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Friday, January 05, 2007
Next-generation Cell Processor to Hit 6GHz

IBM and Toshiba are preparing the second-generation Cell processor that will run at almost twice the speed of the current chip.

The Cell processors are currently in Sony's new PlayStation 3 game console and IBM's QS20 blade servers. Their opeartion frequency is 3.2GHz, but the second-gen Cell will be clocked at almost 6GHz.

The information was revealed in the program (PDF) for the 2007 IEEE International Solid-State Circuits Conference, which is taking place in San Francisco in February 11-15.

"The new POWER6 microprocessor combines ultra-high frequency operation, aggressive power reduction, a highly scalable memory subsystem, and mainframe-like reliability, availability, and serviceability," according to IBM.

The 341mm2 700M transistor dual-core microprocessor is fabricated in a 65nm silicon-on-insulator (SOI) process with 10 levels of low-k copper interconnect. It operates at clock frequencies over 5GHz in high-performance applications, and consumes under 100W in power-sensitive applications.

Despite being clocked at 5-6GHz, the chip will also require just 1.3V, which is within the same range as Intel's current dual-core processors.

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