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IBM Ships Fastest CPU on Earth

Zonk posted about 6 years ago | from the glixchip-of-tau-alpha-ceti-still-beats-it-in-lab-tests dept.


HockeyPuck writes "The 5-billion-instructions-per second Power6 processor from IBM would beat such rivals as the 3.73 gigahertz Pentium Extreme and the 2.4 gigahertz UltraSparc T2 from Sun. 'It's hard to make the average person understand just how fast this is,' said IBM Chief Technology Officer Bernard Meyerson, offering an example meant to explain his company's baby that still leaves the listener awed with the speediness of the two laggards. 'Hold your index finger out in front of your face,' Meyerson said in a telephone interview from IBM headquarters in New York. 'In less time than it would take a beam of light to travel from your knuckle to your fingertip, the new IBM chip would complete one task and start looking for the next, he said.'"

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Worst analogy EVAR! (5, Funny)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | about 6 years ago | (#23023078)

What's a 'task'? If you think of a 'task' for a CPU to be an instruction, then any modern desktop or notebook CPU currently in production would meet Myerson's description:

In less time than it would take a beam of light to travel from your knuckle to your fingertip, the new IBM chip would complete one task and start looking for the next, he said
C'mon. That's horrible. Where's BadAnalogyGuy when you need him?

Re:Worst analogy EVAR! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23023140)

I can let one riiiiiiiiiiiiiip faster than this.

Re:Worst analogy EVAR! (4, Insightful)

backwardMechanic (959818) | about 6 years ago | (#23023162)

I think it's a neat calculation. We've all lost track of what fast actually means for a modern CPU. I think task, in this context, would be understood by most to mean a (simple) instruction, maybe an increment for example. That we can compare light moving over such a small distance to the time it takes to complete an op is impressive. Maybe you've not stopped to actually think about it?

Re:Worst analogy EVAR! (5, Funny)

ScriptedReplay (908196) | about 6 years ago | (#23023560)

I think it's a neat calculation. We've all lost track of what fast actually means for a modern CPU.

Yeah, it's a fast CPU. And it gets faster if you have smaller hands. Or if you watch your hands move by at close to the speed of light. Way cool.

Should sell like crazy in Japan.

Re:Worst analogy EVAR! (1)

FredFredrickson (1177871) | about 6 years ago | (#23023740)

And it gets faster if [...] you watch your hands move by at close to the speed of light. Way cool.
Ah, but the speed of light is absolute no matter what the reference point is, so technically, it'd be the same speed, whether you or the hand was moving.

Better analogy. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23023170)

Better analogy; He should've said;

'Hold your index finger out in front of your face,' Meyerson said in a telephone interview from IBM headquarters in New York. 'Ha Haw! Now you look like a retard!

Re:Worst analogy EVAR! (1)

MrMacman2u (831102) | about 6 years ago | (#23023180)

Well I, for one, welcome our fingertip to eye light refle-* oh who am I kidding, even an overload joke can't make that analogy less bad!

Granted, the Power6 is one monstrously powerful beast, but I can't see such a poor example confusing use "average people" any less than seeing a spec sheet filled with buzzwords.

Wanted Dead or Alive: A Better Analogy!

Re:Worst analogy EVAR! (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | about 6 years ago | (#23023304)

oh who am I kidding, even an overload joke can't make that analogy less bad!

Can you give us an example of an overload joke? I don't think I'm familiar with any of those.

Re:Worst analogy EVAR! (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23023390)

So a priest, a rabbi, and a fork bomb walk into a bar...

Re:Worst analogy EVAR! (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23023454)

So a priest, a rabbi, and a fork bomb walk into a bar...
...and the bartender says "what is this? some kind of joke?".

Re:Worst analogy EVAR! (1)

Rurik (113882) | about 6 years ago | (#23023228)

It could've worked, if it was just used as a frame of reference against the other speeds. So, the Power6 is from the knuckle to fingertip. What is the distance of the Pentium Extreme? From elbow to fingertip? Wrist to fingertip? The analogy is horrible, but it sounds amazing... until you frame the other items by the same reference and you realize that there probably isn't much difference between a knuckle and a wrist.

