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Rajeeb Hazra, General Manager of Intel's Technical Computing Group holding “Knights Corner”
Over 1 TeraFLOPS on a single chip

GPGPU and cloud computing have been hot topics for the last several years. Intel has shown off several designs like Larrabee and the Single-chip Cloud Computer in the past. However, it is Knights Corner that will be the firm's first commercial product to use the Many Integrated Core (MIC) architecture. The co-processor will be offered as a PCIe add-in board.

The MIC concept is simple: Use architecture specifically designed to process highly parallel workloads, but ensure compatibility with existing x86 programming models and tools.

This would give MIC co-processors the ability to run existing applications without the need to port the code to a new programming environment, theoretically allowing maximum CPU and co-processor performance simultaneously with existing x86 based applications. This would dramatically save time, cost and resources that would otherwise be needed to rewrite them to alternative proprietary languages.

AMD and NVIDIA have been trying to do with their latest architectures by enabling support for languages like C++, but Intel wants to challenge them in this potentially lucrative market.

Knights Corner will be manufactured using Intel’s latest 3-D Tri-Gate P1270 22nm transistor process and will feature more than 50 cores. Intel demonstrated first silicon of Knights Corner at the SC11 conference yesterday. The co-processor wowed the crowd by delivering more than 1 TeraFLOPS of double precision floating point performance.

The firm also touted its "commitment to delivering the most efficient and programming-friendly platform for highly parallel applications", and showed off the benefits of the MIC architecture in weather modeling, tomography, protein folding, and advanced materials simulation at its booth.

There is no timeframe on when Knights Corner will enter production or be available to customers.

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Do you know what this means for gaming?
By Tequilasunriser on 11/16/2011 1:24:42 PM , Rating: 2
I foresee this processor achieving many important goals, but what I'm most excited about is the prospect of more realistic physics in PC games!

The only thing that would hold this achievement back are the developers that won't go out on a limb in order to cater to the dirty, troglodyte, console gamers whose console can not produce the processing power for more realistic physics.

Consoles <--- This is why we don't have nice things.

RE: Do you know what this means for gaming?
By LordanSS on 11/16/2011 3:28:36 PM , Rating: 2
We've been there before....

PCs had the Ageia PPU for extra physics processing, but most game developers never cared about it, and there were a couple of implementations that weren't all that good.

Then comes nVidia and buys out Ageia, and locks out PhysX to their own hardware. If you're one of the unlucky few who bought an original Ageia card, and have an AMD video card plugged in... unless you use some modified third-party drivers, you lose your PhysX capabilities. Thanks, nVidia. Not.

It just kinda baffles me, though... the other big physics name, Havok, is owned by Intel. And as expected, Intel never cared to expand much on it. Would be interesting if they switched over Havok to OpenCL/DirectCompute, but there's simply no way Intel would be giving their competitors a free lunch like that. =/

By someguy123 on 11/16/2011 4:05:17 PM , Rating: 2
Portions of the physx library are used in tons of games. Most games just don't use the more complicated particle physics to avoid being forced into the smaller physx userbase. Technically developers should be able to use something like OpenCL if they really wanted physics acceleration on GPU, similarly to what ID did with their gpu-based megatexture streaming.

By andre-bch on 11/16/2011 6:46:56 PM , Rating: 2
There are two major physics engines, havok and physx.

There was a GPU accelerated multi-platform version of havok called FX which apparently got canceled. Just as you said maybe intel doesn't want to give the competition a free lunch.

nvidia's physx can only be accelerated through their proprietary CUDA API, with no openCL and DirectCompute support in sight.

If things continue like this, we won't see GPU accelerated physics catching on any time soon.

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