IBM to license Power CPU architecture, integrate with Nvidia GPU tech


— 10:34 AM on August 7, 2013

IBM has announced that it will begin licensing its Power processor technology to other companies. As part of the move, IBM has formed an OpenPower Consortium with Nvidia, Tyan, and Mellanox. Those firms will work together to "build advanced server, networking, storage and GPU-acceleration technology aimed at delivering more choice, control and flexibility to developers of next-generation, hyperscale and cloud data centers."

According to the press release, IBM and Nvidia will work to "integrate the CUDA GPU and POWER ecosystems." I expect we'll see more cooperation between Power-based processors and Tesla GPUs. Interestingly, Nvidia said in June that it would license its Kepler GPU architecture to Android device makers. At the time, the company also revealed that its visual computing portfolio would be available for licensing. Perhaps, with IBM and Nvidia working together, you'll be able to get a package discount on a bundle that includes both Power and CUDA IP.

Although Power-based processors are largely restricted to servers, the CPU architecture has been featured in a number of game consoles, including the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii U. With next-gen consoles moving to x86-compatible APUs and mobile platforms firmly entrenched in ARM territory, I doubt we'll see much Power-based gaming action in the future. The architecture hasn't had a presence in consumer PCs since Apple made the switch to Intel CPUs back in 2005.

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