Print 51 comment(s) - last by Tyler 86.. on Oct 3 at 1:16 PM

Paul Otellini holds up a wafer with 6400 cores
Intel promises teraflop chips within the next five years

Intel today announced that it has produced its first teraflop-on-a-chip.  The chip, essentially a prototype, was demonstrated when Intel CEO Paul Otellini showed off the wafer during this week's IDF conference opening keynote.

Each of the 80 processors on the wafer contain a die with eighty cores -- 6400 cores in total.  Each CPU has more than one terabyte per second of throughput between the CPU cores and the on-die SRAM. Otellini claims that this technology will be available within 5 years, putting it in line with the previously outlined Gesher family expected to ship in 2010. 

To put that into perspective, the fastest public supercomputer in 1996 was the ASCI Red which featured over 4,500 compute nodes using 200MHz Pentium Pro processors and was the first computer to break the 1 teraflops barrier.

Each of the individual CPUs runs at 3.1GHz in a very simple configuration.  These are far from production-ready processors and are mainly for demonstration purposes.  Each processor is also unique in the fact that the packaging is three dimensional.  The cache substrate is "stacked" directly underneath the FPUs, thus saving space and latency. 

The processors are just one component of Intel's Tera-Scale initiative -- a set of research projects geared to bringing multi-teraflop systems to the masses by 2010.  More objectives of this project, including software design, will be announced later during the Intel Developer Forum.

Intel also today announced the official name for its quad-core desktop and server CPU: the Core 2 Quad. As its name implies, the processor contains four cores and features a 1066MHz front-side bus. For benchmarks on the Core 2 Quad, you can check out DailyTech’s Kentsfield article from yesterday.

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RE: Sounds nice
By PedroDaGr8 on 9/26/2006 4:47:51 PM , Rating: 2
I LOVE when people quote things that aren't true. Hell things that have been known to be not true for over a year. That statement of 10Ghz in 2005 was debunked on THIS site a while back. If I remember correctly they even discussed the origins some.

RE: Sounds nice
By Clauzii on 9/26/2006 7:22:00 PM , Rating: 2
The right answer is this:

Intel had an ALU-part running 10GHz. NOT a whole CPU.

I also don't think this will be 80 equal cores. probably 4 or 8 normal ones, and some "CELL"-like stuff in the rest for fast FPU etc.

RE: Sounds nice
By Tyler 86 on 9/26/2006 8:07:14 PM , Rating: 2

I wonder what the architecture is like in each of these 80 cores...

Today on x86 architecture, we work with 8 GP registers, 8 FPU/MMX registers, and 8 SSE/XMM, (or, with amd64, 16/16/16) while IA-64 architectures have 128 GP registers, and then some...

They used tera '-flops', which indicates fl oating point o erations p er s econd... so I'm assuming each of those simple processors are low precision (maybe less than 32-bit precision, eg fp24, fp16, maybe less, & perhaps non-IEEE?) with maybe 2 internal registers and direct memory access? ... but at 3.1ghz...

If it can do a teraflop at 3.1ghz... that's ridiculous...
The "PS3 has been announced as having a theoretical 2.18 TFLOPS", but most probably believe that's crap...

ATi claims the X1900 architecture is capable of 554 GFLOPS (0.554 TFLOPS), and crossfire isn't exactly unheard of ... they run at ~600Mhz... so...

Still, extra dimensionally stacked wafers makes my mouth water... that's an easy gateway to high performance.

RE: Sounds nice
By JeffDM on 9/26/2006 9:30:19 PM , Rating: 2
A theoretical teraflop on an 80 core SIMD CPU running at 3.1GHz doesn't sound too ridiculous, especially if each core has two floating point SIMD units with two pieces of data per instruction.

RE: Sounds nice
By Tyler 86 on 9/26/2006 9:36:16 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry, not ridiculous in that it's possible... It's ridiculous that it doesn't do more, considering, theoreticly, that a 'single core' X1900 architecture GPU at ~1200Ghz, with appropriate memory bandwidth, can do over 1 teraflop...

RE: Sounds nice
By Clauzii on 9/28/2006 2:49:54 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, my thought too.

Considering CELL w. 8 SPEs @ 3.2Ghz ~ theoreticly 240 GFlops - One TFlop for 80 cores seems like not so much :( (Per core anyway).

RE: Sounds nice
By Tyler 86 on 10/3/2006 1:16:20 PM , Rating: 2
Ah crap, I just realized, I said 1200 G hz, I meant 1200Mhz... but you guys knew that, right?

RE: Sounds nice
By trabpukcip on 10/2/2006 12:12:33 AM , Rating: 3
Doesn't an ALU in a P4 run at double the clockspeed?
A P4 has been overclocked to 6GHz before hence the ALU would be at 12GHz?

RE: Sounds nice
By Clauzii on 10/2/2006 3:16:38 PM , Rating: 2
Yes! The ALU has been doubleclocked the whole P4 line through. Which also means that the 10GHz ALU was no theory at all :)

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