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This paper describes the implementation of the IBM POWER6™ microprocessor, a two-way simultaneous multithreaded (SMT) dual-core chip whose key features include binary compatibility with IBM POWER5™ microprocessor-based systems; increased functional capabilities, such as decimal floating-point and vector multimedia extensions; significant reliability, availability, and serviceability enhancements; and robust scalability with up to 64 physical processors. Based on a new industry-leading high-frequency core architecture with enhanced SMT and driven by a high-throughput symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) cache and memory subsystem, the POWER6 chip achieves a significant performance boost compared with its predecessor, the POWER5 chip. Key extensions to the coherence protocol enable POWER6 microprocessor-based systems to achieve better SMP scalability while enabling reductions in system packaging complexity and cost.
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