The latest TOP500 list – a collection of the fastest supercomputers in the world – has been released by its creators, and there's some big wins for certain manufacturers.

The list, published this week on the TOP500 site, gives the number one spot to IBM's Roadrunner, built for the United States Department of Energy and hitting a staggering 1.026 petaflops/s – the first supercomputer to break the petaflop milestone. According to IBM, the key to this remarkable achievement was the use of Cell Broadband Engine processors – the same chips that are used in Sony's PlayStation 3 console.

In fact, this 31st incarnation of the list has been extremely kind to Big Blue – IBM systems account for almost half the systems listed. Intel has been doing well, too: 75 percent of the systems present in the list use one or another of their processors, and systems based around quad-core processors use Intel almost exclusively.

Intel's growth has come at a cost to its main competitor, however: AMD sees its x86-64 architecture drop from 15.8 percent back in November last year to just 11 percent in this latest compilation. The company's Opteron processor, however, makes a welcome appearance in the Roadrunner system, giving IBM's winner the grunt it needs to perform rapid general-purpose computing in addition to having blistering floating-point performance.

With Intel storming the charts, and IBM's radical Cell Broadband Engine proving its mettle, it's clear that AMD is going to have to pull something pretty special out of the R&D hat if it doesn't want to concede the high-performance computing market or find itself used as an accessory to more headline-grabbing processing engines.

Any of the figures from this latest list surprise you, or are you just gagging for a play with the Roadrunner? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

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