updated 12:00 pm EDT, Mon October 3, 2011
Adapteva looking to license 64-core mobile chip
Computer chip maker Adapteva has just announced its plans to release its Epiphany IV chip for mobile devices that should allow server-like performance. The 64-core chip is said to provide up to 70 gigaflops of performance while using just 1W of power, the company's CEO, Andreas Olofsson, said. While this power consumption may be high for smartphones, Olofsson assures that the technology can be scaled down as needed.
It would still allow for tasks such as hand gesture and face recognition, he added. What it cannot do, however, is host a full OS, and thus requires a main processor to work side by side. This would allow Adapteva to work with the likes of ARM or Intel rather than compete with them. It would sit on a system-on-chip.
The Epiphany IV uses a mesh design that allows multiple communications contact points and large bandwidth.
Adapteva is a tiny company, with just five employees and one, unnamed licensee. It made its start in supercomputing, with environmental modeling. The search is on for licensing the chip design to mobile chip makers.
Based on an RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computing) design, the chip's cores use as much as 25 milliwatts of power at peak performance. It will be made with the 28-nanometer process, an upgrade over the previous 65-nanometer process. That older chip had 16 cores and used under 1W of power. The Epiphany IV will ship during the winter of 2012.
It will require new apps optimized for the design philosophy as it currently cannot accelerate legacy applications meant for the x86 architecture. Instead, it can host apps written by the OpenCL standard, backed by the likes of Apple, NVIDIA, Intel, and AMD. It can also scale up to 4,096 cores. [via PCWorld]