So what lies ahead for many-core computing? "We want to improve energy efficiency by 300x in 10 years," Rattner said. Putting some numbers into this extreme scale project, Intel reckons that it takes an Intel Xeon system consuming 200W to push out 100 GFLOPS of compute power. By 2018, Intel wants the same performance availed through a system using just 2W.
Making this bold claim possible is a new technology called near-threshold voltage. Right now, transistors - the building blocks of chips - are driven by an input voltage that's actually significantly higher than what's needed. The reason for this is down to just how granular the incoming supply is. And right now it's not.
Near-threshold voltage (NTV) usage requires just enough power to switch the transistor. Being close to this on/off threshold increases peak efficiency, according to Rattner, and enough to provide a 5x energy-efficiency improvement over the status quo. Of course, Intel needs to work on providing such fine-grained input voltage.
Intel foresees 300x improvement in efficiency in 10 years
Posted on Thursday, Sep 15 2011 @ 23:01 CEST by Thomas De Maesschalck