We know what you're thinking. With a 100-core processor, you can finally play Crysis with all the eye candy turned up and still have CPU cycles left over for Folding@home. That's probably true, but that's not what Tilera's new TILE-Gx 3000 processor family is intended for. These general purpose chips are destined for data centers where, according to Tilera, they have a distinct advantage over Intel's Sandy Bridge processors.
"We have been working with the largest cloud computing companies for two years to design a processor that addresses their biggest pain points. The TILE-Gx 3000 series has features like 64-bit processing, virtualization support, and high processor frequency, which were specifically implemented for our Web customers," says Ihab Bishara, Director of Server Solutions, Tilera. "The era of 20-30 percent incremental gains is over. The Gx-3000 series provides the order of magnitude improvements the industry is looking for."
According to Tilera, it's new chips, which are being offered in 36-core, 64-core, and 100-core flavors, deliver a 10-fold performance-per-watt advantage over Intel's Sandy Bridge CPUs ultimately reducing the total cost of ownership by around 50 percent.
"The reason we can go against Sandy Bridge architecture is [Intel's range] was designed for general-purpose [applications], so it has to account for single-threaded performance and power-point performance and Windows," Bishara told ZDNet UK. "What we're targeting here is a very specific [high throughput] application... If we compare our chip to Sandy Bridge in the standard enterprise application, we will not do well."
Where the TILE-Gx 3000 series is supposed to thrive is in data centers running throughput-oriented applications such as cloud computing, database applications like NoSQL and in-memory databases, data mining chores like Hadoop, and video transcoding.
Tilera will begin sampling the 36-core version of its new processor family in July, with the 64-core and 100-core variants due in early 2012.