CNET presents us more information about IBM's upcoming Power6 processors which will feature clockspeeds of 5GHz and higher and the Cell Broadband Engine processor from IBM, Sony and Toshiba which will run at 6GHz.
Chipmakers have run into problems increasing chip clock speed--essentially an electronic heartbeat that synchronizes operations in a processor--because higher frequencies have led to unmanageable power consumption and waste heat.
To compensate, Intel and Advanced Micro Devices have turned instead to the addition of multiple processing cores on each slice of silicon. That's effective when computers are juggling numerous tasks at the same time, but increasing the clock speed means an individual task can run faster.
The first-generation Cell Broadband Engine chip, co-developed by IBM, Sony, and Toshiba, has just appeared in Sony's PlayStation 3 game console and can run at 4GHz. The second-generation chip will run at 6GHz, according to the ISSCC program. In addition, the new chip will have a dual power supply that increases memory performance--a major bottleneck in computer designs today.