Server requirements have changed in recent years with more focus on accelerated computing than on building technology around a chip, Balog said.
IBM has doubled the number of Power9 CPU cores to 24, but Balog said co-processors like FPGAs (field-programmable gate arrays) and GPUs are playing a bigger role in server computation. Power9 will support a new interconnect called NVLink so CPUs can communicate with components significantly faster than existing PCI-Express 3.0.
An interface called CAPI, linking FPGAs and new memory types to Power9 chips, will also be faster.
As part of OpenPower Foundation, IBM also licenses its architecture so chip makers can design Power derivatives. It's not yet clear if companies outside IBM will design Power9-based chips.
The company is always looking for licensing partners for the Power architecture, but progress has been slow. For now, Chinese company Suzhou PowerCore Technology is designing Power8 variants for the Chinese market.
The number of "vendors who have the skills to be able to take a sophisticated processor and do derivatives of it for the server market is actually perhaps a smaller universe than we thought," Balog said.
IBM will work with OpenPower Foundation partners to launch Power9, Balog said.
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