Re:Worst analogy EVAR! (5, Funny)

GungaDan (195739) | about 6 years ago | (#23023718)

"there probably isn't much difference between a knuckle and a wrist"

Goatse Guy? Is that you?

Re:Worst analogy EVAR! (1)

pipatron (966506) | about 6 years ago | (#23023380)

What's a 'task'?

Perhaps he meant that it could task switch in that time, which would mean handle the interrupt, saving the current register set, look up a new task from a list, load the registers, and jump. Sounds unlikely if they only have, say, 10 cycles to do it (5GHz for 2 nanoseconds), but who knows.

Re:Worst analogy EVAR! (1)

pipatron (966506) | about 6 years ago | (#23023420)

Ah. I missed an important piece of information. "from your knuckle to your fingertip". I thought he was talking about from your eye to your fingertip...

Re:Worst analogy EVAR! (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23023438)

Using the 'rule of thumb' (well, forefinger at least) - that light travels one foot in one nanosecond, and assuming he means the Metacarpophalangeal joint and not either of the Interphalangeal joints when he says "knuckle" - and for ease of calculation, assume that my forefinger is very roughly 2.4 inches from Metacarpophalangeal to tip. Then he's saying that the chip completes one "task" and starts another within 2.4/12 nanoseconds - 1/5th of a nanosecond. Five tasks per nanosecond is five billion tasks per second - or 5GHz. The chip is claimed to be a 5GHz chip - so a "task" means whatever the processor can do in one clock cycle. That's an odd definition of the word "task" - it might have been better to say "operation".

Guy shoulda explained it like in the Italian Job (2, Funny)

srussia (884021) | about 6 years ago | (#23023488)

Lyle: I'm gonna get a NAD T-770 digital decoder with a seventy-watt amp and and Burr Brown D.A.C.'s.

Hansome Rob: [at a loss] Yeah...

Lyle: It's a big stereo. Speakers so loud, they blow women's clothes off.

Handsome Rob: Now you're talking!

Re:Worst analogy EVAR! (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about 6 years ago | (#23023490)

C'mon. That's horrible. Where's BadAnalogyGuy when you need him?

I think BadAnalogyGuy is lost in the libraries of congresses worth of data that will be served by this system.

Units of measurement (5, Funny)

muellerr1 (868578) | about 6 years ago | (#23023098)

I'm glad they stopped measuring chip speed in Hertz and are now using the simpler metric fingertip-to-knuckle units.

Re:Units of measurement (5, Funny)

n3tcat (664243) | about 6 years ago | (#23023176)

Well, it makes it much easier to explain why multicore processors work faster. Though I expect problems when explaining more than 5 cores per chip...

Re:Units of measurement (2, Funny)

Enry (630) | about 6 years ago | (#23023426)

By then the speeds will be fast enough that you can use toes as a measuring stick.

Re:Units of measurement (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23023576)

I'm still trying to figure out how to explain that while the 5th core is considerably faster, it actually opposes the other 4 cores.

Re:Units of measurement (5, Funny)

plover (150551) | about 6 years ago | (#23023218)

I thought this meant they were switching from bogomips to bogogips.

But then I suppose some math genius is going to come along and claim we should be counting bogipigips because bogogips is just a marketing term.

honestly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23023242)

My knuckle to finger-tip is a big-ass distance. As big as my whole CPU!

Come back when you can complete one 64-bit Floating Point Operation in the time it takes light to travel the width of one atom of silicon. Yeah, you'll need some quantum mechanics, so get on it. And no, I'm not telling you what the op is. :)

Re:Units of measurement (5, Funny)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | about 6 years ago | (#23023264)

I calculate a "fingertip-to-knuckle unit" to be 3.174 * 10^-4 football fields.

Re:Units of measurement (5, Funny)

Gazzonyx (982402) | about 6 years ago | (#23023486)

American or British football fields, man?! Be precise or we'll have another mibibyte(MiB) situation on our hands, for craps sake!

Re:Units of measurement (2, Funny)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 6 years ago | (#23023360)

you can measure in groups of 5 finger-knuckle units at a time. after that, you have to, well, bank-swap. sort of.

its not all its cracked up to be.

Re:Units of measurement (3, Funny)

hallucinogen (1263152) | about 6 years ago | (#23023364)

How many fingertip-to-knuckle units does the library of congress hold?

