IBM pushing System z, Power7+ chips as high as 5.5GHz, mainframes get mightier

Ten-core, 2.4GHz Xeons? Pshaw. IBM is used to the kind of clock speeds and brute force power that lead to Europe-dominating supercomputers. Big Blue has no intentions of letting its guard down when it unveils its next generation processors at the upcoming Hot Chips conference: the company is teasing that the "zNext" chip at the heart of a future System z mainframe will ramp up to 5.5GHz -- that's faster than the still-speedy 5.2GHz z196 that has led IBM's pack since 2010. For those who don't need quite that big a sledgehammer, the technology veteran is hinting that its upcoming Power7+ processors will be up to 20 percent faster than the long-serving Power7, whose current 4.14GHz peak clock rate may seem quaint. We'll know just how much those extra cycles mean when IBM takes to the conference podium on August 29th, but it's safe to say that our databases and large-scale simulations won't know what hit them.