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80-cores monster processor demonstrated by Intel

By 2011, Intel says that their top of the range processor will have 80-cores, which is a twenty-fold increase on the number of cores, its next generation Xeon processor, codenamed Woodcrest, will have.

Intel's prototype processor was using 80 floating point cores, each running at 3.16GHz, faster than Intel's top of the range Core2 Extreme X6800's 2.93GHz. Intel's CTO Justin Rattner showed a slide mentioning that 28 of those 80-core processors would fit on 10x10cm square silicon.

Each of the core cells comprises of the core itself coupled to a router which acts as the connection to the rest of the processor. The 80 cores shared a 20MB cache and achieved an aggregated bandwidth of 1TB per second.

Intriguingly, the Intel prototype is slightly larger than Intel’s current flagship server processor, the Itanium2 9050 (605mm2 vs. 596mm2). The 9050 comes with 26.5MB L2+L3 cache, 1.72 Bln transistors and runs at 1.6GHz.

While 2011 is still a long way to go, it does show Intel's commitment to move forward as quickly as possible. The 80-core processor has already moved from the design labs and depending on how strong is the competition (i.e AMD), Intel might decide to slash to time to market of that FP monster.

Another intriguing aspect of the design is the fact that Intel accelerated the core multiplication, jumping all the way from 4 cores to 80 cores. This means that you can certainly expect eight cores in 2007, sixteen cores in 2008, 32 cores in 2009, 64 cores in 2010 and 80 cores one year later.

Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.