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A quick look at the program outline for the International Solid State Circuits Conference reveals Power6 chips faster than 5GHz, Cell chips faster than 6GHz and 80-core Intel processors

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Many believe that the race for GHz ended with the Pentium 4 architecture, but you wouldn’t be able to tell by looking at the speed of these two upcoming IBM processors. According to the agenda of the International Solid State Circuits conference, IBM’s Power6 Processor will operate at speeds of over 5GHz in high-performance applications. The second-generation of the Cell Broadband Engine processor, which was co-developed by IBM, Sony and Toshiba, will run at 6GHz.  More details of Intel's "teraflop-on-a-chip" network processor will also be revealed.

The ISSCC2007 advanced program (PDF) claims IBM Power6 server processors are expected to begin shipping in 2007. Although it has been widely believed that the processors will run at a clock frequency between 4GHz and 5GHz, information provided by IBM for the ISSCC agenda states otherwise. The processor will run at over 5GHz in “high-performance applications” while also running at under 100 watts in “power sensitive applications.”’

IBM states that the Power6 offers “ultra-high frequency operation, aggressive power reduction, a highly scalable memory subsystem, and mainframe-like reliability, availability, and serviceability.” The dual-core 341 square millimeter processor features 700 million transistors. It is constructed using a 65-nanometer manufacturing process.

The ISSCC program also revealed technical details of the second generation IBM, Sony and Toshiba Cell Broadband Engine.  The first generation of the chip, which is currently used in the Sony PlayStation 3, runs at frequencies up to 3.2GHz. The second generation chip, on the other hand, will receive a frequency boost of nearly 3GHz and have an operating frequency of 6GHz at 1.3V. In addition, it will be constructed using 65nm CMOS SOI technology and will feature a dual power supply helping increase memory performance.

Despite IBM’s evident advancements in clock speed, Intel will still be holding firm to its multi-core approach to performance. According to the program schedule for ISSCC, Intel will reveal more details regarding its 80-core Tera-scale processor which can run 1.28 trillion floating-point operations per second.

Described as a “network-on-chip architecture,” the 225 square millimeter chip has 80 cores, each operating at 4GHz. The die is built using a 65nm process and is able to “achieve a peak performance of 1.0TFLOPS at 1V while dissipating 98W.” Currently, the processor is not able to run conventional applications for Intel chips.

Even though the chip is currently little more than a prototype, Intel CEO Paul Otellini claims it will be available within five years. The processor was first announced last September at the Intel Developer Forum.

The International Solid-State Circuits Conference will be taking place February 11-15 at the San Francisco Marriott Hotel. Other notable appearances will be given by Sun Microsystems, who will be discussing its Niagara2 processors, and AMD, who will be talking about its quad-core Barcelona processors expected to ship mid-2007.

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My vote for the win goes to....
By Comdrpopnfresh on 1/4/2007 8:49:06 PM , Rating: -1
Whoever can make a architecture that runs at over 5ghz under 100 watts will dominate the market. All these dual and multicore chips cam run more applications and processes, but because as the number of cores goes up (in order to keep power and thermal requirements the same) speeds must go down, and these types of chips will run each process much slower (try the 3.7ghz pentium 4 EE against a C2D on a balanced benchmarking test, and see which wins! or on pure speed to executing processes). Why do we care about 80 cores? Analysts have already said to skip quad-core, as there is little to no benefit. Games run faster on single cores with higher speeds, as opposed to dual-cores. We've all had this shroud placed over our heads, as all the benchmarking utilities have been skewed towards multitasking.

If a multicore chip could be devised to switch between speed and spread power (like a RHT [reverse hyper-threading] idea to act like a much faster chip, but also able to switch back to multiple cores), or a hybrid chip, it would be the do-all, end-all processor.

