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Big Blue boffins to unveil 4.5GHz CPU breakthrough

All to do with multiple clock chips, apparently

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IBM chip scientists will this week use the International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) to unveil what they claim is the world's fastest microprocessor -- a beast capable of reaching 4.5GHz clock speeds. That's over five times faster than the current top-speed Pentium III -- and, given Intel's production shortages, just as readily available. That said, with "three to four" more years of development work required to get the IBM chip to the point where it can be sold in volume, Chipzilla has plenty of time to catch up. The key to the chip's speed are multiple clocks. Unlike current CPUs, different parts of the chip operate at a pulse set by their own clocks, all of them ticking independently of each other. It's not clear yet whether that implies a multi-core CPU or whether the various clocks are simply applied to specific groups of circuitry. Either way, the upshot, says IBM, is a family of CPUs running between 3.3GHz and 4.5GHz. IBM dubs the architecture Interlocked Pipelined CMOS. The chips also draws half the power of "standard high-performance chips", according to a Reuters report, though it doesn't give examples. The power saving comes from allowing parts of the chip that can get by on low clock speeds to do so. IBM said the chips would ultimately end up in servers and science/engineering systems, both traditional applications of Big Blue's PowerPC-based Power CPUs. ® Related Stories Motorola slims chip transistors to quarter of current size Storage tech boffins to demo 140GB 'CD-ROM' Boffins pave way for 400x rise in CPU transistor count US boffins develop molecular memory UK boffins unveil $35 '2300GB on a PC Card' RAM breakthrough

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