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Whadda Ya Do with 48 Cores?

Intel last week showed off a 48-core processor. That's the good news. Unfortunately, the chip giant has no plans to ship this puppy; it's for research only.

I'm excited about this breakthrough, but also a bit frustrated. With today's software, most of our extra cores remain idle because the programs are largely sequential -- not parallel. Microsoft, Intel and many others are now pushing parallel development. That means future software may take advantage of this enormous processing. For now, it's only specialized programs -- such as engineering, animation, rendering, video and design -- that are truly multicore-aware. Oh, and high-end gaming software!

Intel is arguing that this processor represents a cloud in a box. Forty-eight cores can support a serious app load, but imagine it being devoted to a single user!

Here's my question: We already have multicore processors. Add superfast graphical processing units and you can build a true desktop supercomputer for chump change. Are you in possession of such a beast? What could a supercomputer on every desk accomplish? Fire up whatever cores you got and educate me on harnessing high-horsepower hardware at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

Posted by Doug Barney on December 07, 2009 at 11:53 AM


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