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[PC World]1000-Core Processor Eats Quad-Core CPUs For Lunch - Page 9

post #81 of 84
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post #82 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cepheus View Post
Software development is something that can be done by one person. If I am designing a media player, I can be using the same IDE as Microsoft (if I so choose) and compete - purely because I have no technological advantage. Chip design - much harder on a limited budget. Again, to make a chip from scratch to rival an Intel chip you'd need a massive fab and a hell of a lot of development time.
This does not hold water, because a fairly small fabless firm like PASemi can come out with processors that are more than competitive than Intel has shown able to do - at least in the case of performance per watt, when you only have a few watts to deal with total. Other fabless firms are relatively small - like NVidia, that entirely comes out with products that giant Intel can't even come close to.

Even internally, and this is an old story... But in the days when Intel was designing the 80486 processor, using all of the resources and huge teams and whatever, they also had a fairly small team of a dozen. This was call the N10 project, and these guys designed a RISC processor that was a complex, transistor wise, as the 486. It ended up that the N10 was completed ahead of schedule, and was entirely free of bugs even in the first experimental batch. This, while the 486 project was lagging by at least six months and had gone severely over budget. The N10 never became a "production" chip because Intel didn't want to market something that couldn't run DOS. However, it was the basis of a series of Intel RISC processors, the i860 series and others - that many, and I mean millions, of people are using every day because they are at the heart of most laser printers.

Even in the corporation I work for, the site I work at has the least number of techs - but we crank out more work orders than the other sites - and our department is much smaller than other departments, but even our weakest site cranks out more work orders than the strongest site in IT, a department that is over five times bigger than ours. Numbers do not mean ability.
post #83 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by EvanPitts View Post
This does not hold water, because a fairly small fabless firm like PASemi can come out with processors that are more than competitive than Intel has shown able to do - at least in the case of performance per watt, when you only have a few watts to deal with total. Other fabless firms are relatively small - like NVidia, that entirely comes out with products that giant Intel can't even come close to.

Even internally, and this is an old story... But in the days when Intel was designing the 80486 processor, using all of the resources and huge teams and whatever, they also had a fairly small team of a dozen. This was call the N10 project, and these guys designed a RISC processor that was a complex, transistor wise, as the 486. It ended up that the N10 was completed ahead of schedule, and was entirely free of bugs even in the first experimental batch. This, while the 486 project was lagging by at least six months and had gone severely over budget. The N10 never became a "production" chip because Intel didn't want to market something that couldn't run DOS. However, it was the basis of a series of Intel RISC processors, the i860 series and others - that many, and I mean millions, of people are using every day because they are at the heart of most laser printers.

Even in the corporation I work for, the site I work at has the least number of techs - but we crank out more work orders than the other sites - and our department is much smaller than other departments, but even our weakest site cranks out more work orders than the strongest site in IT, a department that is over five times bigger than ours. Numbers do not mean ability.
PA Semi don't design their own processor cores as such - they simply glue together bits designed by others (at least thus far). The Apple A4 uses a Cortex A8 core designed by ARM and a PowerVR GPU designed by Imagination Technologies - neither are revolutionary products. The only part that is clever is that they've made it an SOC (but then again many have done that). My point is that PA Semi didn't design an actual processor core, they designed the package - whereas to build a 1000 core processor from scratch you'd have to do far more.

Again - the fact that this uses an FPGA that has been tailor programmed to have 1000 logic cores makes it far less impressive than many types of processor. FPGAs are great, but they're only optimized for the tasks for which they are programmed - this one for example does information retrieval.

In any case, when Intel talked about 1000 core CPUs, it was talking about full x86 cores, usable for many different purposes - and even then it was only saying that the techniques they'd used for 48 cores could be scaled up to 1000 cores in theory.

If you want more specific purpose processors, just look at the latest Radeons - the 6970 has 1536 odd stream processors which can each perform specific calculations - which are themselves more usable than FPGAs.
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post #84 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cepheus View Post
That remains to be determined. It might not even have the processing power and functions to compute a WU in general, but even if it does, Amdahl's law would probably come into effect long before 1000 cores. In any case - just imagine how hard it would be to program for 1000 cores - short of splitting every WU into lots of smaller ones.
FPGAs are made for highly parallel workloads, this one is no exception.

And the GPU clients do that already. (eg. 1600 for a HD5870)
    
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