Looking to make its way into a market dominated by Intel and AMD, Tilera Corporation, a five-year-old fabless semiconductor startup focusing on scalable multi-core embedded processor design has unveiled the new Tile-GX series of server CPUs. Available with 16, 36, 64, and up to 100 cores, the company claims its chips offer the highest performance of any microprocessor yet announced while operating efficiently at the same time.
They are built on TSMC's 40 nanometer process and can work at up to 1.50GHz with power consumption ranging from 10 to 55 watts. While this may seem like no match for Intel’s Nehalem processors which top out at around 3.3GHz (and burn up to 130 watts), Tilera's view is to increase performance by having many cores running at modest clock speeds rather than just driving up clock frequency.
The new Tile-GX series is based around a two-dimensional iMesh interconnect, which eliminates the need for an on-chip bus, and a Dynamic Distributed Cache system that allows each core's local cache to be shared coherently across the entire chip. According to the firm, this interconnect system is able to feed data into the chip's cores at very high rates of speed so performance can scale almost linearly with the number of cores.
Both Intel and AMD are also working on growing the number of cores on their processors and expanding the reach of their architectures, but Tilera claims to have a clear advantage in performance-per watt. Of course, they'll face an uphill battle competing with established players and the huge codebase behind their x86 architecture, but Tilera claims some top-tier system makers have already shown interest in their products and at least one is running their multi-core chips on test systems.