Re:Units of measurement (5, Funny)

BJH (11355) | about 6 years ago | (#23023550)

No, no no. You've got your units all mixed up.

The correct question to ask there would be:

"How many Libraries of Congress can I process in a fortnight with one hand?"

Sour grapes or a real arguement (1)

Silver Sloth (770927) | about 6 years ago | (#23023110)

From TFA

Sun spokesman Mark Richardson took umbrage at the focus on speed. "It's an easier marketing message to deliver to say that faster gigahertz means a faster processor," he said. His colleague, chip expert Fadi Azhari, explained how the Mountain View firm uses a different technical trick, called multithreading, to make a computer faster but not hotter.
Is this just sour grapes or has Mark Richardson got a valid point? I don't know enough to judge but I'm sure there's plenty of opinion her on /.

Re:Sour grapes or a real arguement (4, Informative)

Albanach (527650) | about 6 years ago | (#23023516)

It's horses for courses. If you're serving web pages and running database queries from a well tuned database, the Sun Niagara chips are fast and very well suited. They serve the pages a little slower, but can serve many more at a time.

If, on the other hand what you're doing is not easily threaded then IBM probably have the upper hand. Say you're doing some mathematical analysis, where you have to do everything in sequence. IBM's faster processor can complete each stage quicker, moving on to the next part and delivering the result faster than a chip with more threads but slower speed.

Power6 architecture: it's different (4, Informative)

frankie (91710) | about 6 years ago | (#23023540)

Power6 is a big change from Power4 & Power5 series. The key factor is: it gains clock and SMT at the expense of OoOE. In-order execution means its performance is deeply dependent on perfectly tuned compilers.

Other than the lack of out-of-order, on paper it looks pretty strong. Dual core, lots of bandwidth, up to 7 IPC (5 in one thread, 2 in the other), big GHz, voltage & frequency slewing, and yes it has AltiVec.

p.s. No, it would not be good for Macs. POWER chips are all made for big iron.

It's the uses, stupid! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23023116)

Nice chip. Now what OS and applications run on it?

Re:It's the uses, stupid! (4, Informative)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | about 6 years ago | (#23023190)

Nice chip. Now what OS and applications run on it?

I'd guess anything that runs on the Power archicture. Here's a list of the various OSs [wikipedia.org] that have been supported on various iterations of the Power architecture at one time or another.

Re:It's the uses, stupid! (2, Informative)

LWATCDR (28044) | about 6 years ago | (#23023496)

Well the big ones are.
and i5/OS

DB2, Oracle, SAP, and goodness knows how many super advanced and mega expensive packages for specific industries that the average person never knows about.

In other words it isn't wasted on Office, Vista, and other low end applications.

It's a ploy (3, Insightful)

imstanny (722685) | about 6 years ago | (#23023118)

Too bad Apple no longer uses IBM processors, this would've been a great marketing scheme for Steve Jobs.

Re:It's a ploy (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23023202)

Don't be silly.

Apple doesn't care about marketing, they are only interested in making quality product.

Re:It's a ploy (0)

oni (41625) | about 6 years ago | (#23023370)

Well, they made the switch from PPC to IA. If PPC becomes cheaper and faster, they could probably make the switch back.

Re:It's a ploy (5, Interesting)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about 6 years ago | (#23023632)

The switch from PPC to Intel wasn't really about performance or pricing. It was about supply and logistics. Both the Motorola and IBM PPC chips were custom chips from their Power architecture as neither company sold CPUs for general consumer computers. IBM made chips mostly for workstations and servers (which were considerably more powerful and expensive).

Like most manufacturers, Apple, IBM, and Motorola do not want to keep a large inventory of anything. So Apple would only order and project as much as they thought they needed. IBM and Motorola would allocate enough resources for Apple's forecasts. But the problem was Apple was selling Macs faster than they anticipated. So they would order more. Neither IBM or Motorola could keep up with the increased supply.

Even if they ordered millions of chips a year, Apple was never going to be IBM's or Motorola's largest customer. They could not dedicate large amounts of resources for one custom product line of one customer when they had much larger customers (for IBM, their own workstation/server division. for Motorola, their electronics division). At most, Apple was their highest profile customer.

