February 13, 2006 9:00 PM PST

IBM upgrades Power5+ to 2.2GHz

A correction was made to this story. Read below for details.

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.

Correction: This article misstated some configuration details of new IBM Unix servers. The p5 510Q and p5 520Q have 1.5GHz processors. A single p5 560Q can be 14-inches tall when configured with two 7-inch building blocks. And the Power 185 workstation uses single-core PowerPC 970 processors.

See more CNET content tagged:
Unix server, IBM PowerPC 970, building block, IBM Corp., Unix


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15% increase in 18 months? Wow
So who believes IBM will release Power6 at 4-5GHz? Its taken
IBM 18 months to increase Power5 clock by 15% and has been at
1.9GHz since 2003 when Power4+ was released! And in a year,
they'll double performance. Yeah right. Isn't the MHZ myth
dead? Intel realized they can't go beyond 3.8GHz. Why isn't IBM
talking about how much power these hungry chips consume?
Do they really believe people will continue to invest in servers
that are economically unfriendly like a 5 MPG Hummer with
todays $3 gallon? Who thinks energy costs are going down?
Obviously IBM doesn't care. They just want your money.
Posted by (11 comments )
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Well, IBM has proven that they made good on all of their promises, contrary to the likes of Sun and Intel who have cancelled, scaled back, or significantly delayed their "next-generation" products. No wonder Sun has lost so many customers to IBM and now IBM leads the Unix market. You (erroneously) make clock speed synonymous with performance. Clock speed is just one aspect of performance. There's a world of difference between Power4+'s 1.9 GHz processor and POWER5 and now Power5+'s 1.9 GHz performance. By the way, it seems that Sun likes what it sees in the IBM Power architecture, enough to incorporate it into its T2000 server. The T2000 service manual says that the server's system controller is a PowerPC Extended Core. Go to Sun's web site and check it out, page 122, Sun Fire T2000 Server Service Manual.
Posted by unelson (3 comments )
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