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IBM today unveiled first commercial products based on its POWER 5 processors aimed at high-end Linux server applications. With the announcement IBM declares performance leadership in the powerful server segment.

IBM Touts Extreme Processor

Each IBM’s premier flavour POWER 5 chip contains two cores sharing 1.92MB of L2 cache and 36MB L3 cache. POWER 5 typical processor is a 95mm x 95mm MCM with 4 chips (each chip contains 2 cores) feature astonishing 144MB of cache memory. POWER 5 boasts on-chip memory controller that can address up to 1024GB of RAM. IBM said last year up to 16 MCMs may be combined in one logical system to built a monstrous server solution with 128 powerful CPUs.

The new POWER5 microprocessor features 276 million transistors per processor, and is manufactured with IBM’s 0.13 micron copper wiring and SOI (Silicon-on-Insulator)  technologies. Initially IBM’s premier POWER 5 chips will work at 1.90GHz.

IBM's Micro-Partitioning technologies, which are part of the Virtualization Engine’s allow each processor to be subdivided into as many as 10 “virtual servers”. This allows eServer p5 servers to consolidate multiple independent workloads resulting in an easily managed virtual server farm. IBM Virtualization Engine also enables a single console for managing systems of all types and a broad set of systems services for workload management and provisioning.

Software originally developed for POWER4 64-bit processors will be compatible with the POWER 5.

Performance Numbers Disclosed

“Today, IBM is heralding the next generation in the UNIX industry, marked by extreme performance, efficiency and flexibility,” said Adalio Sanchez, general manager, IBM eServer pSeries.

“We have invested tremendously in new technologies, like the POWER 5 microprocessor and the Micro-Partitioning technology in the IBM Virtualization Engine, derived from 40 years of mainframe innovations. This will transform the technology landscape and economics of owning and running UNIX systems. Our new UNIX systems will allow businesses to respond quickly to changing market conditions in the on demand era,” Mr. Sanchez added.

The new eServer p5 systems are the first UNIX systems designed to enable clients to run multiple (up to 10) virtual servers or Micro-Partitions on a single microprocessor letting it do the work traditionally done by many. This allows businesses to better utilize processors and automatically balance processor partitions in less than one second to meet changing on demand business needs. IBM eServer p5 systems allow for exceptional server consolidation and mixed workloads on a single system by giving businesses the capability to run multiple different operating systems simultaneously.

The IBM eServer p5 systems have already set performance records in diverse applications, such as online transaction processing, enterprise resource planning (ERP), file sharing, and high performance computing applications such as fluid dynamics. Among the specific performance marks currently held by various eServer p5 systems:

  • TPC-C running DB2: the p5-570 system holds the record for the fastest 16-way result, is the only 16-way system in the TPC-C top ten list by performance and beats a 16-way HP Integrity system by 168% and a 64-way HP PA-RISC system by nearly 50%.
  • SAP: the 8-way p5-570 achieved the best-in-class two-tier SAP SD Standard application benchmark result, and the 16-way p5-570 achieved the best-in-class two-tier SAP SD Standard Application benchmark result.
  • SPECfp_rate2000: the 8-way p5-570 system holds the record for the fastest 8-way result, besting an HP PA-RISC system by 298%.
  • SPEC OMP2001: the 16-way IBM eServer p570 holds the record for the fastest 16-way result, 335% faster than a 16-way HP Superdome.

Product Pricing and Availability

The new eServer p5 line includes models 520, 550 and 570. The new IBM eServer p5-520 system has a starting price of $12 920. The IBM eServer p5-550 has a starting price of $22 100. The IBM eServer p5-570 has a starting price of $25 928. The IBM eServer p5-570 Express has a starting price of $28 659.

The new eServer p5 and eServer i5 systems will be available globally on August 31 through IBM Worldwide Sales and Distribution and IBM Business Partners.

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