Intel punts out 48-core beastie

Intel said it is releasing ‘limited quantities’ of an experimental 48-core processor, mainly to academic institutions.

The prototype CPU is a product of Intel's Tera-scale research unit, although Intel tech evangelist Sean Koehl told IDG the chips may never never see the commercial light of day.

The cores run at between 1 and 2GHz each and extend Intel's experimentation with multi-cored chips. An Intel engineer said the processor is built on a "mesh" architecture. The interesting bit will be how the cores communicate with one another. Rival AMD is likely to claim Intel is further developing the Direct Connect Architecture idea it claims its big rival pinched as the basis of its own multi-cored approach.

Intel said the 48-core processor is expected to draw between 25 and 125 Watts - the lower level becoming possible by turning off most of the cores when they're doing nothing.