Semiconductor giant Intel has announced that it will be shipping a 32-core server processor that combines traditional x86 technology with cores that specialise in parallel workloads.
The prototype was demoed during a speech by Kirk Skaugen, vice president and general manager of Intel's data center group, in a speech at the International Supercomputing Conference in Hamburg, Germany.
Currently manufactured using a 22-nm technology, the chips, which Intel christened Knights Ferry, run at 1.2GHz and are based on the "Many Integrated Core" (MIC) architecture.
These will be available for "development purposes" over the next few months and it is likely that they will be targeted at universities and advanced educational institutions initially.
When they will go on sale in 2011 on a commercial scale, the Knights Corner will come with 50 cores, possibly a higher clock speed and will target servers and laptops but interestingly no desktops.
Intel says that MICA's Knights Ferry uses 32 Xeon 7500 cores each running 8MB of shared L1 + L2 cache, combined with 1GB or 2GB GDDR5 memory. Physically, the product will look like a standard PCI-Express graphics card.
In effect, this is Intel's equivalent of ATI's Stream and Nvidia's Tesla GPGPUs which are being hoarded to the same HPC market. Interestingly, the Register (opens in new tab) says that both Larrabee and the new MIC architecture look like twins separated at birth.