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Tilera reveals 72-core Tile-Gx chip for 100GBit/s Ethernet connections

19 Feb 2013

Chip designer Tilera has announced a 72-core version of its Tile-Gx embedded processor, claiming it can handle more than 100Gbit/s of Ethernet traffic.

Tilera's Tile CPU was one of the first massively multi-core processors, with the firm announcing a 32-core Tile-Gx chip as far back as 2007. Now, the core count has been more than doubled while connectivity has been improved.

Tilera's 64-bit Tile-Gx72 chip sports 72 cores clocked at between 1GHz and 1.2GHz, with each core having 256KB of Level 2 cache. It is aimed at the networking and high performance computing (HPC) markets.

Tilera has spent a lot of effort beefing up external connectivity in the Tile-Gx72, with quad channel DDR3-1866 memory support to 32 1Gbit/s Ethernet controllers and 24 lane PCI-Express support.

Tilera claims that bandwidth between the cores, using the firm's Imesh interconnect, has now surpassed 100Tbit/s.

With Tilera pitching its Tile-Gx chips at the networking market, the firm said its on-chip multicore programmable intelligent packet Engine (Mpipe) packet engine can support 120 million packets per second in duplex, while a further Mica security core supports 80 threads and can do 40Gbit/s cryptography.

Tilera's Tile Gx-72 chip can be obtained as a standalone chip or placed on a network card. The firm said that most of its customers opt for the standalone chip, though it told V3 that the number of network processing off-load products, where the Tilera chip is used as an accelerator on an x86 machine, is growing.

Tilera said that its Tile-Gx72 chip is being fabricated by TSMC on its 40nm process node, showing that chip designers not burdened with legacy buses can create many-core chips without the need for costly leading-edge manufacturing processes.

The firm also told V3 that the Tile-Gx72 chip consumes between 50W and 60W of power depending on the application.

Although Tilera's chip is very much a niche product, given that Intel and ARM vendors are looking at getting into the networking market with the growing popularity of software defined networks, Tilera has a considerable advantage in already having been in the market for a number of years.

As Bob Doud, director of processor strategy for Tilera told V3, Tilera "already has 64-bit support today and [is] packing 72 cores on a single chip", and it might be a while before even Intel's chip manufacturing skill enables it to match Tilera's core count.

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