Informing the IBM Community


The waiting is over and Power10 is here. So, it is time to take our first look at the new chip architecture, in general, and the new E1080 server, in particular.

There is too much material to include in one article. So, in the spirit of the new chip name, I will give you my top ten things that I think you need to know.

10. The new naming format now Power10 not POWER10

This might be one of the worst adhered to standards but officially until now, when talking about a specific generation of server such as POWER8 or POWER9, we were supposed to write the word POWER in all capitals, even though when referring to IBM Power Systems™ you would use just a capital P in Power.

From now on, that confusing (and at times rather clunky looking) POWER is a thing of the past. Instead, we just use a capitalised Power for both when referring to the chip or the server, but FYI there is no space between them. e.g. Power10.

As you can see it also has a fresh looking new Power10 logo which I think looks great!

9. First Power10 server is the Enterprise E1080

IBM has decided to focus its Power10 server launch at the high end, focusing on Enterprise customers.  This makes perfect sense to me for a number of reasons. Firstly, as an industry we are being pushed harder than ever to consolidate more workloads into less space and use less electricity in the process and this is where the Power10 chip really excels.

When you factor in the increasing need for new Artificial Intelligence (or more accurately Machine Learning) then these behemoth data crunchers will have the most bang for their buck in Enterprise, Research and Cloud environments. 

IBM haven’t forsaken the rest of us, as the Scale Out servers are more popular now than ever. So, it won’t be too long before we are seeing smaller Power10 Server models.

8. Comparing Power10 to x86

It is hard to get you head around just how powerful these new server cores are. This hit home for me when in one example, IBM showed how they replaced 128 Intel servers with just 2 Power10 E1080’s!

This real-life use case focused on a high-end database server, not some theoretical cloud solution but a traditional database, the type of workload that we all use in our businesses today.

IBM have also announced that Power10 has:

  • 4.1 times per core throughput than x86 running OpenShift
  • 2.5 times per core higher score on SPECint benchmark
  • Delivering 50% more capacity per watt
  • Can run more than twice the number of SAP user per core

Meaning that yet again Power chips can beat the snot out of their Intel x86 rivals.

7. Comparing Power10 to Power9 & Power8

Initial tests show that the Power10 processor delivers around a third more processing power than a Power9 and double that of a Power8.

But when it comes to electric power consumption then the exact opposite is true with the Power10 core using around a third less energy than a Power9 and half that of a Power8.

I think that makes this the greenest chip ever.

6. Building security into the hardware

From the very beginning Power10 has been designed with security in mind.

Allowing it to protect you against Speculative Execution attacks (Spectre and Meltdown) better than any chip I’ve seen before.

As part of this IBM has embedded a new End to End Encrypted Memory technology, this means that even if Dr Evil can install some nefarious hardware or software in the server, you still have protection from his dastardly doings.

5. Improved AI Performance

As I hinted at before, the Power10 chip has also been optimised for Artificial Indigence / Machine Learning.  It literally has the extra AI hardware baked into the chip. 

This can completely remove the need for separate GPU hardware, instead it allows you to do all the work in the main processor.  This is better for performance, better for your wallet and last (but by no means least) it is better for the environment, as we use less hardware and less electricity.

4 Improved Reliability, Availability & Serviceability

There is no surprise here as with every generation of Power System IBM has delivered improvements in Reliability, Availability and Serviceability, they call this RAS.  
Put simply more RAS = Less downtime.

This can be seen throughout the hardware stack, but most notably in a new memory architecture that delivers twice the RAS level of that seen in your standard x86 servers.

With improved self monitoring and self healing cabapibilies baked into the system design, the Power10 looks to be the most reliable server yet.

3.Open Memory Interface and PCI Gen5

All computers wait for data at the same speed. So, there is no point in making the processor faster if the RAM or the internal data busses cannot keep up with them.

It is not just Power10 chip that is faster inside the E1080, we see the industry’s first complete deployment of PCI Gen5 bus architecture to connect I/O, Memory and Processor. This alone can literally double the data throughput.

But perhaps more interesting, is the move to a new memory architecture called OMI (Open Memory Interface). OMI is not only faster today (up to 1 Terabyte per second with less than 10 nanosecond response time) but brings with it a memory abstraction layer (which has echoes of IBM i own SLIC architecture) that will allow for more open memory compatibility in the future and maybe one day  the ability to use RAM located in another server.

When I say this memory is fast, I mean really fast. To try to put this in context, OMI could allow you to read in an entire HD movie in 0.02 seconds and for you to ask for it 100 billion times faster than I could click a mouse.

2. What Operating Systems are supported?

We will see support for IBM i 7.3 & 7.4 as well as AIX 7.1,7.2 &7.3 and of course both RHEL and SLES Linux.  What I find interesting is that IBM now differentiates OpenShift as an Operating System that is separate and distinct from RHEL. This is not altogether unprecedented as they have done the same things for AIX and VIOS, but to me it demonstrates that IBM is really “all in” on OpenShift.

1.Power10 Chip Tech Specs

I am a hardware guy at heart and so my top pick has to be the speeds and feeds from this amazing new chip:

  • 16 Sockets
  • 240 Cores
  • 64TB RAM
  • 1636 GB/s Memory Bandwidth
  • 576 GB/s Input Output Bandwidth
  • 7nm wafer with 18 billion devices
  • 18 layer metal stack design
  • Single-chip or Dual-chip sockets
  • 4 x MMU relative to POWER9

To put it another way, this new Power10 rocks!

i-UG gets personal

It was amazing to see so many of you in person in Wolverhampton back in July for our Hybrid iPower event. This made us all realise just how much more we enjoyed the in-person part of the event. So, with this in mind, our next event is In Person Only and will be held at The National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park on the 7th October.  Number are seriously being limited and I suspect it will be a sold out soon so act now.  For more details check out

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