September 13, 2006 8:03 AM PDT

IBM begins selling Cell blades

IBM has started selling blade servers that use the nine-core Cell processor originally developed for video games.

The QS20 blades, each with two 3.2GHz Cell Broadband Engine processors, are good for high-performance computing tasks such as seismic research, encryption, digital image rendering and military surveillance.

An IBM representative wouldn't say how much the blades cost, but a customer announcement said they run $18,995 each. The systems, announced Tuesday, are expected to be available Sept. 29, with a $1,950 InfiniBand high-speed network option arriving Oct. 27, IBM said.

IBM, Sony and Toshiba co-developed the Cell processor for the Sony PlayStation 3 and Toshiba video products. The chip has a main Power processor core and eight helper cores specially designed for types of calculations.

IBM Cell blade customers include the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany, the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom and RapidMind, a software development system seller. IBM also is selling the systems to the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico for a massive supercomputer with at least 16,000 Cell processors due to be completed in 2007.

Unlike IBM blades with Big Blue's Power processors, Intel's Xeon or Advanced Micro Devices' Opteron, the Cell blades can't be intermixed with other varieties in the same BladeCenter chassis. The systems run Red Hat's Fedora Core 5 version of Linux.

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5 comments

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I'd be surprised if they sell more than 3 or 4
So it's $19k for a 2 slot blade that can't fit in the same rack as existing blades?!? Wha? That means it really costs the $19k + the cost of a new blade rack. So about $40k. And it only runs linux. Are there any optimized applications available? Are there any benchmarks available to suggest this is remotely a good deal? We're an AIX shop and seeing IBM introduce their latest and greatest stuff on linux only isn't very confidence inspiring, even despite the preposterous price tage. Relative to features available in the other major Unix, AIX doesn't seem to be holding plane.
Posted by scdecade (329 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Sony will buy some
Sony will buy some because they will need all that horsepower to calculate the huge loses from the PS3

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://otherthingsnow.blogspot.com" target="_newWindow">http://otherthingsnow.blogspot.com</a>
Posted by SqlserverCode (165 comments )
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Re: Sony Will Buy Some
Since you wrote your comment with the obvious
need for a backslapping congratulatory, here it
is:

Gee, you're awfully funny.

Now, taking the subject matter a little more
seriously, there is a lot of potential in Cell,
and I think that one of the best things that
Sony could do at this point is either get behind
an existing Linux or create their own, and
release SDKs for the PS3. Don't know about you,
but there are few things Geek that sound more
appealing to me than being able to work with
Linux, developing games that would work for that
OS and might ultimately also play on my console.

Best regards as always,


Steve

--
Posted by (3 comments )
Link Flag
I Think this Cell Broadband engine CPU, has got to be one of the best Chips IBM has made. I recently bought a Sony Play Station 3 slim. I can not believe how sharp and clear the picture is when I play my DVD's on the Play station. Listen this Cell broadband engine 2 chip has got power, and capabilities.
Congratualtions IBM, Toshiba and Sony on a job well done with the creation of this Cell Chip!!. Bravo.
This chip is light years ahead of anything Intel has out right now.
Posted by hypnatist (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I Think this Cell Broadband engine CPU, has got to be one of the best Chips IBM has made. I recently bought a Sony Play Station 3 slim. I can not believe how sharp and clear the picture is when I play my DVD's on the Play station. Listen this Cell broadband engine 2 chip has got power, and capabilities.
Congratulations IBM, Toshiba and Sony on a job well done with the creation of this Cell Chip!!. Bravo.
This chip is light years ahead of anything Intel has out right now.
Posted by hypnatist (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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