Tilera's third-generation processors include 64-bit capabilities and greater performance-per-watt metrics, according to company officials.
At a time when
Intel and ARM Holdings are getting most of the press around low-power server
processors, Tilera officials are continuing to push their own architecture.
its latest step Jan. 30, announcing the general availability of its latest 36-
and 16-core chip, which officials said will offer the performance and energy
efficiency that are increasingly in demand by networking, multimedia and cloud
businesses. Company officials believe that a server powered by a Tile-Gx36 chip
will offer greater performance than a system running on a Xeon chip from Intel,
and will use a fifth of the power and an eighth of the space.
will be attractive to many businesses, according to Bob Doud, Tilera's director
people, like cloud providers, compute-per-watt is their biggest concern," Doud
said in an interview with eWEEK.
reason chip makers, from Intel and Advanced Micro Devices to ARM and its
manufacturing partners, are working to create chips that can be used in low-power,
high-performance systems in what is becoming an increasingly competitive
segment of the server industry.
also announced the return of founder Devesh Garg as its CEO, got a boost last
summer, when social networking giant Facebook said its tests
found that a Quanta
Computer system powered by 64-core Tilepro64 chips offered three times the
performance-per-watt of servers running Intel's quad-core Xeon chips and more
than four times than servers running AMD's eight-core Opteron chips.
officials said they are looking to build on that momentum with the release of
their third-generation processors, which offer significant enhancements,
including 64-bit computing capabilities, and will be built on a 40-nanometer
manufacturing process, rather than the 90nm process of the company's previous
Along with the
chips, Tilera also is offering three evaluation systems in multiple form
factors that include 1U (1.5-inch) servers and a Peripheral Component
Interconnect Express (PCIe) card, which holds a 16- or 36-core chip. The
appliances will offer either a single 36-core processor or four 36-core chips,
for a total of 144 cores. More boards and systems will be coming from Tilera
partners later in the year, the company said.
has the financial backing of such companies as Cisco Systems, Quanta and
Samsung Ventures, first made headlines in 2009, when officials talked of
100-core chips and the way the chips are organized in a highly parallelized
mesh fashion with a large number of interconnects between the cores. The goal
is to create chips that offer high performance and low power consumption, which
is important to companies like Facebook, Google and Microsoft, which are
building densely populated data centers and are interested in keeping their
To date, Tilera
has released 16-, 32- and 64-core chips. Doud said that the 64-core
third-generation processor, as well as the first 100-core chip, would be
released at the end of 2012. According to a report in Wired
as many as 200 cores could be featured on chips in 2013, when Tilera rolls out
its upcoming "Stratton" line.
has seen a "staggering amount of demand" for the 16- and 36-core chips, he
said. Tilera is working with 80 customers and has 20 design wins, including
with the likes of Harmonic and Mercury Computer Systems. The company also
supplies chips to Quanta.
its microserver push, and AMD are both aggressively driving up the energy
efficiency in their chips. In July 2011, SeaMicro rolled out its latest servers
Intel's low-power Atom processors. The SM10000-64 HD offers 768 Atom processor
cores, which improves the company's compute density by 150 percent and per-watt
performance by 20 percent, according to company officials.
Supercomputing 2011 show in November, Intel officials also showed off working samples of Knights Corner
silicon, a chip
with more than 50 cores designed to meet the twin demands in supercomputing for
high-performance and low-power consumption.
Intel and AMD
have the advantage of broad software support for their x86-based chips, though
Tilera's Doud noted that common Linux workloads can run on this company's
chips. He also said that for some companies, the costs of porting their
applications to a new architecture are far outweighed by the savings in power
costs when using the Tilera technology.
several of its manufacturing partners, including Nvidia, Marvell Technologies
and Calxeda, are working to push their ARM-based low-power chip designs-which
currently dominate the smartphone and tablet markets-into servers. ARM
officials don't expect to make a significant dent in the server business until
2014, when they will introduce designs with 64-bit computing. But some inroads
already are being made.
was an agreement announced between HP and Calxeda
to build prototype low-power
servers using ARM-based processors. The initiative is part of HP's larger
Project Moonshot, in which company officials are hoping to develop extremely
low-power servers to run in such environments as cloud and on-demand computing.