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IBM Debuts POWER9 Server Systems

By Sean Michael Kerner (Send Email)
Posted December 5, 2017


IBM announced the debut of its newest generation processors on Dec. 5, with the launch of the POWER9 processor.

According to IBM, the POWER9 has four times the bandwidth over the previous POWER8 silicon. Additionally, POWER9 benefits from 25Gb/s high-bandwidth Coherent Accelerator Processor Interface (CAPI) 2.0 links for GPU acceleration. POWER9 can support up to 2 TB of coherent memory for both GPU-to-CPU and CPU-to-GPU communications.

The first new system announced by IBM to use the POWER9 is the Accelerated Compute AC922. There are two POWER9 CPUs in each AC922, with up to 22 cores per chip, for 44 cores in total. On the interface front, the AC922 also benefits from the PCIe gen4 interface, providing double the bandwidth of PCI gen 3.

The system pairs the POWER9 with an NVIDIA Tesla V100 GPU for deep learning and AI workloads. IBM's testing has shown that the POWER9 combined with the NVIDIA NVLink system provides a peak data transfer rate of 150 GB/sec.

The AC922 is already set to help power what will likely become the world's fastest supercomputer in 2018. The CORAL Summit System is being built by IBM and uses the POWER9 silicon architecture. The Summit supercomputer will be located at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and is designed to hit a peak of 200 petaflops.

"We've built a game-changing powerhouse for AI and cognitive workloads," Bob Picciano, SVP of IBM Cognitive Systems, said in a statement. "In addition to arming the world’s most powerful supercomputers, IBM POWER9 Systems are designed to enable enterprises around the world to scale unprecedented insights, driving scientific discovery and enabling transformational business outcomes across every industry."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at ServerWatch and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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