If you were impressed by Intel’s first-ever 10-core consumer processor—and there was a lot to like!—well, check this monster out. Researchers at the University of California, Davis, have created a new processor with a ridonkulous 1,000 CPU cores. And the chip’s so power-efficient that it could be run by a single AA battery, the team claims.
That’s because the cores inside of “KiloCore” can be independently clocked to a maximum of 1.78GHz, and shut down independently when they’re not being used. The cores also transfer data directly among each other, rather than leaning on a shared cache of memory, which is the norm with today’s commercial processors. All told, “the 1,000 processors can execute 115 billion instructions per second while dissipating only 0.7 watts,” the team says, making the KiloCore 100 times more power-efficient than a laptop despite being built on old 32nm CMOS processor tech from IBM.
By contrast, current Intel chips are much higher-clocked and built using a 14nm process. They achieve millions—not billions—of instructions per second.
So what would you use a chip with 1,000 cores for? The same thing you’d use any other modern multi-core chip for—video processing, encryption and decryption, and all sorts of scientific tasks.
The impact on you at home: Don’t expect to see the KiloCore on store shelves any time soon. Many of today’s PC applications are designed to run more efficiently on a lower number of highly clocked threads, rather than splitting a workload across a number of slower cores. It sure is nice to dream, though—and similarly power-efficient multi-core tech could prove pretty valuable in tomorrow’s mobile devices.