).

Re:Ah, AIX (1)

red crab (1044734) | more than 4 years ago | (#31069492)

They made the beta version of AIX 6.1 available on their site some couple of years back. IBM is just paranoid about AIX/Power; they want it to remain in a sort of exclusive aka privileged domain.

Re:Ah, AIX (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 4 years ago | (#31069132)

"[AIX] unique among Unix flavors"

Hah. From my foggy memory, I am thinking VMS seemed more similar to typical UNIX than AIX. :-)

Re:Ah, AIX (1)

FreakyGreenLeaky (1536953) | more than 4 years ago | (#31069476)

Fond memories... I remember having a similar experience wrt SUN's C compiler - the licensing was just stupid. I needed an extra lic for another machine, but management balked at the price. So,... gcc it was. Once I got it going (this was circa '96) gcc was a pleasure - the binaries were smaller, they ran faster (by several percentage points IIRC) and gcc compiled faster.

I also had a few years of exposure to several power boxen running aix - quite zippy, but the UNIX flavour was just weird.

Apple skunkworks? (2, Interesting)

bobdotorg (598873) | more than 4 years ago | (#31068898)

I'm curious whether or not Apple is maintaining a parallel dev. of OSX for this line of IBM chips the same way that the Intel version of OSX was lurking in the dark from 2000 until 2006.

Re:Apple skunkworks? (1)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 4 years ago | (#31068906)

Lol. No, they're not.

Re:Apple skunkworks? (4, Funny)

Khyber (864651) | more than 4 years ago | (#31069110)

LOL You're in no position to know.

I am, however. But my NDA forbids me from saying anything.

Re:Apple skunkworks? (-1, Troll)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 4 years ago | (#31069166)

Wow! I might have been abducted by aliens last night and taught how to break the laws of thermodynamics.

I'd tell you how, but they made me sign an NDA. Just take my word for it, though, I'm Some Guy on SlashDot, after all!

Re:Apple skunkworks? (4, Informative)

Khyber (864651) | more than 4 years ago | (#31069244)

Actually, I just checked said NDA, as it has been at least five years since I worked for them, and my NDA is over, so....

Support has NEVER been fully dropped and never will unless IBM becomes non-viable in the marketplace. On top of that, long-term contracts Apple has with some companies pretty much ensures that they keep some minimal amount of POWER support active, at least into the next decade.

Oh, I'm sorry, did I break your bullshit reality bubble? Get a real job in the industry and maybe you'd have half a clue.

Re:Apple skunkworks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31069266)

Haha, yeah I was being an asshole. I'm sure they do have builds somewhere.

But IBM is non-viable in the marketplace, and what I was actually mocking was the idea that they would ever go back to Power. It will never happen, and the implication that IBM released some supposed Super Chip and now Apple could conceivably want to think about going back to Power is silly.

Apple is married to X86 unless something seriously drastic happens, say someone inventing CPUs based on viruses that are 10,000 times faster than current CPUs. They will most certainly never return to Power.

Re:Apple skunkworks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31068950)

You're confusing POWER with PowerPC. They are not the same thing.

Re:Apple skunkworks? (1, Troll)

Wesley Felter (138342) | more than 4 years ago | (#31068982)

You're confusing POWER with PowerPC. They are not the same thing.

Since POWER3 in 1998 they are the same thing, actually. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power_Architecture#History [wikipedia.org] But don't let me stop you from showing off.

From your link (2, Informative)

raftpeople (844215) | more than 4 years ago | (#31069054)

"The PowerPC 970 is derived from POWER4. It lacks some server oriented features, but does have an AltiVec unit. The 970 and its descendants are used by Apple and IBM and some high end embedded applications."

Re:Apple skunkworks? (1)

bonch (38532) | more than 4 years ago | (#31069124)

If you'd read the article you're linking to, you'd see that PowerPC was "a modified version of the POWER architecture" and that POWER3 "was only used in IBM's RS/6000 servers."

Re:Apple skunkworks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31069160)

I love how you've been modded informative and yet you're wrong. PowerPC is still a derivative of POWER with a different instruction set and even with asm mnemonics there are instructions in which the input operands are different.

