Feeds

IBM shows off Power7 HPC monster

Big Blue unveils big box: Crowd goes wild

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

SC09 IBM likes to go on and on about the transaction processing power and I/O bandwidth of its System z mainframes, but now there is a new and much bigger kid on the block.

Its name is the Power Systems IH supercomputing node, based on the company's forthcoming Power7 processors and a new homegrown switching system that blends optical and copper interconnects.

The Power7 IH node was on display at the SC09 supercomputer trade show last week in Portland, Oregon, and El Reg was on hand to get the scoop from the techies who designed the iron. This server node is the heart of the 1 petaflop "Blue Waters" supercomputer being installed at the University of Illinois. (That's sustained, not peak, performance.)

As we have previously reported, IBM lifted the veil a bit on its Power7 family of chips and chip packages at the Hot Chips conference in August. The Power7 chips are implemented in a 45 nanometer copper/SOI process and have 1.2 billion transistors with eight cores on a single die.

Each Power7 core has 12 execution units: two fixed point units, two load store units, four double-precision floating point units, one vector unit (for doing matrix maths), and one decimal floating point unit (for doing money maths). Those floating point units, like those in all past generations of 64-bit Power processors that trace their heritage back to IBM's AS/400 designs from 1995 (not the crappy PowerPC chips that came out of the IBM-Motorola-Apple partnership) can do two floating point operations per clock cycle.

The Power7 core has 32 KB of L1 instruction cache and 32 KB of L1 data cache. Each core sports simultaneous multithreading that delivers four virtual threads per core, and has a 256 KB of L2 cache tightly coupled to it. The chip also has 32 MB of embedded DRAM that acts as a shared L3 cache, with 4 MB segments affiliated with each of the eight cores. The Power7 chip has two dual-channel DDR3 memory controllers implemented on the chip, which deliver 100 GB/sec of sustained bandwidth per chip.

Power7 and Switch Packages

The Power7 IH four-chip package and its companion switch
with mixed optical/copper interconnect

At SC09, IBM gave out a lot more details on the four-chip multichip module (MCM) that it said it was cooking up for supercomputing customers - and by the way, the Power7 IH server node is a lot denser, in terms of flops per unit volume, than anyone had been led to believe. The picture at the left shows the Power7 IH node MCM chip package, with the four eight-core Power7 chips. Next to it is the IH node hub/switch, which is implemented in a similar chip package.

Both chip packages have the same pin count at 5,336 pins (92 pins by 58 pins), according to Alan Benner, a senior technical staff member of the server and network architecture team within IBM's Systems and Technology Group: more on this hub/switch in a minute. The package has 512 GB/sec of aggregate memory bandwidth and 192 GB/sec of I/O bandwidth.

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
EU's top data cops to meet Google, Microsoft et al over 'right to be forgotten'
Plan to hammer out 'coherent' guidelines. Good luck chaps!
US judge: YES, cops or feds so can slurp an ENTIRE Gmail account
Crooks don't have folders labelled 'drug records', opines NY beak
FLAPE – the next BIG THING in storage
Find cold data with flash, transmit it from tape
Seagate chances ARM with NAS boxes for the SOHO crowd
There's an Atom-powered offering, too
Intel teaches Oracle how to become the latest and greatest Xeon Whisperer
E7-8895 v2 chips are best of the bunch, and with firmware-unlocked speed control
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Mobile application security vulnerability report
The alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, and the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.