From Apple's standpoint, they were tired of not getting enough CPUs. So if they switched to a stock Intel chip, their supply problems because more manageable. Because for Intel it wouldn't be a small customer ordering more of a specialized part; it would be a small customer order more of the stock part.

Re:It's a ploy (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23023404)

Too bad Apple no longer uses IBM processors, this would've been a great marketing scheme for Steve Jobs.


Imagine, you could compute at an insanely great speed while frying eggs on your Powerbook!

Re:It's a ploy (1)

beelsebob (529313) | about 6 years ago | (#23023408)

Not really, Apple never used the POWER line of processors. The G5 was derived from a POWER4, but it was quite far removed. Secondly, it was in fact the G5's roots in a heavy handed server chip that meant it never got small and cool enough to run in a laptop.

elongated memorial (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23023122)

-pnofr hu99 hka0yH))H hl...HNJN hihia lllll olll oii&& hhkhjh;hoohojjo ttggt poo on yuo

Re:elongated memorial (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23023670)

Your post clearly demonstrates:

1. The new powerpc6 you were typing on is too fast for your feeble fingers to keep pace.
2. An IBM FDIV prime number calculation bug?
3. Your ideas intrigue me and I shall order your subscription.
4. A well hidden "poo on you" subliminal to all of slashdot.
5. ???
6. Profit!

creators' newclear power can change everything.. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23023132)

in the wink of an eye. the way we do things now typically takes a bit longer, or they never get done at all. see you there? let yOUR conscience be yOUR guide. you can be more helpful than you might have imagined. there are still some choices. if they do not suit you, consider the likely results of continuing to follow the corepirate nazi hypenosys story LIEn, whereas anything of relevance is replaced almost instantly with pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking propaganda or 'celebrity' trivia 'foam'. meanwhile; don't forget to get a little more oxygen on yOUR brain, & look up in the sky from time to time, starting early in the day. there's lots going on up there.

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080108/ts_alt_afp/ushealthfrancemortality;_ylt=A9G_RngbRIVHsYAAfCas0NUE [yahoo.com]
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/31/opinion/31mon1.html?em&ex=1199336400&en=c4b5414371631707&ei=5087%0A [nytimes.com]

is it time to get real yet? A LOT of energy is being squandered in attempts to keep US in the dark. in the end (give or take a few 1000 years), the creators will prevail (world without end, etc...), as it has always been. the process of gaining yOUR release from the current hostage situation may not be what you might think it is. butt of course, most of US don't know, or care what a precarious/fatal situation we're in. for example; the insidious attempts by the felonious corepirate nazi execrable to block the suns' light, interfering with a requirement (sunlight) for us to stay healthy/alive. it's likely not good for yOUR health/memories 'else they'd be bragging about it? we're intending for the whoreabully deceptive (they'll do ANYTHING for a bit more monIE/power) felons to give up/fail even further, in attempting to control the 'weather', as well as a # of other things/events.

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dictator style micro management has never worked (for very long). it's an illness. tie that with life0cidal aggression & softwar gangster style bullying, & what do we have? a greed/fear/ego based recipe for disaster. meanwhile, you can help to stop the bleeding (loss of life & limb);

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the bleeding must be stopped before any healing can begin. jailing a couple of corepirate nazi hired goons would send a clear message to the rest of the world from US. any truthful look at the 'scorecard' would reveal that we are a society in decline/deep doo-doo, despite all of the scriptdead pr ?firm? generated drum beating & flag waving propaganda that we are constantly bombarded with. is it time to get real yet? please consider carefully ALL of yOUR other 'options'. the creators will prevail. as it has always been.

