Samsung tasked with producing IBM’s first 7nm processor

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The semiconductor industry is in the midst of a shift towards 7nm manufacturing. IBM just announced that the Power10 processor will be its first chip built on the newer process. It has tasked Samsung to produce the chip.

IBM notes that the Power10 processor will have three times better energy efficiency, workload capacity, and container density than its predecessor, the Power9. The firm is targeting the hybrid cloud computing market with its latest offering.

Meet the Power10

IBM’s new Power10 chips are gaining a lot of performance thanks to the node jump to 7nm. It should deliver exciting benefits for a variety of sectors that utilize hybrid cloud computing.

General manager of IBM Cognitive Systems, Stephen Leonard, says, “Enterprise-grade hybrid clouds require a robust on-premises and off-site architecture inclusive of hardware and co-optimized software.”

He adds, “With IBM Power10 we’ve designed the premier processor for enterprise hybrid cloud, delivering the performance and security that clients expect from IBM. With our stated goal of making Red Hat OpenShift the default choice for hybrid cloud, IBM POWER10 brings hardware-based capacity and security enhancements for containers to the IT infrastructure level.”

The efficiency upgrades that come with IBM’s latest Power10 chips will lead to things like reduced costs for data center operations and decreased physical space requirements.

Meanwhile, Power10 chips will open the door for new hardware-enabled security capabilities. Systems that use the 7nm processors will have features like transparent memory encryption, faster encryption performance, and fully homomorphic encryption.

Currently, IBM expects Power10-based products to be available starting in the second half of 2021. While details about the chip lineup remain scarce, some clues can be drawn from the Power9 series. The latter is available in configurations starting with four cores up to 22 cores per package. IBM’s Power10 series should follow a similar pattern.

Samsung Steps Up

The partnership between IBM and Samsung is nothing new. For more than a decade, the duo has been working together on research and development. That includes a successful demonstration of the industry’s first 7nm test chips through IBM’s Research Alliance.

Samsung will manufacture the new IBM Power10 chip with its 7nm process while using IBM’s CPU designs.

The firm is quickly becoming a powerhouse in the chip industry. After watching TSMC’s rise, Samsung accelerated its research and development projects with more money and manpower. In the second quarter of the year, Samsung’s chip revenues grew by three percent sequentially and 13 percent year-over-year.

That growth came at the perfect time considering that Samsung saw revenues for all of its other operating segments drop.


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