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IBM takes on Intel’s server dominance with Power9 chip
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IBM takes on Intel’s server dominance with Power9 chip 

This chip is not for PC but is aimed at the server market. IBM has plans to install Power9 chips in servers priced at upwards of US$6,000 however the processors could also find their way in lower-priced servers in markets like Asia. Power9 servers will support versions of Linux and Unix

The Power9 is squarely aimed at big business and supercomputers that handle machine learning, big data, and complex analytics tasks.

Big Blue is gunning for Intel’s, which has a solid grip on the data centre compute market. Several months ago Intel announced its 22-core Xeon E5 v4 server chips.

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However, according to IBM, the Power9 is the first processor with PCI-Express 4.0, providing a bandwidth of up to 16 Giga-transfers per second. This is also the first chip with NVLink 2.0, which provides the bandwidth of up to 25Gbps for Nvidia’s latest GPUs. Power9 has an all-purpose CAPI 2.0 interface, designed for chips like FPGAs, ASICs, and new types of memory like phase-change memory.

A big advantage of the Power9 is its’ versatility, according to PCWorld.

The processor has a range of field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), GPUs, and ASICs (application-specific integrated circuits). “Those co-processors could accelerate computing to help run tasks related to databases, cognitive computing, visual computing, and hyper scale web serving,” according to the publication.

Big Blue is poised to reveal some details about the new processor at the Hot Chips conference in Cupertino, Calif. this week but Google has already announced that it has ported many of its Web services to the OpenPower architecture and has been working with Rackspace to co-develop an open server specification based on the Power9 architecture.

Open compute project designs typically find use in financial organizations, many of which use Power chips for their servers.

Some companies in China also said to be poised to launch their own Power8 and Power9 Chinese companies are preparing to release their own Power8 and 9 chips, which are being called “partner chips.” The chips will use the OpenPower blueprints in 2018 to 2020. Those will be built out of 7nm to 10nm gates, according to the Register.com.

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