corepirate nazi execrable costs outweigh benefits
(Score:-)mynuts won, the king is a fink)
by ourselves on everyday 24/7

as there are no benefits, just more&more death/debt & disruption. fortunately there's an 'army' of light bringers, coming yOUR way. the little ones/innocents must/will be protected. after the big flash, ALL of yOUR imaginary 'borders' may blur a bit? for each of the creators' innocents harmed in any way, there is a debt that must/will be repaid by you/us, as the perpetrators/minions of unprecedented evile, will not be available. 'vote' with (what's left in) yOUR wallet, & by your behaviors. help bring an end to unprecedented evile's manifestation through yOUR owned felonious corepirate nazi glowbull warmongering execrable. some of US should consider ourselves somewhat fortunate to be among those scheduled to survive after the big flash/implementation of the creators' wwwildly popular planet/population rescue initiative/mandate. it's right in the manual, 'world without end', etc.... as we all ?know?, change is inevitable, & denying/ignoring gravity, logic, morality, etc..., is only possible, on a temporary basis. concern about the course of events that will occur should the life0cidal execrable fail to be intervened upon is in order. 'do not be dismayed' (also from the manual). however, it's ok/recommended, to not attempt to live under/accept, fauxking nazi felon greed/fear/ego based pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking hypenosys.

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"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

meanwhile, the life0cidal philistines continue on their path of death, debt, & disruption for most of US. gov. bush denies health care for the little ones;

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whilst demanding/extorting billions to paint more targets on the bigger kids;

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& pretending that it isn't happening here;

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all is not lost/forgotten/forgiven

(yOUR elected) president al gore (deciding not to wait for the much anticipated 'lonesome al answers yOUR questions' interview here on /.) continues to attempt to shed some light on yOUR foibles. talk about reverse polarity;

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National Lampoon Radio Hour (4, Funny)

sm62704 (957197) | about 6 years ago | (#23023150)

'It's hard to make the average person understand just how fast this is,' said IBM Chief Technology Officer Bernard Meyerson, offering an example meant to explain his company's baby that still leaves the listener awed with the speediness of the two laggards.

Made me think of a National Lampoon Radio Hour (SNL before it was on TV) skit about the George Foreman-Muhammed Ali fight. Foreman (John Belushi IIRC) talking about Ali:

"He so fast he can turn off the light and be in bed before the room get dark!"

Re:National Lampoon Radio Hour (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23023702)

Grandpa, can I have the computer back now?

I use the new sun chips at work (4, Interesting)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 6 years ago | (#23023164)

ob disc: I work at sun (but not ON those chips).

I write management software that lets admins turn on/off/standby (etc) the state of the various 'cpus' (threads, as sun calls them). there are 128 and 256 cpus in a regular 2u..4u style rackmount box. these are 'simple' air cooled systems with fans blowing over the whole U-style chassis and over the passive cpu heatsinks. nothing 'scary' at all, really.

it is pretty wild to be able to do the equiv of 'show cpu' and have an ascii output scroll 64, 128 and even 256 times; one for each 'cool thread' which is a real actual processor element.

the down side is that this threading stuff does not automatically get you faster speed on a SINGLE non-threaded traditional task. as I understand it, these T-series sun boxes are meant to process a lot of transactions (think webservers) and not so much number crunching.

how do you define 'fastest chip'? well, one thing is for sure, you do NOT simply go by 'gigahertz' alone. that's really an oversimplification.

Re:I use the new sun chips at work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23023442)

Ok, lets use the theoretical peak floating point performance per chip...

T2 @ 2.4GHz would have 2.4Ghz * 1 flops/cycle * 8 cores = 19.2Gflops

P6 @ 5GHz would have 5.0Ghz * 4 flops/cycle * 2 cores = 40Gflops

System performance obviously depends on how many chips you can stick into it.

Re:I use the new sun chips at work (2, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | about 6 years ago | (#23023502)

Whether a faster clock speed or more cores will work in for any given application, is, of course, application dependent.

If the work you wish to do can be parallelized -- that is, broken into smaller pieces and then either reassembled when all the pieces are complete or, even, better, no assembly required -- and, more importanlty, your application is written to take advantage of parallelization then you will most certainly benefit from a CPU that can handle simultaneous threads.

OTOH, if your tasks can't be parallelized -- one task depends much on the other, than you should focus more on clock speed and less on simultaneous threads.

The bottom line is that the best CPU for you, as always, depends on what you're doing and how you're doing it. And there's usually more than one way to skin a cat, so ... different strokes for different folks as they say.

Re:I use the new sun chips at work (3, Informative)

s_p_oneil (795792) | about 6 years ago | (#23023604)

Fortunately, Java is a very thread-friendly language. I'm sure I could think of a way to use those 256 processors. ;-)

And in 25 year's time... (4, Funny)

Gordonjcp (186804) | about 6 years ago | (#23023166)

... it will be in a washing machine controller.