Re:Apple skunkworks? (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 4 years ago | (#31068972)

i find it more likely that they are looking into running osx on a multi-core cortex-A9 or later, with some special sauce from PA semi added on top.

Re:Apple skunkworks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31068988)

Yes, they are. It's going to be in the third generation iPad. It will have a 3d display. That's right a 3D TOUCH screen. Meaning, you can reach INTO the menu and select things.

It will also read your mind!

lastly, as Jobs' health declines, there's a skunk works to put his conscience into an iPad - just like Dr. Thiopolis from the Buck Rogers in the 25th tv show from the 70s - you know the one with Gil Gerard. They'll have a guy walk around with the iPad and Jobs' image will always be displayed on the screen and he'll continue to run Apple computer. God forbid if someone forgets to plug Steve in!

Power 7? (1)

bigplrbear (1179259) | more than 4 years ago | (#31068956)

I'm still waiting for my G5 powerbook

Re:Power 7? (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 4 years ago | (#31069170)

Due to Apple Awesomeness (TM), Gx is equivalent to P(x+2), so just wait a bit.

Commercial sales? (2, Insightful)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 4 years ago | (#31068990)

I have to wonder why IBM is (at least, as of now) limiting these processors in their own hardware.

I can understand the initial economic advantage: they'd gain more profit from server sales, and would be able to sell Linux servers at a fairly non-trivial mark-up (on base hardware cost, to them).

But what is gained there is probably trivial compared to commercial marketing of the chips/boards (OEM sales). I suspect it might also avoid scrutiny from antitrust lawyers more easily. Why wouldn't they do this? I'd certainly love a processor like that; it'd be incredible. 1/4th the power envelope of the Power6, and twice the performance (assuming it means core clock)? That's incredible: the 3.2GHz Power6 is rated at under 100W TDP.

Such a processor might just sway Apple to go back to the Power architecture, I'd think. Linux will run on them, obviously; the only thing you couldn't run on them is Windows (and even that might be possible down the road with only a little work on MS's part).

The only two reasons I can imagine are 'exclusivity' and 'insufficient fab capacity'. That second one would certainly do it on its own.

Re:Commercial sales? (1)

the linux geek (799780) | more than 4 years ago | (#31069018)

IBM is a low-volume high-margin company. They don't see a lot of gain from doing the R&D so they can make these chips at a reasonable price and then taking the much smaller profit margins from them when they can make billions in profit from selling their own hardware. In addition, they want to be the only viable upgrade pathway for their existing customers - a while ago a company (Platform Solutions) tried selling Itanium mainframes with an emulation layer for running Z/OS and they got sued into the ground by Big Blue.

Re:Commercial sales? (2, Informative)

Wesley Felter (138342) | more than 4 years ago | (#31069024)

A non-IBM POWER7 system would end up looking pretty much like an IBM POWER7 system, and you can bet it wouldn't be cheaper, so what's the point? If you want POWER7, buy it from IBM.

Re:Commercial sales? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31069134)

I don't know what a 3.2GHz Power6 costs, but last I checked a 4.2GHz Power6 cost $12k! Somehow I don't think Apple will be swayed to using them unless IBM can sell them at 1% of their current price.

dom

Re:Commercial sales? (1)

nxtw (866177) | more than 4 years ago | (#31069178)

I suspect it might also avoid scrutiny from antitrust lawyers more easily.

Antitrust laws don't apply to big companies just because they're big companies...

I'd certainly love a processor like that; it'd be incredible.

Significantly more incredible one or two quad-core AMD or Intel x86-64 CPUs?

Such a processor might just sway Apple to go back to the Power architecture

Why? Does IBM have anything that compares in power usage and performance to a mobile x86-64 CPU, such as the 2.53 GHz Core 2 Duo CPU in my laptop with a 25W TDP along with a low-power chipset and GPU, such as the nVidia 9400M? Apple doesn't sell any systems that benefit from the huge bandwidth that makes POWER7 so great for systems with many sockets; at most, Apple systems are dual-socket Nehalem (XServe and Mac Pro). I doubt that Apple will even make any systems using the Nehalem-EX.

Is there an untapped market for running OS X on systems with 32 sockets?

