February 13, 2006 9:00 PM PST
IBM upgrades Power5+ to 2.2GHz
IBM plans to announce several new Unix servers Tuesday, including a midrange p5 570 system with faster Power5+ processors running at 2.2GHz.
Until now, the Power5+ ran at a top speed of 1.9GHz, the same top speed as its fastest Power5 predecessor. In addition to the speed boost, IBM introduced some new models with its Quad Core Module (QCM) technology, which puts two Power5+ chips in a single ceramic package that can plug into a socket that in the past would have been occupied by a single chip.
IBM has put a priority on boosting clock speed. Frequencies will jump to a speed between 4GHz and 5GHz with the next major processor, Power6, due in 2007. Boosting performance is a key element of IBM's competitive attack in the Unix server market against its top rivals, Sun Microsystems and Hewlett-Packard.
Big Blue also brought the 2.2GHz Power5+ to its p5 575, a system intended for high-performance technical computing tasks that's 24 inches wide--unusual when compared with the 19-inch width typical for rack-mounted systems.
IBM began selling its QCM systems in 2005 with the p5 550. "The 550Q was a raging success last quarter, outperforming our forecast by 2X," pSeries Vice President Karl Freund said in an e-mail to CNET News.com. Now the company is introducing a fuller product line.
The p5 510Q is 3.5 inches thick and has two 1.5GHz dual-core Power5+ chips. A higher-end QCM system with dual 1.5GHz Power5+ processors is the p5 520Q, which is 7 inches thick.
The p5 560Q has many as eight dual-core 1.5GHz Power5+ processors and also is 14-inches tall in a configuration made of two 7-inch building blocks. Models with a single building block also are available.
IBM also released the IntelliStation Power 185 Express workstation using single or dual PowerPC 970 processors.
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