It’s not just Intel that has launched a new generation of server processors with the new Tukwila based Itanium 9300 family. Competitor  IBM announced a new generation of Power processors yesterday. IBM Power7 will replace Power6 that launched in May 2007. IBM is going for the hardcore multithreading segment, just like Intel, and the Power7 CPU sports no less than eight physical cores, twice as many as Itanium 9300.

Even if Intel’s HyperThreading technology enables Itanium to handle eight simultaneous threads IBM will get the upper hand when it comes multithreading performance since Power7 can actually handle up to 32 virtual threads. Each CPU core can handle up to four simultaneous threads.

Despite the advanced design, IBM Power7 is built from ”only” 1.2 billion transistors using 45nm technology. The architecture holds 32MB L3 cache and dual-channel DDR3 memory controller. The 32MB L3 cache is built from somewhat slower eDRAM, but on the other hand it is located on-die, unlike previous L3 solutions of the Power family.

With all eight cores active the top models of the Power7 family operates at 3.8GHz, but they can be be pushed to 4.1GHz during single-threaded use for better performance.


IBM will release several Power7 platforms with varying performance to cover the many segments of the server market;

IBM Power 780:
A new category of scalable high-end servers, featuring an advanced modular design with up to 64 POWER7 cores and the new TurboCore™ workload optimizing mode that maximizes per core performance.

IBM Power 770:
Extending the industry’s most successful modular enterprise server with up to 64 POWER7 cores, higher performance per core, using up to 70 percent less energy for the same number of cores as the IBM Power 570 and optimized for a wide variety of commercial workloads.

IBM Power 755:
A high performance computing cluster node with 32 POWER7 cores, ENERGY STAR-qualified for exceptional energy efficiency, and optimized for the most challenging analytic workloads.

IBM Power 750 Express:
An ENERGY STAR-qualified midrange business server utilizing POWER7 processors, offering more than five times the performance and six times the performance per watt of comparable 4-socket Sun SPARC64 VII and HP Itanium® servers and delivering more than twice the performance and three times the performance per watt of comparable Sun UltraSPARC T2+ servers.

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