Don’t blink — if you do, you may miss IBM‘s new processor. The company is boldly claiming that the chip within IBM’s new zEnterprise clocks in at 5.2GHz, making it the world’s fastest microprocessor. We’re sure this claim could be challenged on multiple fronts, namely by hardcore overclockers who have seen their own chips operate at much higher speeds with the help of liquid nitrogen. But IBM’s new silicon doesn’t require any complicated cooling; it’s just blisteringly fast.
Of course, this 5.2GHz chip won’t find its way into any consumer PCs anytime soon, but that doesn’t mean it won’t end up there eventually. The new chip will ship to mainframe customers starting on September 10th, and IBM says that the record-breaking speed is necessary for businesses managing huge workloads, such as banks and retailers, especially as the world becomes increasingly more inter-connected, data has grown beyond the world’s storage capacity, and business transactions continue to skyrocket.
The new zEnterprise technology is the result of an investment of more than $1.5 billion in IBM research and development in the zEnterprise line, as well as more than three years of collaboration with some of IBM’s top clients around the world. If you’re into details, the z196 processor is a four-core chip that contains 1.4 billion transistors on a 512-square millimeter (mm) surface. It’s manufactured using IBM’s 45 nanometer (nm) SOI processor technology, and it makes use of IBM’s patented embedded DRAM (eDRAM) technology, which allows IBM to place dense DRAM caches, or components, on the same chips as high-speed microprocessors, resulting in improved performance.
If you need more details, have a taste of this: “The core server in the zEnterprise System — called zEnterprise 196 — contains 96 of the world’s fastest, most powerful microprocessors, capable of executing more than 50 billion instructions per second. That’s roughly 17,000 times more instructions than the Model 91, the high-end of IBM’s popular System/360 family, could execute in 1970.” Pretty impressive, but there’s no published price for obvious reasons. We’re guessing it’s more than your house, or something close.