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IBM Renews Mainframe With z13

Here's a look inside IBM's new 141-core computer.

The word "mainframe" may conjure up an exhibit at a tech museum, but the old giant of computing is still alive and well, thank you. In evidence of that fact, the chief technologist of IBM's mainframe computer division gave EE Times a virtual walk-through of its latest version, the z13, launched today.

The z13 is based on an eight-core processor made in the same 22 nm process as IBM's Power 8 processors. A fully configured system sports up to 141 of the cores, running its legacy mainframe instruction set architecture at screaming 5-GHz data rates.

In addition to an upgrade from six-core processors, the z13 is IBM's first mainframe to support vector and symmetric multiprocessing. The system is geared to run dual-threaded versions of Linux, Java, and IBM's DB2 database.

"It's got the best single-thread performance in the industry -- much of it due to cycle time and the best cache-to-thread ratio of any commercial processor," Jeff Frey, an IBM Fellow and CTO of its zSystems Platform, told us. With dual-threading, "we expect to get safely 30% additional throughput compared to single-thread performance."

Read the rest of this article on EE Times.