Does it have Altivec (1)

psergiu (67614) | about 6 years ago | (#23023188)

Does it have a Altivec unit ?
If it doesn't - it's just a useless overclocked G3 - Mac OS X Leopard will not run on it.
If it does have Altivec - anyone knows if it uses the same socket as the G5 ?

Re:Does it have Altivec (1)

simong (32944) | about 6 years ago | (#23023246)

Power6 is designed for servers so it's not likely. Had they been a year earlier to market we might have still not been running Windows on our G6 Powerbooks.

Yes it does (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23023362)

I has Altivec, but IBM calls it VMX
And no, it is not socket compatible to my understanding with the G5 (PowerPC 970).

Pentium Extreme? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23023200)

The fact that they compare it to a last-gen CPU makes me suspicious. An e4300 probably runs at about a par with the Pentium Extreme, and the newest Core 2 Duo chips would surely wipe the floor with even the fastest Netburst chips. Show this chip running on a par with a QX9770 or even an e6850 and I'll be impressed.

obscured objectives (2, Interesting)

Hojima (1228978) | about 6 years ago | (#23023232)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but don't most of the algorithms for scientific simulations run just as well on parallel processors? If this is the case, it makes more sense to have cheaper processors (both to manufacture and run) so that the cap on the IPS is raised just as well (the cap being the ratio of the amount of funds an organization can allocate to these emulators versus the cost of the emulators). Though I'm no computer expert, it seems that making one sequential processor run faster isn't as efficient as making that same processor cost a fraction of the price to get more power from your dollar.

There is no such thing as an all-purpose CPU (4, Interesting)

sirwired (27582) | about 6 years ago | (#23023366)

There are indeed many algorithms that run well in a parallelized environment. IBM even makes the world's fastest supercomputers that take advantage of this fact.

However, there are many other tasks fit for computers that do not parallelize well. In addition, writing massively parallelized software is often quite HARD. It is far easier to design software for a single CPU running very quickly, than a whole boatload of CPU's running slower. There have in fact been quite a few articles in CS journals lately wondering how on earth software is going to be written for all these new bunch-o-cores CPUs. While it can be done, it is tedious, expensive, and error-prone for all but the most trivial tasks.


Faster processor in space ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23023286)

Does this mean somebody build a faster processor which is now in space ?


    Skybuck) :)

What is one cycle worth? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23023300)

It mentions in the article that this processor would be the fastest "if a stopwatch were the only ranking system."
But what is a cycle from a Power 6 processor worth?
Does it get just one instruction per cycle?
What about the instruction set?
How efficient is the powerpc instruction set at running through logic?
How efficiently does this processor handle those instructions?

The article doesn't answer any of the really interesting questions about the new processor. It is neat though that IBM gets them to go at 5 ghz with water cooling, I haven't heard of any intel processors going that high without using liquid nitrogen.

So how much faster... (1)

imyy4u1 (1222436) | about 6 years ago | (#23023314)

can I render 3D images of naked women? When are they going to start using a relevant metric to measure speed? Geez.

Multicore speed explained. (2, Funny)

HellProphet (1045990) | about 6 years ago | (#23023332)

For multi-core do you have to hold as many fingers up as there are cores to understand the speed over multiple cores?

5GHz != 5 billion instructions/sec (2, Informative)

Osvaldo Doederlein (34220) | about 6 years ago | (#23023412)

That would only be true if the CPU is able to retire a sustained average of one instruction per clock cycle. SFGate's article makes a raw comparison between chips with different number of cores, threads and other factors, considering only GHz...

Re:5GHz != 5 billion instructions/sec (1)

imgod2u (812837) | about 6 years ago | (#23023634)

Most if not all modern microprocessors are quite capable of sustaining more than one instruction/cycle assuming you're not doing something that is completely memory-bound. Hell, even silverthrone is 3-way superscalar (albeit in-order).

This is why multi-threaded code is important. (1)

anthm (894202) | about 6 years ago | (#23023416)

This is one of the main reasons I decided to stick with a threaded model for concurrency in FreeSWITCH [digg.com] . There are many alternatives cropping up to obtain concurrency in your applications but if you stick to a threading model you will gain the benefits of more cores on faster CPUs and better schedulers in the kernels. The number of concurrent instructions are going up much faster than the actual speed of a single CPU these days.

