IBM yesterday announced its Power6 chip. IBM said that the next-generation microprocessor for its Unix and Linux systems offers double the performance of the earlier Power5+ device.

According to IBM the Power6 processor consumers roughly the same amount of electricity as the Power5+ chip.

Because companies will be able to move existing workloads to Power6-based systems and cut the energy use of their servers almost in half, the increase of processing speed from the 2.2GHz Power5+ to the 4.7GHz Power6 isn't the only reason users will upgrade to the dual-core chip, according to Ross Mauri, general manager of IBM's System p business unit.

"Energy consumption is now an important factor," Mauri said.

The Power6 will be generally available within two weeks in a new midrange server, called the System p 570, that can support up to eight physical processor sockets, for a total of 16 cores.

The p 570 will run IBM's AIX version of Unix as well as Red Hat Linux and SUSE Linux, and it will be aimed at server consolidation or database and application server uses.