Intel doesn't yet offer an 8-core processor for consumer desktop applications, but by the end of the year, that's going to change. The world's largest semiconductor company, despite being motivated to aggressively compete in the mobile market, is said to be readying the launch of 8-core Haswell-E chips in third quarter of 2014. If you're hoping to pick one as you send your Ivy Bridge-E setup into retirement, you'll want to start saving up now.
The Exynos 5 Octa is the first to implement the ARM big.LITTLE processing technology based on the Cortex A15 CPU.
Today's high-end smartphones are going to seem like little more than slow relics before the year is over. ARM's licensing partners have come out swinging at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, including Samsung, which earlier today introduced the Exynos 5 Octa. As the name suggests, it's an 8-core processor and the world's first mobile chip to use ARM's new big.LITTLE technology.
The folks at CyberPowerPC just announced their new Gamer Scorpius line claiming it's the world's first 8-core gaming desktop line powered by AMD's brand spanking new Bulldozer architecture. And so it begins. We suspect this is just the first of many Bulldozer-based announcements to come out of the boutique system building scene, but can the rest compete on price?
If you're into the server scene, and in particular have a fetish for Supermicro Superservers, go ahead and cue the Tim Allen man grunt now. AVADirect, custom builders of high-end gaming desktops, notebooks, and workstations, just "added a whole new animal" to its server lineup based on Intel's socket 1366 Xeon Westmere-EX processors. Monstrous specs after the break.
AMD is looking to take the server and datacenter markets by storm and has announced the availability of the "world's first 8- and 12-core x86 processor for the high-volume 2P and value 4P server market." According to AMD, it's Opteron 6000 Series platform offers up to a 119 percent improved performance (floating point) while still maintaining low price and power.
"As AMD has done before, we are again redefining the server market based on current customer requirements," said Patrick Patla, vice president and general manger, Server and Embedded Divisions, AMD. "The AMD Opteron 6000 Series platform signals a new era of server value, significantly disrupts today's server economics, and provides the performance-per-watt, value, and consistency customers demand for their real-world datacenter workloads."
In addition to improved floating point performance, AMD says its new 6000 Series increases integer performance by up to 88 percent, while the enhanced integrated memory controller supports four channels of DDR3 memory for up to a 2.5x improvement in overall memory bandwidth.
AMD is also touting "significant new power management features," and compared to Intel's offerings, the No. 2 chip maker says "it feels like the power efficiency is clearly in our court."
Intel this week said its Nehalem-EX processor, an 8-core beast of a chip, will go into production sometime later this year and start shipping in server systems by early 2010. Even better, each chip supports 16 threads, says Boy Davis, Intel's GM of the Server Platforms Marketing Group.
Already on-board is IBM, who is already developing a server based around Nehalem-EX. The server will hold eight processors, making use of 64 Nehalem-EX cores capable of handling 128 threads.
"We're very excited today to be the first to demonstrate Nehalem-EX," said Alex Yost, VP IBM BladeCenter.
In addition to more cores and threads, Nehalem-EX also ups the memory ante, doubling the capacity with up to 16 memory slots per processor socket.
It won't be long before single-core processors will seem as antiquated as single-speed CD-ROM drives, and the case could be made that we're already there. Dual- and quad-core processors rule the landscape, and while Intel's upcoming Core i7 has enthusiasts frothing at the mouth, the chip maker may have something even more mouth watering in the very near future.
If the latest rumor turns out to be true, expect a replacement architecture for Nehalem in 2010 which will double the number of cores per die to eight. Codenamed Sandy Bridge, alleged leaked slides suggest the new architecture will also support hyperthreading, giving the eight-core chip a generous 16 threads to work with. Also look for 16MB of L3 cache to find its way onto the chip.
But for all the hardware goodness, it's the software that may end up playing the biggest role in performance improvements. Intel will reportedly introduce a new instruction set called Advanced Vector Extensions (AVX) that will eventually supersede SSE. AVX will double the size of instructions to 256 bits and will be capable of performing up to four calculations in a single instruction.
With over a year to go before the supposed new architecture makes a debut, will developers be ready by then to take advantage of the additional cores and new instruction set?