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IBM Power 6

The IBM Power6 system is an IBM-designed microprocessor that implemented the Power ISA v.2.03, and is available as IBM’s previous generation of Power Systems products. Its introduction to the market allowed it to succeed the Power5+ as IBM’s flagship Power microprocessor, providing more enhanced features and design that improves its data performance. The IBM Power6 is offered in various different models depending on the size of business being served, from smaller business to larger data centers, delivering mainframe-inspired reliability and availability features. Its primary function is to converge IBM’s server hardware as part of the eCLipz project, and it is based on a 64bit dual core processor. The Power6 is still available for AIX, IBM i and Linux clients on a single server.

Design

IBM’s P6 system is a 64bit dual-core processor, with each core capable of two-way simultaneous multithreading (SMT). This multithreading allows two threads to be executed at the same time on a single processor core, and is an important feature of Power6’s technology and design. Unlike the Power5 system, Power6 executes instructions in order instead of out of order. The Power6 achieves significant performance enhancements from previous IBM Power systems even with unmodified software, allowing it to run efficiently and feasibly. Power6 also maintains ViVA-2 (Virtual Vector Architecture) which allows the combination of several IBM P6 nodes to act as a single vector processor. Along with this, Power6 systems contain a variety of performance improvements including new hardware support such as its hardware decimal floating-point support system and connectivity to more processors using two inter node links. Each of IBM Power6’s two cores is improved with plenty of cache: 128KB of Level 1, 4MB of Level 2, and up to 32 MB of on-chip Level 3. It has room for up to 1,024 hardware-managed partitions. IBM P6’s design also includes an AltiVec SIMD accelerator which helps to improve the performance of high performance computing (HPC) workloads, allowing for an efficient functioning.

Power 6+

IBM’s Power6+ was made available in April 2009, although it had been shipping in Power560 and Power570 since October 2008. It held slightly more advanced improvements than the Power6, adding more memory keys for secure memory partition which was a feature taken from IBM’s mainframe processors.

Products

The categories of the IBM Power6 systems includes a variety of different models. This includes Express models (the 520, 550, and 560), as well as Enterprise models (the 570 and 595). The variety of system models are suited to serve different sized businesses, from small businesses to large, multi-environmental data centers. The difference between the two models is that the Enterprise models include Capacity Upgrade on Demand capabilities and hot-pluggable processors, as well as memory “books”.