Intel is developing a 48-core processor for smartphones and tablets

By on October 31, 2012, 12:30 PM

Researchers at Intel envision a future where smartphones are powerful enough to perform tasks typically delegated to full-size computers today. And it’s not just a pipe dream either - they’re already working on a 48-core processor for smartphones and tablets designed to replace your desktop or laptop completely.

Intel’s focus on the project at this point is finding new ways to manage and use multiple cores in a mobile device. Smartphones and tablets already exist with multiple cores (up to four, typically) but a system with 48 cores would be a real game changer.

The advantage of having multiple cores, of course, is the ability to divide the workload up among each core. This has several benefits, just as it does today. For one, heavy computational tasks can be completed much more quickly. A system with dozens of cores would be able to multitask much more efficiently than today’s chips that often struggle to complete several tasks at once.

Multimedia would also benefit greatly as multiple cores could be used to decode different video frames simultaneously, resulting in a smoother and more seamless experience. Furthermore, by reducing the strain on a single core and spreading the workload among many parallel cores, less energy would be consumed overall.

Researchers anticipate having such a chip ready for prime time within five to 10 years although Intel CTO Justin Rattner said it could hit the market much sooner than forecasted. He believes that advanced features and functions like speech recognition and augmented reality will accelerate the drive for more processing power.




User Comments: 45

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psycros psycros said:

"..they?re already working on a 48-core processor for smartphones and tablets designed to replace your desktop or laptop completely."

Are they also working on a holographic 24-inch monitor, pop-out keyboard and mouse? Because w/o added miracles no phone is going to replace a real PC.

Guest said:

I am seriously going to put a loaded gun to my head if I can keep reading retarded articles like this. First it was the article about bringing Microsoft Office to cellphones. Now, were going to bring 48-core processors into cellphones. And my only question is, to do what?

So I can play Battlefield 3 on a 4.7" inch screen that I have to hold six-inches from my face to see?

Click....click...click...BOOM!!!!!

m4a4 m4a4 said:

Software would still need to be programmed to take advantage of this, or else its useless...

1 person liked this | TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

So exactly what's the point? No software will be able to take advantage of that. In fact, most software can't take advantage of more than 2 cores as is.

Guest said:

All you need is a mini usb port that can interpret a 3 way split signal so you can plug in a mouse, kbd and monitor to your cell. Now you can play BF3.

Littleczr Littleczr said:

First they need to work on the software we have right now to take advantage of multiple cores. I can count on my fingers the games and software that really stretches the legs of my i7 970.

Marnomancer Marnomancer said:

"..they're already working on a 48-core processor for smartphones and tablets designed to replace your desktop or laptop completely."

Are they also working on a holographic 24-inch monitor, pop-out keyboard and mouse? Because w/o added miracles no phone is going to replace a real PC.

Maybe Iron Man movies keep them going. :p

But I too seriously don't get the point. Why in the world would a phone or a tablet need a 48-core processor? I for one see the Cray family becoming unemployed if tablets started emulating the Big Bang.

Even desktop apps can only make use of 4 (or was it 6?) cores AFAIK. But I guess they're hoping software compatible will be written by then.

And unless they prove the battery life to be way better than a Galaxy S3's, I'm out of it.

9Nails, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I am seriously going to put a loaded gun to my head if I can keep reading retarded articles like this. First it was the article about bringing Microsoft Office to cellphones. Now, were going to bring 48-core processors into cellphones. And my only question is, to do what?

So I can play Battlefield 3 on a 4.7" inch screen that I have to hold six-inches from my face to see?

Click....click...click...BOOM!!!!!

I'd hope that this improves on the Motorola Atrix design. Where your phone is CPU and some storage. Maybe Cloud Storage will extend the phone as well. Then you simply dock at home or office and use normal keyboards and monitors while at the desk, and have the portability of the small display when you're on the go.

treeski treeski said:

"..they?re already working on a 48-core processor for smartphones and tablets designed to replace your desktop or laptop completely."

Are they also working on a holographic 24-inch monitor, pop-out keyboard and mouse? Because w/o added miracles no phone is going to replace a real PC.

Or you just have a dock scenario attached to a normal keyboard/mouse/monitor and you're good to go...

4 people like this | Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Guys... Did you miss the "ready in 5 to 10 years" part? They've got a little while to develop the parallel processing parts of the software. Multicore processors are already becoming the norm, so a natural increased progression to multi-thread software should be expected. I'd have been more shocked if in 10 years we still only had something like 4 or 8 cores as the norm.

As for replacing your desktop or laptop... The big push is mobility and streamlined computing packages, so it's not surprising that companies are expecting the big bulky towers to wane over the next decade. Picture something like the Padphone, a small processor package that can dock into a variety of hardware to fill various roles, and you can see where things might be headed.

treeski treeski said:

Guys... Did you miss the "ready in 5 to 10 years" part? They've got a little while to develop the parallel processing parts of the software. Multicore processors are already becoming the norm, so a natural increased progression to multi-thread software should be expected. I'd have been more shocked if in 10 years we still only had something like 4 or 8 cores as the norm.

