In the recently held Hot Chips 2020 conference, IBM has announced about IBM Power10 processor, the successor to the 14-nanometer Power9 processor from 2016. The new processor is under development for the last ten years. This newly designed processor is Big Blue’s first 7-nanometer processor that is ready to take heavy workloads for big data analytics or AI applications.

The power-packed Power10 processor is available in multiple configurations, but all the specifications are yet to be disclosed. The maximum single-chip module is limited to 15 SMT8 cores, and the dual-chip module will have no more than 30 SMT8 cores.

Other than power savings,  the Power10 is designed with proper hardware memory encryption with an estimated 40% faster cryptography. This happens because of the new AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) cores and enhanced features such as support for homomorphic encryption techniques. The processor possesses capabilities that help in delivering hardware-enforced container protection and isolation capabilities co-optimized with its firmware—thus enabling the processor to prevent other containers from being affected by any intrusion in the same machine.

Additional features of Power10 include dynamic execution register control that allows users to design apps that would be resistant to attacks. “Memory inception” in the processor lets any Power10-based system embedded in a cluster to share memory subsequently with other systems.  Meanwhile, at the AI side, the Power10 processor is expected by IBM to achieve 10–20 times enhanced performance for enterprise AI inference tasks compared with Power9.

Stephen Leonard, General Manager IBM Cognitive Systems at IBM, asserts that the Power10’s reduced power consumption would power data center efficiency and reduce costs while allowing hybrid cloud setups to acquire more work in a smaller footprint. With the cloud providers offering more capabilities, the memory inception feature will boost savings. An announcement made earlier in 2018 stated that Samsung would be manufacturing the Power10 processor. IBM distinguished engineer and Power10 architect William Starke says the processor is being tested across multiple system offerings and will be made available in the second half of 2021.

Similar to previous Power processors, licensing and modification of Power10 will be open for over 250 members of the OpenPower Foundation. Members of this partnership include Google, Mellanox, Nvidia, and Tyan.