Intel Pledges 80 Cores in Five Years

SAN FRANCISCO–Intel has built a prototype of a processor with 80 cores that can perform a trillion floating-point operations per second.

CEO Paul Otellini held up a silicon wafer with the prototype chips before several thousand attendees at the Intel Developer Forum here Tuesday. The chips are capable of exchanging data at a terabyte a second, Otellini said during a keynote speech. The company hopes to have these chips ready for commercial production within a five-year window.

Intel uses its twice-yearly conference to educate developers on its long- and short-term plans. Over three days, hardware developers and partners get a chance to interact with Intel employees and take classes on new technologies.

As expected, Intel announced plans to have quad-core processors ready for its customers in November. An extremely fast Core 2 Extreme processor with four cores will be released then, and the newly named Core 2 Quad processor for mainstream desktops will follow in the first quarter of next year, Otellini said.

The quad-core server processors are on a similar trajectory, with a faster Xeon 5300 processor scheduled for November and a low-power Xeon slated for the first quarter. Intel’s first quad-core processors are actually two of its dual-core Core architecture chips combined into a multichip package.

"Performance matters again," Otellini said, disclosing that the quad-core desktop processor will deliver 70 percent faster integer performance than the Core 2 Duo, and the quad-core server processor will be 50 percent faster than the Xeon 5100 introduced in June.

One reason performance didn’t matter to Intel during the last couple of years was because it was getting trounced on benchmarks at the hands of Advanced Micro Devices’ Opteron and Athlon 64 server and desktop processors. That all changed with the introduction of the Core 2 Duo chips this year.

"With this new set of dual and quad-core processors, we’ve regained our leadership," Otellini told developers. The growing Internet video phenomenon, as evidenced by the spectacular rise of Web sites like YouTube, will keep these processors busy during intensive tasks like video editing, he said.

Road to Santa Rosa
Notebooks will get a face-lift next year with the Santa Rosa platform, which will provide notebooks with new technologies like 802.11n wireless and flash memory. Intel believes that it will be the first to add flash memory to a notebook motherboard, which will improve boot times and reduce power consumption, Otellini said. (full Story)

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