Intel's 60-core chip ships; elites like Hawking get it first
Intel's first chip to integrate 60 processor cores is for high-performance computing applications -- with a high-end price to match.
by Brooke Crothers November 12, 2012 8:20 PM PST
Intel's first 60-core chip is here, but only elite institutions like Cambridge University will get early access.
The chip, generally called Phi, isn't your typical Intel processor. It's less like a central processing unit (CPU) -- which is the chipmaker's bread and butter -- and more akin to a graphics processing unit (GPU) that works in conjunction with the CPU.
In fact, Intel tried to bring out a consumer GPU card called "Larrabee" based on the technology but canceled the project in 2009.
But the company still needs the technology to compete with Nvidia in the supercomputing market because specialized GPU-like processor cores can handle certain supercomputing tasks more efficiently, reducing the prodigious power requirement for supercomputers as well as increasing performance.
Expected to be commercially available early next year, the Xeon Phi coprocessor 3100 family will offer more than 1,000 gigaflops (1 teraflops) double-precision performance -- a rating for chips that do scientific calculations.
By comparison, Intel's consumer processors don't offer anything close to that level of performance when doing specialized computing tasks.
Professor Stephen Hawking and the Cosmos Lab at the University of Cambridge have been given early access to the technology for use in their SGI supercomputer, Intel said.
"With our powerful and flexible SGI UV2000, we can continue to focus on discovery, leading worldwide efforts to advance the understanding of our universe," Hawking said in a statement.
Stateside, Intel customers such as Texas Advanced Computing Center are getting early customized products.
The first commercial versions of the coprocessor, which ship on a PCIe circuit board, are expected to be available January 28 with a recommended customer price of $2,649.
The 3100 product family will be available during the first half of 2013 with a recommended customer price below $2,000.
It is actually a "coprocessor on a PCIe card" that works in tandem with Xeon processors for supercomputing ( parallel tasks ) operations.
nVidia has already pioneered this of course...
http://www.nvidia.ca/object/personal-su ... uting.html
TESLA PERSONAL SUPERCOMPUTING WORKSTATION SOLUTIONS
NVIDIA® Tesla® 20-series GPU computing processors turn standard PCs and workstations into personal supercomputers. Based on the NVIDIA CUDA® GPU architecture codenamed "Fermi", Tesla 20-series GPUs feature more than 500 gigaflops of double precision performance, 1 teraflop of single precision performance, ECC memory error protection, and L1 and L2 caches. Tesla 20-series GPGPU processors for workstations deliver cluster level performance right at your desk.
Kepler based Tesla GPUs are now available for servers
Feature Tesla C2075
GPU Computing Applications Reservoir simulation, CAE (structural analysis), Molecular dynamics, Numerical analytics, Computational visualization (ray tracing),
Peak double precision floating point performance 515 Gflops,
Peak single precision floating point performance 1030 Gflops
Memory bandwidth (ECC off) 148 GBytes/s
Memory size (GDDR5) 6GB
CUDA cores 448
So for Peak DOUBLE precision floating point performance, the new Intel Xeon Phi Coprocessor does "over 1000 Gigaflops, twice as much as Tesla's 515 Gigaflops quoted above... in single precision the Tesla can match it, but not in Double Precision...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6814132007
NVIDIA Tesla C2075 6GB 384-bit GDDR5 PCIe 2.0 x16 1.03 Tflops Workstation Video Card
The Xeon Phi costs $380 more than the Tesla, but also has twice the Double Precision flops performance...
I wonder what nVidia has up their sleeve to counter this??