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Power6 meets Tukwila meets Rock meets SPARC64 in chip death match

China's Godson-3 whimpers in too

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Hot Chips The grandest chip unveiling in many, many years will take place this August on the campus of Stanford University.

At the annual Hot Chips conference, the world's top chip makers including Intel, IBM and Fujitsu/Sun plan to show off some of their most ambitious designs to date. In addition, a host of start-ups dabbling in the acceleration field plan to work their wares in front of hundreds of engineers.

The show stoppers will include IBM's deep dive into the performance of the Power6 chip, comparing it against Power5 on a variety of workloads. (Who needs Power6 when you can have Power7.) The audience will also hear about Fujitsu/Sun's newly released SPARC64 VII chip and the upcoming 16-core, 32-thread Rock chip. In addition, Intel plans to dangle the four-core Tukwila version of Itanium in front of the crowd.

If you're into big iron, it's pretty damn tough to beat that.

Intel will also be dabbling on the accelerator front via a chat on Larrabee - its many-core graphics chip aimed at visual computing. Nvidia will be throwing down against Larrabee with the GTX280 during the same session, which should make for some fun.

Still on accelerators, Toshiba is going to walk through its SpursEngine chip, which is a stream processor centered on the Cell. IBM will hit Cell as well by discussing the new PowerXCell 8i chip as an add-on for high performance computing systems, and start-up Maxeler will chat up its MAXware software acceleration through FPGAs.

Er, and the party only continues with some representatives from China going over their x86 attack with the Godson-3 chip, and a company called Audience discussing a voice processor based on a human hearing system.

We're intrigued.

HotChips has certainly turned into the place to flaunt silicon, and this year's show appears set to be the best to date. ®

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