Meaningless Indicator of Processing Speed (4, Insightful)

aadvancedGIR (959466) | about 6 years ago | (#23023436)

5 billion THEORICAL instructions per second just mean nothing.

Anyway, the DSP I'm working on, the TI C6416 (1GHz), claims up to 8 billion instructions/s (5 to 6 can be realistically obtained).

Average Person? (5, Insightful)

dreemernj (859414) | about 6 years ago | (#23023440)

It's hard to make the average person understand just how fast this is
It's hard to make the average person understand that the CPU isn't the entire box under their desk. Don't even bother with trying to explain this. The average person doesn't want to know.

Don't think so (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23023464)

It's hard to make the average person understand just how fast this is
I doubt that. Running this "fastest" chip on the desktop really wouldn't that much faster. Probably barely noticeable as the human brain tends to work on the logarithmic scale. It would have to be massively faster than a current processor for someone to say "wow, this is much faster". That just won't happen unless the technology is like 10 years apart.

I see this all the time when I upgrade. I often wait so long that several hardware generations have passed and I think the upgrade will blow me away but it just doesn't happen. Yeah, it's faster but I have never been blown away by how much faster it is because it's not that much more.

but... is it Vista Premium???? (0, Troll)

TristanGrimaux (841255) | about 6 years ago | (#23023484)

or just Vista ready?????

Re:but... is it Vista Premium???? (1)

TristanGrimaux (841255) | about 6 years ago | (#23023556)

Ok... I really don't remember what the tags says... I think it was "Vista Premium Ready" versus "Vista Almost there", or was it "Buy Vista and Downgrade to XP"... anyway, the joke was that Vista may run decently there... but I really don't think so...

Sounds like NASA in the 60s. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23023506)

“If the earth is this basket ball and the moon, a golf ball, the space craft would have to enter through a window no thicker than this piece of paper.”

Talking about clock-rates is dumb... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23023622)

...because, for a start, a 3.73GHz Pentium Extreme is as powerful as a 1.87GHz Core 2 Solo. Not that it's not good news that these guys are pushing the speed envelope without burning the chip, but the underlying microarchitecture can make a huge difference.

Wasn't it Dennis Hopper that said, (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23023710)

A pico-second is how long it takes a slashdotter to think of something stupid?

Hot like fire! (1)

Ngarrang (1023425) | about 6 years ago | (#23023720)

From the article, "Then why don't Intel and Sun just crank up the speed? Well, just as is the case with cars, the faster chips run, the hotter they get, and IBM has created water-cooling systems akin to the radiators in cars to keep its processors from overheating. Not doing so, Meyerson quipped, "results in setting fire to the user, which is bad.""

This part of the article made me laugh. Sick sense of humor? But, I would formally like to thank IBM for caring about setting me on fire or not.

Apple should use these. (2, Interesting)

IGnatius T Foobar (4328) | about 6 years ago | (#23023726)

Apple's development tools continue to generate binaries that support both Intel and PowerPC, and they continue to support the operating system on both architectures, so why not? Yes, I know, there's a difference between POWER and PowerPC, but it's not a big difference -- after all, you run the same version of Linux on an IBM pSeries that you do on a Power Mac.

Apple would have buying leverage against both IBM and Intel by being able to shift portions of their manufacturing from one architecture to another with each model. And they'd have access to some of the fastest processors on earth. Can you imagine one of these things powering Photoshop, or even rendering the next Pixar movie?

So what? (1)

Jodka (520060) | about 6 years ago | (#23023748)

The "speed" of a single CPU is a commercially useless measure of performance. We care about performance per dollar, not performance per CPU. And that dollar includes the cost of of energy required to operate the CPU associated cooling.

IBM analogy guy, not as bad as this one (1)

4g1vn (840279) | about 6 years ago | (#23023756)

"The baseball player stepped out of the box and spit like a fountain statue of a Greek god that scratches itself a lot and spits brown, rusty tobacco water and refuses to sign autographs for all the little Greek kids unless they pay him lots of drachmas."
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