IBM demos Cell-powered blade servers

— 4:53 PM on March 10, 2006

CNET reports that IBM showed off a prototype Cell-based blade server at CeBit today. The server ran visualization software illustrating a 3D-rendered animation of a beating heart that could be filtered to only show certain elements, such as blood vessels.

Cell will be used in Sony's upcoming PlayStation 3 console, but game developers such as John Carmack have criticized the chip's in-order architecture, claiming that it will offer performance below that of current desktop CPUs. However, IBM's Linux on Cell development team leader Utz Bacher says that "conventional computers find it very hard to cope with tasks such as transparency," and that Cell is better equipped to handle such workloads. IBM expects to start shipping Cell servers in the third quarter, but pricing hasn't been set. The Cell-based blades reportedly consume twice as much rack space as existing blade servers, as well.

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