This is most likely the reason why intel invested in that Israeli company that is trying to team gpu's so that the system sees them as one, so that one task could be run quickly, or different tasks spread across the processors. Intel knows what has to come next.... Unfortunately they're not against marketing people towards hardware that is not that future (buy quadcore!!!)

RE: My vote for the win goes to....
By Operandi on 1/4/2007 9:06:59 PM , Rating: 3
Dual & multi core may have limited benefits (gaming) now but that is going to be changing quickly. Just look at what Valve is doingp; every machine they purchase is said to be quad core minimum.

Multi threading for gaming isn't exactly a new concept either. In the console world the Sega Saturn was modified to a dual CPU configuration late in it's design to compete with the Playstation 1.

RE: My vote for the win goes to....
By Comdrpopnfresh on 1/5/2007 3:33:36 PM , Rating: 2
why should developers have to write multicore software? They had enough trouble meeting deadlines when they only had to work on one processor. I don't like the fact that computers are heading towards what IBM and Cray make. The greatest challenge with supercomputers (extreme parallel) is not the engineering or manufacturing of these machines- its the programing. We are using computers based on machinecode and assembly language that was not meant to run on multicore chips. It creates an inefficiency. Thats why even in multicore environments running multiple processors efficiency does not scale- a dual core does not provide 200% of the performance of a singlecore, nor does a quadcore result in a 200% increase in anything over a dual.
My point is that teeming is required to keep personal computing on track with its foundations, or simply finding better single-core processors.

By masher2 on 1/5/2007 9:14:36 PM , Rating: 2
> "Thats why even in multicore environments running multiple processors efficiency does not scale- a dual core does not provide 200% of the performance of a singlecore..."

Depends on the task. There are many applications that can provide nearly linear scaling up to dozens if not hundreds of cores...which is why servers and workstations. have had multiple cpus for a very long time.

RE: My vote for the win goes to....
By Url on 1/4/2007 9:08:28 PM , Rating: 2
Just because the Pentium 4 EE has a higher frequency speed, it isn't the faster processor. The C2D have slower clock speeds but they also execute more data per Hz. Another factor that make single core chips better than multi-core is the software. Vista will change most of that because it will be able to manage multi-core processors better than XP.

By Comdrpopnfresh on 1/5/2007 3:21:30 PM , Rating: 2
although C2D may be able to handle more data per clockcycle, all that data is not directly from a select few processes. I'm simply saying that our perception of 'speed' is being skewed away from what it has been since the conception of the PC. Is a 1000-core processor with each processor running at 50mhz going to be faster than a C2D? It would seems to have more floating-point power, and a total bandwidth/speed of 50ghz- but its not all used together- its simply parallel processing. By your reasoning the answer is yes. But with majority of programing not multithreaded, this theoretical processor can run lots of stuff, but a lot slower per process than a C2D- such is the case with mutlicore/dualcore vs single core.

By Comdrpopnfresh on 1/5/2007 3:58:53 PM , Rating: 2
vista can run more- which is attributed to you truth that it is optimized for the multicore track. But isn't it also true that all reviews of vista so far have also pointed out its slower speed across the board?

RE: My vote for the win goes to....
By Spartan Niner on 1/4/2007 11:36:22 PM , Rating: 4
... and analysts can be dead wrong. Games run faster on single cores with higher speeds? Little to no benefit for quad core? Preposterous.

Let's see, multiple cores are great for highly parallelized tasks... hmm, games (check), video editing (check), rendering (check), mathematical calculations (check), encryption (check), database applications (check)... and the list goes on. The only reason multiple cores aren't showing that great of a performance boost yet is because much of the software we as the consumer use hasn't been made SMP/multi-core aware yet. Once multi-threaded apps are mainstream we'll wonder how we ever did anything with a single core.

As for games, let's assume a game is programmed to be multi-core. A quad core 2.4GHz versus a single-core 2.8GHz. Your poor little single core that could is being forced to do all the calculations, including physics, positional updates, etc. Your quad core on the other hand can have a quad doing physics, a quad readying textures and such to feed to the graphics card, and the other two quads processing other game engine necessities. Much better overall.

