Tilera touts upcoming low-power server with 512 cores

Tilera on Friday said a "major" server maker will announce a low-power server with 512 cores, using eight of its 64-core processors, later this month.

The server will draw about 400 watts of power and deliver the same performance as eight dual-socket x86 servers, which could consume up to 2,500 watts, a Tilera representative said in an e-mail.  

Tilera, a low-power chip maker, in October announced a new line of Tile-GX chips, which included 64-core and 100-core chips. The company is trying to make its way into the server market, which is dominated by chips based on the x86 architecture from Intel and Advanced Micro Devices. Tilera's chips are based on a new architecture design with RISC (reduced instruction set computer) cores on a single chip.

The company did not immediately respond to request for comment on the server vendor's name, but an official announcement is expected on June 22.

Tilera has taken a markedly different approach in its chip design than is found on traditional x86 chips. Tilera's chips have a mesh design for faster data exchange, and the parallelized cores are organized in a square with multiple points to receive and transfer data. Each core has a switch for faster data exchange. Chips from Intel and AMD rely on crossbars, which could potentially lead to bandwidth issues as the number of cores expands.

Intel is also using the mesh design in an experimental 48-core chip which was announced last year.

Chip makers are adding more cores as they look to reduce power consumption while increasing performance. Intel offers the Nehalem-EX chip, which offers eight processing cores, while AMD offers the Magny Cours chip, which includes 12 cores.

Tilera's chips have the attributes of a general-purpose CPU, as they run the Linux OS and other applications commonly used to serve Web data. The chips are designed to run applications scalable across a large number of cores. Certain common Linux applications, such as the Apache Web server, MySQL database and Memcached caching software have been ported for use on Tilera's chips.

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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