IBM launches world's "fastest" computer chip

Posted by Aharon Etengoff

IBM is slated to ship the world's "fastest" computer chip on September 10th. But what will the 5.2 GHz microprocessor be used for?

Well, the z196, manufactured using 45 nanometer (nm) SOI technology, is expected to power the latest iteration of IBM's mainframe: the zEnterprise 196.

According to Big Blue, the z196 is a four-core chip that contains an impressive 1.4 billion transistors on a 512-square millimeter (mm) surface.

The chip also utilizes IBM's advanced embedded DRAM (eDRAM) technology, thereby facilitating the emplacement of dense DRAM caches, or components, on the same chips as high-speed microprocessors.

"From a performance standpoint, the zEnterprise System is the most powerful commercial IBM system ever," a company spokesperson explained.

"The core server in the zEnterprise System - [dubbed] zEnterprise 196 - contains 96 of the world's fastest, most powerful microprocessors, capable of executing more than 50 billion instructions per second.

"[Now], 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."