200 million miles per hour. (IBM's newest multichip package, part of their new System/390 computer series) (product announcement)
by Alan R. Bechtold
It's hard to imagine, but IBM's newest multichip package is actually capable of speeding electric impulses between computer chips at the rate of 280 million miles per hour. The record-breaking package, which holds 121 silicon chips inside a densely packed ceramic module, is currently in production as part of IBM's new System/390 series of large computers.
To take advantage of the increasing speed of computer chips, computer architects must design equally speedy connections between chips. In IBM's new package, 121 chips are tightly packaged just three-eighths of an inch from each other, which is an industry record.
The chips are mounted directly on a new IBM material called glass ceramic, which effectively transmits signals from one chip to another. They're connected by tiny wires made of copper, an excellent conductor of electricity. The package resembles a multilayered sandwich.
Although the new IBM chip package isn't intended for use in microcomputers, once the technology is tried and true, it could eventually trickle down to the PC platform.