IBM z196 5.2GHz CPU Breaks Records, Could Cost Hundreds of Thousands

When it comes to processors, it may be hard to get excited anymore. Speeds are generally the same from one chip to another, from one device to the next. But, that doesn't mean records still can't be broken, and minds blown. At the Hot Chips 2010 conference, IBM took some time out of their day to talk about their upcoming z196 CPU, which breaks records as well as hearts attached to pocket-books.

The z196 CPU is set for the Z-series of mainframe computers out there, so don't think you'll be seeing this chip in your personal computer any time soon. IBM is claiming that it's the fastest processor in the world, and with its clock speed of 5.2GHz they are probably more than right. The company is set to start shipping the super processor (we wish that's what they called it) some time in September. The CISC chip is one of the latest remaining, which is built to support larger programs that inherently need more memory than RISC chips, like embedded ARM or PowerPC processors.

The chip itself is pretty impressive, as it measures in at only 512 square mm, which is fabricated on only 45nm PD SOI technology. On it, you'll find upwards of 1.4 billion transistors. It also features a 64KB Level 1 instruction cache, 1.5MB private L2 cache per core, 128K Level 1 data cache, and a pair of co-processors which function for cryptographic work. With all of those features, and that clock speed, you can surely guess that the price tag would be high, and it is. It's reported that the new chip could cost as high as the hundreds of thousands, or even up to a million.

[via Yahoo! News]