IBM Claims to Have Produced World's Fastest Processor

By Bobby Schweizer

IBM specializes in processors for enterprise systems, but advances in their new 5.2 GHz chip could trickle down to consumer.

On September 1, IBM proudly announced that it had produced the world's fastest computer processor the IBM z196. The 5.2 GHz chip is part of IBM's zEnterprise System line, intended for use in the enterprise computers that power the heavy workloads of client and server systems in industries like banking, shipping logistics, and health care.  

billion transistors into 512-square millimeter surface and is "capable of executing more than 50 billion instructions per second." Clearly, IBM believes reports of Moore's law's death have been greatly exaggerated. The z196 has been crafted for raw computing power in data-heavy sectors of the business world.  

Consumers might also benefit from the cooling technology IBM designed for the zEnterprise line. Though 5.2 GHz is not the fastest speed ever clocked—an achievement that belongs to AMD with a 3.2 GHz Phenom II X4 955 overclocked in AMD labs to 7 GHz—the z196 doesn't need liquid helium to run cool. Details on the cooling apparatus used for the CPU were not released by IBM (edit: turns out it's being water-cooled), but they did note that the z196 uses advanced sensors to constantly monitor and adjust the chip's cooling system, taking into account not only temperature, but also humidity and air density. Whereas 1.4 billion transistors might not make its way into consumer-grade hardware soon, this kind of intelligent cooling system would be a welcome addition to consumer and professional computers.
Image credit: IBM