Tilera preps 100-core chips for network gear

Massively multicore server chips loom


Package rethink

Tilera was expecting to get a 36-core and 16-core Tile-Gx chip out the door in the fourth quarter of last year, with the 100-core variant due in the first quarter and the 64-core variant due a few months later. That obviously didn't happen and Tilera has used the time to rethink how it is packaging up and selling its chips. The reason for the delay has not been explained, and Bailey says that the Tile-Gx family for network gear will sample in July and be in production shortly after that. These chips are expected to be used in intrusion prevention and detection, firewall, virtual private networking, WAN optimization, network monitoring, and other kinds of equipment.

The Tilera stack includes a custom Linux compiler and parallel programming environment, as well as Apache, MySQL, Perl, PHP, and other expected open source tools.

There are four different Tile-Gx 8000 series processors aimed at network equipment makers, as shown below:

Tilera Tile-Gx 8000 series chips

Back in late 2009, Tilera was guessing that a 100-core Tile-Gx chip would cost around $1,000 while a 36-core version would cost around $400, but with the new packaging, anything is possible. Bailey said that pricing was not going to be disclosed since the chips were not even sampling yet.

Bailey did tell El Reg that the Tile-Gx 3000 server version of the chips "will not be far behind" the Tile-Gx 8000 series. The server variants will likely not have all of the crypto units or Ethernet connectivity as the networking versions, but will probably have all the cores and memory controllers. The Tile-Gx 5000 chips will focus more on computing oomph and less on I/O, since they will be aimed at video conferencing, media steaming, media transcoding, and media gateway jobs. Bailey did not want to pre-announce these chips and said more information on the Tile-Gx 3000 and 5000 series would be available late in the second quarter.

With the Tile-Gx 3000 series, Tilera says that companies will be able to put about 20,000 cores in a standard server rack, and with the future 200-core "Stratton" kickers due in 2013 using TSMC's 28 nanometer wafer baking processes, it can double that up to 40,000 cores per rack. ®

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