back to article IBM takes Power10 processors down to 7nm with Samsung, due to ship by end of 2021

Big Blue hopes to roll out its first commercial 7nm data-center-grade processors – the IBM Power10 series – by the end of 2021. Each Samsung-fabricated chip packs 18 billion transistors into a 602mm2 die, and up to 15 cores that can be used for compute. Each CPU core can run up to eight threads simultaneously (SMT8), and …

  1. bazza Silver badge

    POWER 10

    I've always liked the Power range of CPUs - all sorts of nifty add-ons that boggle the mind. Nice to see IBM keeping it going even now.

    One thing did catch my eye though, and my point has nothing to do with Power as such. From the article:

    "We're told Power10's architecture has a focus on accelerating matrix math operations for use in AI,"

    Somehow the term "AI" loses its mystery if all it comes down to is matrix maths. As the great Dr. H Fry has it, it's just old statistics ideas played out on a scale larger than the originators ever had in mind.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: POWER 10

      Somehow the term "AI" loses its mystery if all it comes down to is matrix maths

      Well, that's the pattern recognition part that is essential for image and audio processing that are now about as good as human, pattern-based versions. Okay humans have some hard-wired optimisations, but still, this is where the focus for replacing or assisting meatware in business is going to be.

      1. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: POWER 10

        "Somehow the term "AI" loses its mystery if all it comes down to is matrix maths". I have a feeling when we work out how evolution wires lots of these simple matrix maths engines together your jaw will happily move back to lower than a snakes belly mode. Well assuming you can actually grasp how it works that is.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: POWER 10

      "Somehow the term "AI" loses its mystery if all it comes down to is matrix maths."

      Or maybe IBM's POWER customers have been using matrix maths for some time and the marketers just discovered that they could tack "AI" onto the sales blurb?

    3. FatGerman

      Re: POWER 10

      "Somehow the term "AI" loses its mystery if all it comes down to is matrix maths"

      It's because the term 'AI' is a misnomer. Machines will never be intelligent enough to decide what they want (or don't want) to do, because that will make them useless. "AI" means "machine that can work out what to do with this data because we can't be arsed to tell it". Put like that, I'm all in favour. Programming computers to analyse data is fucking mind-meltingly tedious. It's no wonder we've put so much effort into creating machines that can program themselves to do it.

    4. LionelB

      Re: POWER 10

      Steady on. Matrix maths (and FFT) is the bedrock of... well, almost everything compute-intensive, from signal processing, statistics, optimisation, through simulation and control systems - you name it. Sure, the "AI" is probably there for the buzzwordiness (you're probably going to run your CNNs on GPU anyway), but there's an awful lot of stuff that could benefit. Love to get my hands on a few of those.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The company may be more of a problem than the chip

    With a recent round of layoffs from IBM, is this going to be the architecture people want to buy into for their next round of datacentre equipment? Or is this side of IBM stable enough for buyers to have confidence that it's still going to be there for service, support and spares?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The company may be more of a problem than the chip

      It depends on what your view of IBM is.

      If you think of IBM as a mainframe company that's made so much money over the years that they have tried to branch out into other areas with varying levels of success then it's reasonably accurate and the cuts in that area came 20+ years ago and the customer base is now pretty stable

      If you believe that IBM are a full stack IT company that's diversified into all areas of IT to avoid the cyclical nature of the mainframe lifecycle or that the next major mainframe growth cycle is just around the corner then you're drinking the Kool Aid.

      1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

        Re: The company may be more of a problem than the chip

        Or how inept to do you think the fearful leaders of Itsy Bitsy Morons are might answer the question as to the long term future. I tend to think they will whither away do to serious manglement issues, just not sure of the timeline.

  3. ChrisIsAlreadyTaken

    >Or is this side of IBM stable enough for buyers to have confidence that it's still going to be there for service, support and spares?

    Yes. This business is stable and profitable regardless of whether IBM is solvent in the near future, it will be enthusiastically snatched up from Chapter 11 by any of more than a dozen large tech companies, where that is HP, Dell, Fujitsu or Oracle.

    The people with big iron will always eventually need replacement big iron, so long as it's cheaper than refactoring their legacy codebase. Collectively almost a trillion dollars worth of technical debt is invested in Power and s360/370/390/zArchitecture.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      You can also be sure that no elected chaos monkey is about to ban you from using IBM

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  4. Dinsdale247

    Not so subtle

    Oh look, another American CPU that has a secret processor that the user can't access or control. That's so surprising?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not so subtle

      You can always buy a Russian or Chinese CPU if you want security. Oh wait...

    2. whitepines Silver badge
      Alert

      Re: Not so subtle

      has a secret processor that the user can't access or control.

      Where did you get this information from? I've mostly heard the opposite.

    3. WorBlux

      Re: Not so subtle

      100% of the design and firmware is available to partners. It's additionally OpenPower's goal to release all firmware sources and let you build it yourself .

      1. whitepines Silver badge
        Go

        Re: Not so subtle

        I'd say not just a goal -- they reached it a long time ago. Everything is up on GitHub, I've recompiled my own Talos II firmware a few times, mainly tweaks and simply making sure I can build and load my own version. Quite a nice desktop if you can afford one, and where I'm sitting now typing this.

  5. EagleZ28

    Oh... can I run OS/2 on this thing?

    1. imdatsolak
      Coat

      You should be able to run QEMU somwhere in one of the virtualized Linux systems in an LPAR somewhere. If your QEMU is configured to emulate an i286/386, you should be able to do so.

      You might, though, need to have more than one nesting levels of VMs to do so

      Icon => Ok, ok I’m already leaving...

    2. NeilPost Bronze badge

      1.2 (which I used on Token Ring), 2.1 or the funky Warp 3.0??

      1. EagleZ28

        Well... either 2.1 or Warp 3.0... strictly 32-bit

        although, really, I was just joking.

  6. P.B. Lecavalier

    Legendary POWER

    So unfortunate there is no more consumer spin of POWER. This is the only thing that beats consistently x86, and presumably with a fraction of the development resources of Intel. Legendary because many hear of it and would like to wield it's power (pardon the pun), but few ever come across one.

    1. whitepines Silver badge
      Go

      Re: Legendary POWER

      You should really check out the Blackbird, it's a POWER9 desktop. Expensive, yes, but compact enough to consider it a consumer device. I use one and it's been great.

  7. fredesmite2
    Mushroom

    too bad

    POWER IS DEAD.

    IBMs own cloud doesn't even offer it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: too bad

      Erm .... https://cloud.ibm.com/catalog/services/power-systems-virtual-server

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