As for replacing your desktop or laptop... The big push is mobility and streamlined computing packages, so it's not surprising that companies are expecting the big bulky towers to wane over the next decade. Picture something like the Padphone, a small processor package that can dock into a variety of hardware to fill various roles, and you can see where things might be headed.

Exaaaactly...

BlueDrake said:

Guys... Did you miss the "ready in 5 to 10 years" part? They've got a little while to develop the parallel processing parts of the software. Multicore processors are already becoming the norm, so a natural increased progression to multi-thread software should be expected. I'd have been more shocked if in 10 years we still only had something like 4 or 8 cores as the norm.

As for replacing your desktop or laptop... The big push is mobility and streamlined computing packages, so it's not surprising that companies are expecting the big bulky towers to wane over the next decade. Picture something like the Padphone, a small processor package that can dock into a variety of hardware to fill various roles, and you can see where things might be headed.

People read what they want to read honestly. I for one really think this will help, as it's mobile based already. Meaning even other mobile devices could possibly benefit from such tech, as it's going to no doubt be refined into their general processes. We will likely see PC's coming stock with 6 cores, instead of the usual 4 in those years ahead. Given we actually survive as a species, with the constant wars we love causing.

There's so much planned for the future, people just are so particular in reading what they want. It's no wonder we have so many close minded people, just read between the lines and ignore the obvious. Even if they put it on a billboard, it would just be ignored despite all efforts to make you read it.

ikesmasher said:

Im sorry but a smartphone or tablet will not be able to replace my PC unless they come with some miraculous input system--touch keyboards are idiotically slow to type on.

Ranger1st Ranger1st said:

I'll just say one thing.. you can't fap properly with a smart phone.. end of story.

treeski treeski said:

Im sorry but a smartphone or tablet will not be able to replace my PC unless they come with some miraculous input system--touch keyboards are idiotically slow to type on.

Why not just a dock at your desk that has those peripherals that you plop the phone/tablet into?

killeriii said:

"And it?s not just a pipe dream either - they?re already working on a 48-core processor for smartphones and tablets designed to replace your desktop or laptop completely."

rofl

"chip ready for prime time within five to 10 years"

I would think, in that time, my desktop will have a 50" ultra super HD holographic screen and a 200 core processor running at 20Ghz!!!

Point being: portable devices will NEVER replace desktops.

treeski treeski said:

Point being: portable devices will NEVER replace desktops.

Portable devices have been replacing desktops since the first laptop. That doesn't mean you can't still have your 50" ultra super HD holographic screen, though. That's just peripheral that can be plugged into a portable device. As for that 200 core processor running at 20Ghz... If the software doesn't perform any better on it than on the portable device...

Point being: Eventually portable devices will be powerful enough to handle whatever consumer software it needs to handle. Desktops will of course also be much more powerful, but won't be needed outside of super complex computational environments (maybe where some super computers are now used? Who knows?).

ikesmasher said:

Why not just a dock at your desk that has those peripherals that you plop the phone/tablet into?

because one, that will add to the additional cost, and two, they still wont have the processing power of desktops

1 person liked this | treeski treeski said:

because one, that will add to the additional cost, and two, they still wont have the processing power of desktops

What will add to the cost? The dock? I don't see that as being a limiting factor. Plenty of laptops and tablets already have docks and they don't add much. The argument about processing power is irrelevant if they're both capable of doing what you, as a consumer, need it to do.

ikesmasher said:

What will add to the cost? The dock? I don't see that as being a limiting factor. Plenty of laptops and tablets already have docks and they don't add much. The argument about processing power is irrelevant if they're both capable of doing what you, as a consumer, need it to do.

let me know when a phone is able to do 6-digit poly 3d modeling, REAL video editing, high res multilayer photoshop editing, and do this all with a speedy good for multitasking OS.

2 people like this | Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

All I want to know, is can this run Crysis?

Darth Shiv Darth Shiv said:

I just hope it isn't the Larrabee team...

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

let me know when a phone is able to do 6-digit poly 3d modeling, REAL video editing, high res multilayer photoshop editing, and do this all with a speedy good for multitasking OS.

Do you really think that in 10 years, the hardware won't be capable? Look at processing power 10 years ago compared to now. Look at mobile power 10 years ago compared to now.

But, here's the rub - by the time 10 years rolls around, what you want to do will have grown exponentially, just like the processing power. So, will a phone completely replace desktops? Hard to say, probably not. But, will that tiny processing package be more powerful than any desktop we have in use right now? Most likely. Just like today, most "power users" who actually need to do the stuff you are using as examples will have dedicated desktop powerplants to crunch the numbers. But, don't flatter yourself into thinking that you (and me, as I need that kind of power too) are in any kind of majority - 95% of the population will probably be just fine with the flat out power that little mobile package provides, in 10 years.

St1ckM4n St1ckM4n said:

I think everyone here saying "oh, but programs aren't even quad-core capable today" are looking at it wrong.

Such a phone would function more like a current server, than a client OS. The whole point of the 48 cores is to multitask lots of things at once - not run a single app at warp speed over all 48 cores.

