IBM unveils world's fastest computer chip

Computer giant, International Business Machines (IBM) yesterday unveiled details about the microprocessor in a new version of its mainframe, which Big Blue claims is the world's fastest computer chip that can process information at a record breaking speed of 5.2 GHz.

IBM says it spent over $1.5 billion in research and development on the zEnterprise line, and spent more than three years collaborating with some of its top clients around the world.

The z196 processor is a four-core chip that contains 1.4 billion transistors on a 512-square millimeter (mm) surface. The chip was designed by IBM engineers and was manufactured using IBM's 45 nanometer (nm) SOI processor technology in the company's 300mm fab in New York.

The Armonk, New York-based IBM said IBM labs in Austin, Texas, Germany, Israel and India also made major contributions to the z196 processor development.

The mainframe processor makes use of IBM's patented embedded DRAM (eDRAM) technology, which allows IBM to place dense DRAM caches, or components, on the same chips as high-speed microprocessors, resulting in improved performance.

From a performance standpoint, the zEnterprise System is the most powerful commercial IBM system ever. The core server in the zEnterprise System -- called zEnterprise 196 -- contains 96 of the world's fastest, most powerful microprocessors, capable of executing more than 50 billion instructions per second.