IBM Takes Aim at Intel With Upcoming Power9 Chips
At the Hot Chips show, IBM engineers outline assets of the new Power architecture, from providing up to 24 CPU cores to multiple ports for accelerators.IBM officials want to remind businesses that Intel's x86 processors aren't the only server chips on the market. Company engineers were at the Hot Chips 2016 show in Cupertino, Calif., this week to talk about Big Blue's upcoming Power9 processors, which are scheduled to hit the market next year and promise a broad range of capabilities that will make the architecture attractive for an array of workloads, from hyperscale data centers to machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI). They reiterated many of the key assets of Power9, from its new architecture that will offer up to 24 processing cores and its ability to run with a wide array of accelerators like GPUs, field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) and application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) for faster performance to embracing such technologies as Nvidia's NVLink 2.0 and PCI Express 4.0. It's a cornerstone of IBM's larger effort to carve into Intel's dominant share of the server chip market, where more than 90 percent of all systems run on x86 chips from Intel. Big Blue is one of a number of chip players—including Advanced Micro Devices and its upcoming Zen chips and ARM with its push into the high-performance computing (HPC) space and supercomputers—that see changes in workload and processing demands in data centers as an opportunity to grab some share away from Intel.
It reportedly was the message at Hot Chips, which came a week after IBM officials were in San Francisco outside of where Intel was hosting its annual Intel Developer Forum (IDF) to talk about Power9 and the OpenPower Foundation.