IBM Launches 7nm Power10 Processor


The company’s first 7nm chip will be manufactured by Samsung and is 3x more efficient than Power9.

Intel and AMD have some fresh competition in the enterprise and data center markets as IBM just launched its next-generation Power10 processor.

The Power9 processor was introduced back in 2017. It’s a 14nm processor that was used in the Summit supercomputer, which held the top spot as the world’s fastest supercomputer from Nov. 2018 to June 2020. Now IBM is set to replace Power9 with the company’s first 7nm processor, and Power10 will be manufactured through a partnership with Samsung.

Power10 promises some massive improvements over Power9. IBM claims a 3x improvement in both capacity and processor energy efficiency over its previous chip generation within the same power envelope. Power10 also includes a new feature called “memory inception,” allowing clusters of physical memory to be shared across a pool of systems. Each system in the pool can access all of the memory, and memory clusters can be scaled up to petabytes in size.

IBM says there’s up to a 20x improvement in speed for artificial intelligence workloads compared to Power9, and there’s also been a focus on bolstering security. IBM added “quadruple the number of AES encryption engines per core” while also anticipating “future cryptographic standards like quantum-safe cryptography and fully homomorphic encryption.”

“Enterprise-grade hybrid clouds require a robust on-premises and off-site architecture inclusive of hardware and co-optimized software,” said Stephen Leonard, GM of IBM Cognitive Systems. “With IBM POWER10 we’ve designed the premier processor for enterprise hybrid cloud, delivering the performance and security that clients expect from IBM. With our stated goal of making Red Hat OpenShift the default choice for hybrid cloud, IBM POWER10 brings hardware-based capacity and security enhancements for containers to the IT infrastructure level.”

Considering that the Summit supercomputer has only dropped to second place on the fastest list and still counts as the fifth most efficient supercomputer operating today, it seems likely a supercomputer using Power10 processors is going to appear and jump immediately to the top of the charts within a few years.

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