RE: My vote for the win goes to....
By Dfere on 1/5/2007 11:17:02 AM , Rating: 2
You forgot p8rn. P8rn apps using multiple cores would greatly speed consumption.

By Comdrpopnfresh on 1/5/2007 3:56:03 PM , Rating: 2
lol- I really don't think this humor is good for moving away from the topic at hand...

By Hydrofirex on 1/5/2007 2:04:29 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, I have to agree: Multi-core is the future. I don't think anyone is saying you can solve the problem by throwing a million slow processors at a problem. Everything I've read leads me to believe that the idea for CPU's is that you refine single-core performance while adding additional cores - recognizing that no matter which route you take you're going to see diminishing returns. These are the main two routes to upgrading PC speed, and I think both are going to be necessary to keep performance gains up.

I have to say going from single-core to dual-core i see a HUGE benefit. Maybe eight-cores is a scam, but two or four very fast cores will definitely be able to handle modern multi-tasking and thread intensive applications at throughputs way beyond a single ramped core. Didn't the P4 prove this?!


RE: My vote for the win goes to....
By Etern205 on 1/5/2007 9:34:59 AM , Rating: 3
Multi-core is useless?!

If one day, the lowest processors are dual cores and
they have decided to stop maufacturing single cores, then
what are you going to do?
Protest and demand they bring single core back?
What the whole world laugh at your a55 for being
ignorant moron who does not know how to use a computer.

If you don't see a benefit to multi-cores then what
it probably means is you don't know how to use it!
Why don't you go back to a 486 because you don't
even derserve to use a Celeron!

BTW: running CineBench on a single core takes
about 1min 50sec
on a dual core: 38sec!
As you can see, it reduced the time in half!

RE: My vote for the win goes to....
By Comdrpopnfresh on 1/5/2007 4:12:42 PM , Rating: 1
what about benchmarking utilities made before dualcores? The benchmarking utilities have been added to to show impressible increases in the score of multicore processors! Didn't you ever read animal farm? Right now people with your view, baaahhing away whats been fed to them are playing the role of meat on wheels.....have fun at the glue factory.
I agree that dualcore is amazingly useful. But for the most part, it should stop there. The reviews of quadcore show little benefit unless you plan on rendering 12 things at once. The processors no longer fit the average user- they are straying away, towards the business market of servers which is a cash-cow for chip manufacturers. This is also the reason why intel switched to a unified architecture- gear towards servers, downgrade for users, and finally isolate problemed processors for value binning. This is how its working, not the consumer-centralized tier we've been told they are following.

Case in point:
The development of multiple quadcore Xenons for the server market, which will lead to quads for consumers thinking a corporation's computing needs are matching to their own, and those that have defective cache or cores will be binned to the value sector.

Dual cores have been around for a very short time in the scheme of things, and already fit the multitasking needs of majority of users. Why are companies continuing to plan a ramp up in the number of cores when the needs have been met?
Dual cores are wonderful devices, but multicore is not for the average user.

By ThisSpaceForRent on 1/6/2007 4:48:40 PM , Rating: 2
Without an installed hardware base, software developers have no motivation to develop multi-threaded applications. While multi-threaded apps are harder to develop, like any process this will improve as the industry moves towards programming those applications.

Pricewise the cost for the extra cores is negligble. Neither Intel or AMD wants to be more expensive than the other in their mainstream offerings, unless of course you're offering something the competition can't. Once they stop making single core processors this will also open up extra production capacity for multi core processors dropping the price further.

While I think the amount of system memory plays the most important role in determining the "speed" of any system. You still can't argue with having the processor power to crunch data, or multitask. I mean after all you can have all the RAM in the world, but once you reach 100% processor usage you're stuck waiting.

"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov
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