Except for the true chip maven, computer processors always seem to have the feeling of sameness to them. But IBM’s just got us excited about CPU architectures again: at the Hot Chips 2010 conference, IBM announced their upcoming z196 CPU, which is really, really fast.
How fast? Let’s talk “fastest chip in the world.”
Intended for Z-series mainframe computers, the Z196 has a clock speed of 5.2GHz. Measuring just 512 square millimeters, the Z196 is fabricated on 45nm PD SOI technology, and on its surface contains almost one and a half billion transistors. Otherwise, it features a 64KB Level 1 instruction cache, 1.5MB of private L2 cache per core, a 128K Level 1 data cache and even a pair of co-processors dedicated to doing cryptographic work.
Whew. Blistering. Better, IBM says this puppy is ready to be let off the leash: they’re getting ready to ship the processor sometime in September.
Ah yes, computer builders, I can see the drool collecting in your mouth. But you might want to hold on a second before you get too excited: the Z196 is probably outside of your computer budget. IBM’s saying the chip will costs hundreds of thousands of dollars, and might even reach a million bucks per unit.
Hmm. Maybe that would be worth it… depending on how much it overclocks.