IBM Announces 'Game-Changing' Power9 Servers For AI

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AgentLozen

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Hypothetically, how would a POWER9 CPU stack up against a Core i7?
If you could get Microsoft to rewrite Windows 10 for the POWER architecture and get some apps and games that could similarly use both x86 and POWER CPUs, I wonder how the benchmarks would turn out.

I'm under the impression that the design philosophy for server CPUs is to focus on processing threads and not pay so much attention to IPC. Maybe a POWER9 would only beat Intel chips in specific, highly threaded applications.
 

therealduckofdeath

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Well, you said it yourself, I think. It would struggle for 99.9% of the things a Core processor is designed for. The things a normal person uses a PC for. I doubt it would even compete with a pre-Ryzen AMD processor.
 

derekullo

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Some quick info on Power9

Max. CPU clock rate 4 GHz
Min. feature size 14 nm (FinFET)
Cores 12 SMT8 cores or 24 SMT4 cores
L1 cache 32+32 KB per core
L2 cache 512 KB per core
L3 cache 120 MB per chip

Linux is supported on the 24 core version.

It was designed for servers and has a server price tag $6000+.

SMT or simultaneous multi-threading is basically hyper-threading without patent infringement.

The 4 in SMT4 means 4 threads per core so the 24 core becomes 96 threads.

60 threads doing Monero :)
 

ByteJuggler

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Argh, I just spent 5 minutes writing a comment which tomshardware has now eaten due to asking me to log in. Anyway, In short: Historically the Power processors have been very competitive (usually slightly faster) on a core-with-same-threads-enabled basis. Largely perhaps due to the Power processors having higher clock rates than equivalent x86 server Xeon parts. Also to note, the Power architecture is no new kid on the block, and was for example used in the XBox 360. Consequently I would expect Power9 to be very competitive with the latest x86 processors in most workloads. However, in very concurrently workloads the Power architecture wins substantially because while x86 Intel only ever gives you at most 2 threads per core, Power8 gives you 8 threads per core, and I imagine Power9 will give you at least that, if not more. The bottom line, it is likely quite competitive regardless of workload, with it being significantly faster in some highly concurrent workloads. But watch the pricetag, perhaps...
 

TJ Hooker

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Argh, I just spent 5 minutes writing a comment which tomshardware has now eaten due to asking me to log in.
Yeah, this happens to me all the time, but usually if this happens you can go Back one page and the text you wrote will still be in the comment field. You can then copy it, log in as required, paste and resubmit it.

I really wish Tom's would just sort out their site though. The format changes seem completely unnecessary to me, and have resulted in a site that's been buggy in one way or another ever since they started rolling it out months ago.
 

Rock_n_Rolla

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In additon:

POWER9 has a revised instruction sets encoded with its procs. and its specially designed or more streamlined with Ai / Deep learning / Massive data crunching apps in all walks of studies and research as long as their frameworks can go to get the best result and analyzation in da shortest time possible.

When it comes to horse power and power consumption, a single rack of power 9 server with 24 cores, will save you a bit on electricity but will give you tremendous computing power in shortest time depending on needs as compared to a single rack i7 / Xeon server having 2 cpus with 20 cores / 40 threads on each. In a 24 core / 96 thread Power9 server u can imagine the computation advantages and capabilities in can offer while spending a bit less as compared Intel's Xeon single rack server products. IMO.
 

oneplanet4all

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The Power9 feeds data to the NVidia GPUs, which is where the real computing is done. This is pretty much what the i-processors from Intel do as well, only on a much smaller scale... GPUs compute much faster and have greater parrellellism than CPUs. The CPU is for many of todays computation tasks just a data shuffling device and not where the real number crunching takes place...
 

oneplanet4all

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The Power9 feeds data to the NVidia GPUs, which is where the real computing is done. This is pretty much what the i-processors from Intel do as well, only on a much smaller scale... GPUs compute much faster and have greater parrellellism than CPUs. The CPU is for many of todays computation tasks just a data shuffling device and not where the real number crunching takes place...
 

tommysandi

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Power systems are not only used for AI, they are freqently used for EPRs, EPM and other enterprise applications. In those scenarios GPUs are completely irrelevant, while CPUs with many threads are fundamental to keep performance consisten when many users are connected. That said unfortunately most of enterprise applications are terrible from an efficiency perspective and they required a massive amount of resources because they are suboptimal collection of different sfotware created in different time by different vendors that have been acquired or merged.
 

therealduckofdeath

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That's an insulting oversimplification of what software, games and processors does today. :) The longest running joke in gaming is actually a good example of how important processing power is. "Can it run Crysis?". The first processor able to handle that game without breaking a sweat is the latest generation Intel Core. For what I assume is to simplify bug fixing and speeding up development, game developers almost always limit their thread-needs to two
One for that GPU-feeding and one for all the NPC/AI/other stuff. That second one is the one this IBM processor would struggle with. They do obviously use more threads, but the other ones are usually not under any particular load. Like, mouse polling, networking and such.
 

oneplanet4all

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It's all up to the programmer what processor he/she wants to make the code run on. Crysis programmers obviously piled more execution on the CPU, which is a design choice... Arguments about business software running on CPUs... Yeah, but they don't do any computing, do they? That's mainly just data input and storage(IO).
 
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