Nah! they learnt the lesson (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31069254)

They let go of the arch once... it was the PC...and look what happened!

Re:Commercial sales? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31069286)

Such a processor might just sway Apple to go back to the Power architecture, I'd think. Linux will run on them, obviously; the only thing you couldn't run on them is Windows (and even that might be possible down the road with only a little work on MS's part).

The last time Apple tried to sell a desktop computer for ~$10k it didn't work out well. So why would you think one that would cost close to $20k would take off?

Power + Linux = DEAD END (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31069050)

The average mere moral will never get their hands on a power7 machine. There is no desktop option. I guess IBM could have one under development but people speculated the same thing about power5, power6 and nothing happened. Across the entire power landscape there aren't any machines which can compare to the average x86_64 desktop.

As a result, who from the open source landscape is actually going to be able to put time into Linux on Power?

Look at the distro story on Power,

RHEL: still there, but costs $$$
Fedora: I think so
Open Suse : gone
SLES: still there, but costs $$$ .. but you gotta wonder how long since Open Suse dropped power
Debian: wilting
ubuntu: gone

I guess IBM can shell out the bucks to get Novel and Redhat to support power, but is that really fostering a community? Can a community be a community when the price to enter is seriously expen$ive hardware and most of the people working on it aren't doing it because it's their passion but because it's a job?

Things were great when the Apple's G5 hardware hit... but nothing has been put into it's place since. Seems to me that IBM is just playing Linux lip service on power, specially reading all the posts about AIX here. It's been my experience as well.

Re:Power + Linux = DEAD END (1)

nxtw (866177) | more than 4 years ago | (#31069138)

Is there anyone who can afford POWER7, but can't afford a RHEL or SLES subscription?

LPARs (4, Insightful)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 4 years ago | (#31069096)

IBM gear gets you LPARs, with a real hypervisor that is laps ahead of all the other stuff.

Wouldn't it be cool? (1)

kurt555gs (309278) | more than 4 years ago | (#31069196)

Imagine a PowerMac with a couple of these in it, and assload (actual technical term for large quantity) of RAM and a big display?

Oh, I forgot, the new improved Apple has told us that the Intel chip give us, the users, better performance.

I actually think Apple started it's slide into evildom with switching from Power to Intel.

Oh well, we can dream.

Re:Wouldn't it be cool? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31069248)

Imagine a PowerMac with a couple of these in it

And imagine that it costs $20,000. Seriously. You can't afford POWER7, so it's irrelevant whether it's faster than Intel or not.

Re:Wouldn't it be cool? (1)

the linux geek (799780) | more than 4 years ago | (#31069276)

Quite a bit more than $20000, if the prices posted on IBM's website are anything to go by, since the lowest-end, single-processor POWER7 server costs $34152.

Re:Wouldn't it be cool? (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 4 years ago | (#31069292)

Imagine a PowerMac with a couple of these in it, and assload (actual technical term for large quantity) of RAM and a big display?

Yeah and it would sell miserably at around $75,000 a piece.

Oh, I forgot, the new improved Apple has told us that the Intel chip give us, the users, better performance.

Considering that you could buy around 30 of the highest end i7s for the same price as a single Power7 I would think you would get far better performance per dollar.

x64... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31069426)

x64 killed the itanium... Hell even the Alpha would have, hadn't the compaq/hp thing happened....

The Itanium has been so late, and so underwhelming it's insane... It makes the MIPS/Windows NT combination look sane ... even back then.

No, not again (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31069536)

I've been burned by under-performing IBM silicon too many times. I had an old '486 IBM clone that had far less power than Intels' equivalent chip. I bought a PS3 which has the super duper cellBE chip 'the broadband processor'. What crap. Just slightly slower than a 1.8 GHz Pentium 4. You need a pile of libraries from IBM --the metallurgical equivalent of unobtainium-- to get any 'additional' power out of the chip, provided of course, that you rewrite all of your applications. So now they have a new chip. Nice. I'll stick to Intel Core processors, thanks. Software runs RIGHT NOW! No rare and unavailable libraries required, and real power that you can actually see. 64 cores running like an 8080 vs what I have now.... let me see..... NOT! I normally don't bash sight unseen, but given the track record I've seen from these guys, PASS!

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