A close-up on Intel's Knights Ferry platform

A close-up on Intel's Knights Ferry platform

Summary: The Many Integrated Core architecture will be used in the new Knights Ferry and Knights Corner platforms, aimed at supercomputing tasks

TOPICS: Processors

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  • On Monday, Intel introduced its Many Integrated Core (MIC) architecture for massively parallel processors, which is scheduled to first appear in the upcoming Knights Ferry and Knights Corner platforms.

    The Knights Ferry chip, code-named Aubrey Isle, is a 32-core derivative of Larrabee. Each core on the die shot (above) is a vertical strip with a white blob halfway up its right-hand side. The remainder of the chip is cache, interface and control logic. With Intel's ability to run a subset of cores at faster than normal speeds if the thermal envelope allows, even chips with one or two faulty cores could produce high performance.

    Photo credit: Intel

  • Intel's Kirk Skaugen holds up a 22nm wafer. Due in 2011 and 2012, the next two waves of processor design will be in this new process. That leaves just five or six more iterations of shrinking until, at around 7nm, physics says that silicon cannot support anything smaller.

    Photo credit: Intel

  • The first Knights product is Knights Ferry. At its heart is the Aubrey Isle chip, which is packaged as a co-processor in a PCIe card. With 32 cores running four threads apiece, this can process 128 threads at 1.2GHz. This is the hardware being evaluated in Cern; it will never be a commercial product.

    Photo credit: Intel

Topic: Processors

Rupert Goodwins

About Rupert Goodwins

Rupert started off as a nerdy lad expecting to be an electronics engineer, but having tried it for a while discovered that journalism was more fun. He ended up on PC Magazine in the early '90s, before that evolved into ZDNet UK - and Rupert evolved with them into an online journalist.

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