Intel continues to be the top manufacturer of server chips, but IBM and other rivals are working hard to snatch that position from the chip giant. IBM intends to make its Power9 chip a top contender and renewed its push this week. At the HotChips technology conference in Cupertino, IBM revealed specifications for the new P9 chips, reports Fortune.
IBM P9-based systems coming soon
The P9-based systems from IBM and associated hardware partners will be available beginning next year. These new chips will act as expandable hubs into which server makers will be able to plug graphics chips, special-purpose Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASIC) and other performance enhancers as well, the report states.
This will allow manufacturers to fine-tune the boxes they make for specific purposes to bring out the best performance of the hardware. IBM’s Power9 chip will come in two basic designs. The first will help in crunching numbers for big data or artificial intelligence applications like IBM’s favorite product Watson. The second is meant for Google-like “hyperscale” applications that must run across a huge number of machines, says Fortune.
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Matt Eastwood, senior vice president at research firm IDC, says there are several reasons lots of IT workloads are shifting, giving IBM a shot at upsetting the status quo.
“Three areas (Cloud Computing, Mobile, IoT) of focus for IBM will determine its ultimate success, demand in China, success with the big tier 1 cloud service providers, and its ability to grow its hardware and software ecosystem,” Eastwood said.
More challenges for Intel
Meanwhile AMD recently detailed its processor technology called Zen, which it plans to use in servers and other hardware. Last week, AMD demonstrated a chip with Zen processor cores outdoing Intel chips in a speed test. It must be noted that AMD uses the same x86 design as Intel.
Also at the Hot Chips conference, ARM Holdings discussed plans to add more features for use in supercomputers and other scientific applications, reports The Wall Street Journal. ARM licenses its chip technology for use in smartphones. The company stated that already 13 companies are using its chip technology for servers and other data center hardware that will compete with Intel’s offerings.
On Tuesday, Intel shares closed up 0.11%. Year to date, the stock is up more than 1%, while in the last year, it is up more than 33%.