Semiconductor giant Intel has showed the prototype of a computer, at Cebit that has a processor with 48 cores and is fitted in a standard mid-sized ATX tower.
What was even more interesting is that the motherboard was in full sight, flooded by blue light and behind a clear perspex window. The customised board doesn't have any PCI slots and come with eight memory banks and appears to use a traditional HSF.
The concept chip apparently consumed a mere 75W during the demo and is not much bigger than top of the end processors out there.
Intel described the processor as a single-chip cloud computer (SCC) where all the cores are connected to each other using a so-called mesh interconnect which allows each core to run its own operating system or be used as part of a whole.
Putting it another way, it means that the Intel has manage to put a complete network into a chip, the only thing missing being the I/O and the other components.
Each of the core comes with its own L2 cache and the 2D mesh can support up to 256Gbps worth of bandwidth with a total addressable memory space of up to 64GB.
As the Inquirer - which has a great video (opens in new tab) showing the capabilities of the chip - puts it, it is a rendering farm on a chip.
Intel had released a microprocessor with 80-cores back in 2006 but they were not apparently fully fledged x86 IA processors but rather floating point accelerators. With AMD about to launch its own 12-core Magny Cours processor, hardware is about to get a little bit sexier.
Intel demos 48 core possibilities (opens in new tab)
Intel shows off 48-core PC (opens in new tab)
Intel shows off 48 cores (opens in new tab)
Intel 48-core cloud computing silicon chip (opens in new tab)