IBM announces PowerXCell 8i, QS22 blade serverTuesday 13th May 2008, 11:23:00 PM, written by Carl Bender
Following its successful test period with the Department of Energy, the PowerXCell 8i will become available commercially next month through IBM's newly announced BladeCenter QS22, a blade-based solution rated at 217 GFlops of DP performance in a single-slot form factor. With over fifty customers presently migrating code to the QS22, IBM sees an opportunity in a market niche it estimates is worth roughly $8-10 billion. The PowerXCell 8i will be aimed at seven industries where the architecture is particularly well suited for HPC performance gains, including: Aerospace/defense, Health care/life sciences, Petroleum exploration, Financial, Digital media, Electronics, and Government. In addition to the architectural refinements of the new Cell, IBM has continued work on the software and tools, allowing the QS22 to function in an increasingly transparent fashion inside of heterogeneous BladeCenter environments. Through the development of new API/library functionality, customers are able to take advantage of QS22-accelerated code vectorization on low-hanging fruit (such as Monte Carlo) without the need to make significant alterations to the original x86 or POWER code.
Developed as an offshoot of the Cell partnership with Sony and Toshiba, IBM has indicated that in the future, high-volume/performance-intensive applications such as game systems are likely to continue as the point of origination for new high-performance architectures. It can be expected that to some extent the eventual STI Cell '2' will reflect IBM's design gambit in a post-Larrabee/GPGPU computing world, the massively parallel space in which Cell v1.0 itself was an early player.
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