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Tilera announces 72-core Tile-Gx chip

Gunning for high-end networking kit
Tue Feb 19 2013, 14:00

CHIP DESIGNER Tilera has announced a 72-core version of its Tile-Gx processor citing the ability to handle more than 100Gbit/s of Ethernet traffic.

Tilera's Tile CPU was one of the first massively multi-core processors with the firm announcing a 32-core Tile-Gx chip as far back as 2007, and now the firm has more than doubled the core count and improved connectivity. Tilera's 64-bit Tile-Gx72 chip sports 72 cores clocked at between 1GHz and 1.2GHz with each core having 256KB of Level 2 cache, and is aimed at the networking and high performance computing (HPC) markets.

Tilera has spent a lot of effort beefing up external connectivity support in the Tile-Gx72, from quad channel DDR3-1866 support to 32 gigabit Ethernet controllers and 24 lane PCI-Express support. Tilera claims that bandwidth between the cores, which use the firm's Imesh interconnect, has now surpassed 100Tbit/s.

With Tilera pitching its Tile-Gx chips at the networking market, the firm said its Mpipe packet engine can support 120 million packets per second in duplex. The firm's Mica security core supports 80 threads and can do 40Gbit/s cryptography.

Tilera's Tile Gx-72 chip can be had as a standalone chip or placed on a network card. The firm said that most of its customers opt for the standalone chip, though it told The INQUIRER that the number of "off-load NICs", where the Tilera chip is used as an accelerator on an x86 machine, is growing.

Tilera told The INQUIRER that its Tile-Gx72 chip is being fabbed by TSMC on its 40nm process node, showing that chip designers not burdened with legacy ISAs can create many core chips without the need for costly leading edge process nodes. The firm also told The INQUIRER that the Tile-Gx72 chip consumes between 50W and 60W of power depending on the application.

Although Tilera's chip is very much a niche product, given that Intel and ARM vendors are looking at getting into the networking market with the growing popularity of software defined networks, Tilera has a considerable advantage by already having been in the market for a number of years. As Bob Doud, director of processor strategy for Tilera told The INQUIRER, Tilera "already has 64-bit today and [is] packing 72 cores on a single chip", and it might be a while before even Intel's chip manufacturing skill enables it to match Tilera's core count. µ


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