As current hardware is pretty limiting, the whole design and purpose of a cellphone has to change to accommodate the extra CPU power. Think something along the lines of Windows phone and the live tiles - only each tile is updated in real-time in the background.

tonylukac said:

What they need is to increase the speed of the processor. Intel isn't even in the phone market now. Why don't they increase ghz again?

Guest said:

8 core processor for PC is still new, now they're developing 48-cores processor on smartphone and tablets? from 8 (PC) to 48 (smartphone/tablet) that's what we call it quantum leap in technological advancement :D

Camikazi said:

48-cores huh? This sounds like Single-chip Cloud Computer that Intel has been working on for about 4 years or so. Maybe they just managed to shrink it small enough to be useful in phones or tablets and refocused its use.

Guest said:

---> Guys... Did you miss the "ready in 5 to 10 years" part?

unfortunately, you'll see plenty much of these people nowadays. Some of them trolled others without reading carefully, don't know what happen with their eyes or maybe they just can't read.

BlueDrake said:

What they need is to increase the speed of the processor. Intel isn't even in the phone market now. Why don't they increase ghz again?

Where is the improvement in just your overclocking? Sure you're processing a lot faster, but also note the larger toll it is on a battery. Sure in 5-10 years batteries will improve most likely, still how is a higher clock speed useful? Ever note how even a blazing fast PC at current core count, will eventually choke trying to process too much? That's the reason for the extra dense core structure, so you can multi-task without loss of performance.

I might be slightly wrong here, but doesn't a quad-core usually beat a dual-core? When it comes down to multi-tasking, dual-cores eventually struggle. Throw in a HT and it can still perform, but you see the point I hope. Cores do matter in the long term goal, video especially can really use those cores. So sure a speed boost can help, even when it's a dual vs quad kind of competition. Just eventually speed alone won't matter, and the system starts to slowly die under it's work load.

Guest said:

"Oh no technology is advancing and improving! I better complain!"

Seriously guys?

nzm0n5t3r nzm0n5t3r said:

Nothing's overkill.

2 people like this | R3DP3NGUIN R3DP3NGUIN said:

If I could connect a high powered phone to my 23" monitor with keyboard and mouse support, through some kind of dock whilst having a choice of my favorite OS, and then having the ability to play BF3 level games. I would be happy!

license27kill license27kill said:

..because Quad-core is too mainstream... lol

VitalyT VitalyT said:

As Intel gets behind in the mobile market, losing its position quickly, they came up with this lame idea to boost public's attention to themselves.

The article, of course, is absurd, same as the idea itself. Our desktops fail to take full advantage of 8-core systems, nevermind 12-core ones that one gets from Intel today (counting the Hyper-Threading).

Camikazi said:

As Intel gets behind in the mobile market, losing its position quickly, they came up with this lame idea to boost public's attention to themselves.

The article, of course, is absurd, same as the idea itself. Our desktops fail to take full advantage of 8-core systems, nevermind 12-core ones that one gets from Intel today (counting the Hyper-Threading).

I am very sure this isn't even standard Intel R&D making this, it seems like Intel's Tera-Scale R&D Program which has been working on things like this for years now. Their entire goal since they started was to make CPUs that can scale to huge amounts of cores (I think 1,000 cores is a goal for them) and this might just be a side thing for them. As for software, well if the hardware isn't seen as coming eventually then why would software makers make their software work with many cores? This is proof of concept stuff that will lead the way for better OSes eventually that can make use of all these cores.

PC nerd PC nerd said:

Why? Seems a bit over the top.

PC nerd PC nerd said:

Maybe they've decided to take the AMD route: MOAR CORES!

1 person liked this | spydercanopus spydercanopus said:

I have 16 threads (8 hyper thread cores) on my workstation. It's kinda silly unless you're running threaded applications because otherwise I might as well just have 1 core. But if Windows could dynamically assign processes to threads I could see a benefit.

Guest said:

Need moar cores for playing crysis!!

treetops treetops said:

When they came out with duo core phone processors I was thinking facepalm why not just skip to 8 or even 4? I suppose they need to squeeze every last cent out of the consumer.

Zeromus said:

In all seriousness and joking aside, I believe we will eventually be able to run crysis on our phones.

Guest said:

Have you heard of the Ubuntu on Android project, that could really use some more powerful cpu's in phones

Camikazi said:

When they came out with duo core phone processors I was thinking facepalm why not just skip to 8 or even 4? I suppose they need to squeeze every last cent out of the consumer.

If you remember Intel's first dual core CPU was just 2 normal CPUs glued together so putting 6 or 8 of them together would not have worked out well. Even their Core 2 Quads were just 2 dual cores on top of each other, these types of things work in stages you can't jump to 16 core without making sure that 2 cores work without blowing up.

waterytowers said:

I want a 48 core desktop or laptop before I want a 48 core phone or pad.

48 cores in a desktop/laptop allows for running lots of background apps, eg virtual machines. You could implement your own private cloud using 48 cores. Great as a development server or small business server to host an entire business. Cloud in a box.

red1776 red1776, Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe, said:

I just hope it isn't the Larrabee team...

ROFL

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