IBM Corp. announced an upgraded version of its blade server based on the Cell processor on Wednesday, adding memory and data throughput for better performance on high-end applications such as graphics and finance.
IBM also shaved the size of the server, so users can fit 14 of the new IBM BladeCenter QS21s into each chassis, compared to seven units of its predecessor, the QS20. The new version can also function in a diverse blade environment, working alongside computers based on the x86 or PowerPC chip architecture to assign workloads to the most efficient platform, said Paula Richards, product line manager for Cell systems at IBM.
“We’re seeing many applications where users want to actually marry a quad-core Intel or AMD blade with a Cell blade, so they can use the standard blade for basic workloads, then push their mission-critical, exotic applications off to the Cell platform,” Richards said.
IBM will begin selling the QS21 in October to users in industries that need to run visual computing tasks such as 3D rendering and time-critical jobs like compression and encryption. The system relies on the Cell Broadband Engine processor, created for Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.’s PlayStation 3 gaming system by the consortium of IBM, Sony and Toshiba Corp.