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More about Intel's trillion-calculation processor



February 14, 2007 – Comments (0)

Earlier today I wrote that Intel's new Polaris processor, which is designed to do a trillion calculations per second, could be a game-changer:


Not everyone agrees. Some readers wrote to tell me that the Cell processor can already process at least 256 billion calculations per second, which, if true, would make Polaris look like a lot less of a leap.

Others wrote to say that, because the chip uses multiple cores operating at lower clock speeds, it will keep heat to a minimum. 62 watts, according to Intel.

That's impressive when you consider that the quad-core Xeons Intel debuted in November were burning at 80 and 120 watts. (Source: http://www.m...d.core.chips/)

But this was my favorite response:

"How about critical application support? Tool support? "Polaris" having 80 cores offers a great deal of parallelism. Very few applications are threaded to that degree to take advantage of that level of core

parallelism not to mention the programming complexities that would be involved to get even those few niche applications that might have the use for so much parallelism, to use the processing power efficiently. My prediction: Its going to be a very niche very high end server market for the product (Research, weather forecasting supercomputing systems and the like) with Xboxes, desktops, and laptops completely out of the picture."

Agreed. But I still suspect that Intel will have at least 20 cores, with onboard cache, ready in the next five years. Think of what that server will look like.

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