IBM Corp. has revealed a prototype blade server board featuring the Cell microprocessor jointly developed with the Sony Group and Toshiba Corp. The company demonstrated the prototype in front of only a few clients at a hotel room outside Los Angeles, US, at the 2005 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), game tradeshow. "We demonstrated the prototype to show that Cell continues to mature. The product is expected to have several times higher performance compared to conventional servers," said an IBM engineer.
The prototype, called the Cell Processor Based Blade Server, measured approximately 23 x 43 cm. Each board featured two Cell processors, two 512 Mb XDR DRAM chips and two South Bridge LSIs. The Cell processors were demonstrated running at 2.4-2.8 GHz. "We are driving the Cell processors at higher rates in the laboratory," said the engineer. "If operated at 3 GHz, Cell's theoretical performance reaches about 200 GFLOPS, which works out to about 400 GFLOPS per board," he added. IBM plans to release a rack product capable of storing seven of these boards.
The Cell processors and South Bridge LSIs on the board were equipped with large heat sinks and cooler fans. Using these components, a rack cannot store seven boards, however, the company expects to store seven boards in a rack by using thin, dedicated heat sinks. The OS used was Linux 2.6.11.
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