IBM Offers Glimpse of Power8 Chips

New 12-core processor will have twice the power of previous models.

In a presentation at Stanford's Hot Chips symposium, IBM system architect Jeff Stuecheli gave a preview of IBM's upcoming Power8 chip series. The Power 8 chips will replace the Power7 chips running on many of IBMs high-end HPC systems -- including the famous Watson computer that beat all humans at Jeopardy in 2011.

The 4GHz Power8 chip will come with 12 cores; it will support 230 GB per second of memory bandwidth and will be capable of executing 96 threads simultaneously. According to IBM, Power8 will be twice as powerful and twice as efficient in cycles per watt than previous chips. Several news sites have posted a block diagram for the new chip design:

IBM recently announced that it will license its Power series chips to other vendors. The OpenPower Consortium will allow partners like Google and Mellanox to integrate IBM Power chip designs in much the same way ARM chips are integrated into products from other vendors. IBM hopes new the scaled up Power8 series, and new initiatives such as OpenPower, will spice up the competition with chip giant Intel for the lucrative HPC and data center markets.