According to John Markoff of The New York Times, today Intel will be demonstrating an experimental computer chip with 80 separate cores. This is going on at the Solid States Circuits Conferences in San Francisco today, and it’s stirring quite the buzz.  Before you get all excited, this is just a prototype, and currently it’s not compatible with the most recent Intel processors.  It can’t interact to external memory yet, but the plans are in the works to develop a commercial version.

The commercial version as expected, would be used in your desktops, laptops, servers, etc. Unfortunately, it will be at least five years before consumers will be able to get their hands on one. With 80 separate cores, what would you do with all that processing power? The possibilities would be endless, developers would have a lot of room to groove, and computer games would become more and more realistic.

It’s amazing to think that the Dual Core processors are just starting to get around, and yet the Teraflop chip is already in the works. And according to Gizmodo, at 1 trillion calculations per second, the 80-core chip would be able to do the same amount of calculations as 2,000 square feet of machinery could do 10 years ago.

One question that needs to be asked is whether or not increasing the cores will increase the performance. Markoff says, “In a white paper published last December, the scientists said that without a software breakthrough to take advantage of hundreds of cores, the industry, which is now pursuing a more incremental approach of increasing the number of cores on a computer chip, is likely to hit a wall of diminishing returns — where adding more cores does not offer a significant increase in performance.”

This chip would be air-cooled, and definitely raises the bar for the industry. While an 80 core processor may seem like a lot, with the way ‘some’ of the current operating systems are going, it wouldn’t be. The processors tend to evolve right along side the operating systems, and as more processing power becomes available, bloated operating systems take full advantage of the resources.

Source: The New York Times