A desktop Pentium processor operates at a few hundred million flops, while some of the most powerful computers in the world operate at few hundred gigaflops. Putting around 20 ClearSpeed chips into a few personal computers could potentially provide the sort of power normally only found in a supercomputer built from hundreds of parallel processors or specialised hardware.Interesting here is that the CS301 does not works as a regular processor, but as a supplementary component that you need to plug in to your computer just like a graphics card.
A chipset carrying one or two of the chips can be plugged into a normal PC like a graphics card and perform intensive calculations on behalf of the machine's normal processor. The chip is also very power-efficient, consuming only three watts and ClearSpeed is working on a version for laptop computers.
"The goal here is to enhance supercomputers at one level," says Tom Beese, CEO of ClearSpeed. "But also to deliver a power-efficiency that means you can put a few of chips inside a laptop, running along side a Pentium, and have a gigaflop laptop."
The CS301 would be especially suited to arithmetically intensive scientific applications such as protein modelling or geological data analysis. Beese says the chip is fast and efficient because it has been designed almost entirely to focus on performing mathematical calculations with around 70 per cent of its surface dedicated to number crunching.Interested in buying a few of these to speed up your Folding@home programs? Well I got some bad news, ClearSpeed only plans to sell these within next few months to research companies and universities for a price of $16,500.
Source : Newscientist