Intel debuts 48-core processor

Posted by Aharon Etengoff

Intel has debuted an experimental 48-core processor that could help revolutionize the future design of laptops, PCs and servers.

Indeed, the next-generation chip boasts approximately 10 to 20 times the processing engines found inside today's most popular Intel Core-branded CPUs.

Intel debuts 48-core processor

The 48-core processor also features a high-speed on-chip network to facilitate the rapid sharing of information.

??In addition, the chip includes new power management techniques that allow all cores to operate at 25 watts (idle), or at 125 watts when running at maximum performance.

48 core chip Intel

According to Intel, future laptops powered by 48-core processors are likely to be capable of "vision" - or sensing - in the same way a human can see objects and motion in real-time. 

"Imagine, for example, someday interacting with a computer for a virtual dance lesson or on-line shopping that uses a future laptop's 3-D camera and display to show you a 'mirror' of yourself wearing the clothes you are interested in. Twirl and turn and watch how the fabric drapes and how the color complements your skin tone," Intel explained in a statement.

Intel 48 core diagram

"This kind of interaction could eliminate the need of keyboards, remote controls or joysticks for gaming. Some researchers believe computers may even be able to read brain waves, so simply thinking about a command, such as dictating words, would happen without speaking."

Although Intel conceded that programming processors with a large number of multiple cores was a definite "challenge," it noted that researchers have already begun porting cloud applications using a Java software framework known as Hadoop. 

Additional chip specs include:

  • ?Intelligent cores - The concept chip features a high-speed network between cores to efficiently share information and data. This technique provides a significant improvement in communication performance and energy efficiency over today's datacenter model, as data packets are only required to move millimeters on a single chip instead of tens of meters to another computer system.
  • Software acceleration - Application software can use this network to quickly pass information directly between cooperating cores in a matter of microseconds, significantly reducing the need to access data in slower off-chip system memory. Applications can also dynamically manage exactly which cores are to be used for a given task at a given time, matching the performance and energy needs to the demands of each.
  • Core execution - Related tasks can be executed on nearby cores, passing results directly from one to the next as in an assembly line to maximize overall performance.
  • Core control - Software control is extended with the ability to manage voltage and clock speed. Cores can be turned on and off, thereby lowering or increasing performance levels and power consumption.

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