Remember Larrabee? Intel’s ill-fated desktop GPU has been reborn as Knights Corner, a high-performance computing chip targeted at servers and supercomputers. It’s being built on the same 22-nm process used to fabricate Ivy Bridge CPUs and features “more than 50” cores that purportedly combine to offer a teraflop of double-precision computing power. According to an Intel spokesman quoted by Xbit Labs, the first supercomputer based on Knights Corner is still on track to be turned on early next year.
Dubbed Stampede, the system will reportedly consist of “several thousand” servers, each with dual eight-core Sandy Bridge-EP CPUs and 32GB of memory. The story doesn’t say how many Knights Corner chips will be incorporated into each of those servers, but it does note that the rig will feature 128 Kepler-based Quadro GPUs for “remote visualization.” The supercomputer will also sport a collection of servers with a terabyte of shared memory devoted to analyzing large data sets. A high-performance disk subsystem will be part of the package, too.
Intel has yet to release specifics on when Knights Corner will be available outside the Stampede supercomputer, and it’s unclear whether standalone products will come first. Knights Corner is expected to be sold as a PCI Express add-in card that competes directly with GPU computing products from AMD and Nvidia.