Tilera has launched an advanced line of TILE-Gx processors that reportedly offer "ten times better" compute efficiency than Intel's next-generation Westmere chip.
The processors - fabricated in TSMC's 40 nanometer process - operate at up to 1.50 GHz with power consumption ranging from 10 to 55 watts.
"The TILE-Gx line, available with 16, 36, 64 and 100 cores, employs Tilera's unique architecture that scales well beyond the core count of traditional microprocessors," Tilera spokesperon Bob Doud told TG Daily. "Tilera's two-dimensional iMesh interconnect eliminates the need for an on-chip bus and its Dynamic Distributed Cache (DDC) system allows each cores' local cache to be shared coherently across the entire chip."
Doud explained that the two "key" technologies enabled TILE architecture performance to scale nearly linearly with the number of cores on the chip.
"Tilera is four years ahead of everyone else in the chip world. Unlike Intel, we were able to begin our chip design with a clean slate. Intel is weighed down by a certain amount of baggage, for example, an immense investment in X86 architecture. They have to ensure backwards compatibility for a number of server and consumer products," stated Doud.
"But our view is that increasing performance is not just about driving up clock frequency. Although higher clock frequency does lead to higher speeds, the power draw goes up exponentially as a result. Our belief is that the performance should be raised via parallelism - or many cores running at modest clock speeds."
Advancing compute capabilities
According to Doud, Tilera's many-core model has already advanced compute capabilities in a number of critical areas, such as:
Adoption and target markets
Doud emphasized that the TILE-Gx processor family was "ideal" for a wide range of applications, including enterprise networking, cloud computing, multimedia and wireless infrastructure.
"Cloud computing is a very broad term and it is obviously a huge market. We certainly expected to broaden our foothold and market share over time. We offer incredible compute efficiency, about 10x more than Intel's Nehalem processor. Tilera also delivers significantly better performance per watt than Sun's SPARC architecture."
He added that the world was "shifting away" from software that exploited "specific" hardware.
"This paradigm shift is a good thing for us, as it opens up a myriad of opportunities in terms of Tilera adoption. For example, there is a definite move away from Wintel specific platforms to a more generic Linux base. Hardware is a very level playing field, one where we shine through in terms of performance and power consumption."
Finally, Doud noted that the "fundamental OS" for TILE-Gx processors was a Linux distribution known as Zol Linux, or zero overhead Linux.
"Our processors are extremely standard in terms of Linux, which has been successfully ported to dozens of platforms. And once you have Linux running, there a number of tools that offer support for C++ and Java," explained Doud. "Tilera provides a multicore development environment for its TILE-Gx processors that includes a GCC compiler, standard gdb gprof, Eclipse IDE, multicore debug and multicore profile. In addition, our standard application stack offers a bare metal environment, hypervisor layer, virtualization capabilities, I/O devices drivers and a load balancer."
The TILE-Gx36 processor will be sampling in Q4 of 2010 with the other processors rolling out in the following two quarters. Low volume pricing will range from under $400 for the Gx36 to less than $1,000 for the Gx100.
Additional Tilera TILE-Gx processor specs