Power9 is a new CPU architecture based on 14nm FinFET process technology and should be out in the second half of 2017. Of course it is not headed for mainstream desktops and notebooks – it is being targeted to compete with AMD’s Opteron and Intel's Xeon.
IBM said that Power9 was developed to handle the evolution of artificial intelligence, cognitive computing, and analytics.
There are two flavours - a “scale-out” model optimised for two CPU sockets on the motherboard, and a “scale-up” model built for multiple CPU sockets.
They feature two processor configurations each. There is a chip packed with 24 SMT4 processor cores that’s optimised for the Linux ecosystem, and a chip packed with 12 SMT8 processor cores optimised for the PowerVM. The SMT8 has eight threads whereas the SMT4 only has four.
The “scale out” model will depend on direct attach memory and have eight direct DDR4 ports. The “scale out” model uses buffered memory and use eight buffered channels. IBM said the Power9 will have a reduced pipeline compared to Power8 which means improved performance in applications that use modern coding.
Big Blue listed the other benefits introduced by Power9 architecture including advanced branch prediction, local pipe control of load/store operations, and even a new instruction set providing support for emerging algorithms, broader data type support, energy and frequency management, and acceleration.