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Intel's 32 Core, Quad-HyperThreading Super Chip

One of the cool things Intel showed off as a technology demo was Wolfenstein ray traced and streamed to a laptop. Rather than relying on traditional GPUs, Intel called upon its Many Integrated Core (MIC) architecture currently codenamed "Knights Corner" to render each frame to stream to a laptop.

This effort is aimed at more work than game, however, as it's targeted at the server market. Intel has been shipping industry design and development kits codenamed "Knights Ferry" to select developers. Intel says that this MIC architecture is derived from several Intel projects, including Larrabee and such Intel Labs research projects as the Single-chip Cloud Computer.

While not many specifics are known about the Knights Corner chip, the Knights Ferry servers used to power the Wolfenstein tech demo had chips with 32 x86 cores clocked at 1.2GHz, capable of processing four threads per core – allowing it to handle 128 threads. Four of these were used in the Wolfenstein demo.

The final Knights Corner chip will be made on Intel's 22nm manufacturing process and will put more than 50 Intel processing cores on a single chip.

Although Knights Corner sounds like it'll blow everything out of the water, Intel says that the vast majority of workloads will still run best on Xeon processors. The MIC architecture will shine best, though, in highly parallel applications.

Marcus Yam
Marcus Yam served as Tom's Hardware News Director during 2008-2014. He entered tech media in the late 90s and fondly remembers the days when an overclocked Celeron 300A and Voodoo2 SLI comprised a gaming rig with the ultimate street cred.
  • pbrigido Anyone have a better adjective?
  • enzo matrix
    I wonder what architecture each core uses. Is it based on atom? core? something different?
  • mauller07
    Sounds nice, but whos gonna say it first.. i dare ya
  • dxwarlock
    mauller07Sounds nice, but whos gonna say it first.. i dare yaok i will
    but can it play Wolfenstein?
  • lukeiamyourfather
    Looks very exciting. Makes me wonder how well software can really scale with that many cores.'s_law
  • jimmysmitty
    Looks like Intel has been working hard on its MIC products since Terascale. Its a good idea and looks to bring a lot of new stuff to servers, HPCs and Cloud computing.

    Can't wait to see this in action.
  • scook9
    So they made a GPU? That is what it looks like to me lol. It just does not do does everything.
  • jellico
    This is an absolutely staggering level of computing power. It always amazes me to think that my first PC (not my first computer, mind you) was a 80386 25MHz with 4MB of RAM and a 100MB hard drive... and that was considered a pretty nice machine at the time. By comparison, however, it was a friggin stone axe by today's standards. I can't wait to see where the technology will be in the next 25 years!
  • mauller07
    have to remember that each core is also only a fraction as powerfull as a current processor core (in a current pc it would be very under powered) in say quad core, septa core etc but its the number of them and threading of the program that makes up for the power
  • kingofwacky
    mauller07Sounds nice, but whos gonna say it first.. i dare ya....but can it play............................................crysis?