Last month Intel announced that it was shipping systems with its experimental 48-core processor. Now we get to see what a system with the radical chip looks like.
X-bit labs caught the supercomputer on chip (SCC) system on demonstration in Europe, which runs on an experimental "Copper Ridge" motherboard with integrated I/O and graphics and eight DIMM slots. There's no SATA ports, instead an Intel USB flash disk is used for storage.
According to the report, the SCC contains 24 tiles with two x86 cores per tile, each of which has its own L2 cache and can run a separate OS and software stack and act like an individual compute node that communicates with other compute nodes over a packet-based network. The SCC also has four integrated DDR3 memory controllers.
The 48-core chip features 24 small routers between the cores, which facilitate faster data exchanges across the chip. Each core also has on-chip buffers that can instantly exchange data in parallel across all the cores.
Intel also says that the 48-core chip has a more advanced on-die power management system that can vary the power draw between 25 watts to 125 watts. It can also reduce clock speed and shut down cores.
As far as clock speeds go, current desktop and even laptop offerings outpace this 48-core wonder. Intel revealed that its experimental chip runs at about the same frequencies as the Atom CPU, so we're looking in the neighborhood of 1.2GHz to 1.83GHz.