IBM is aiming to break all records with Monday's launch of Power6, the latest iteration of its Power architecture.
Shown here are the System p570 servers being prepared for delivery at IBM's plant in Rochester, Minnesota. The new systems promise impressive performance, with IBM claiming benchmark victory over rivals such as Sun and HP.
According to IBM's claims, Power6 systems use the same amount of electricity as Power5, the previous generation, while producing 50 percent more performance.
They come in chunky, substantial looking units with none of the cut-down modesty so favoured by some other companies.
The Power6 chip has 790 million transistors — IBM says. We haven't counted — on one piece of silicon. It is a 64-bit dual-core processor running at up to 4.7GHz with 8MB of on-chip Level 2 cache and a memory bus that can reconfigure itself to save power at low loads.
This cross section of a Power6 chip shows two of those 790 million transistors in great detail. The transistors are shown in gold. It was photographed using a scanning electron microscope, which the company is delighted to let us know it also invented.
IBM test manufacturing technician BJ Barrett is shown here testing a Power6 chip at another IBM facility in Burlington, Vermont. BJ Barrett has not gone on the record to talk about what sort of yield IBM can expect for its full-speed chips.