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Multicore coming to a screen near you


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Multicore coming to a screen near you

  1. 1. having attended several technology shows at the lticore beginning of the year, it’s clear to me that multicore Mu is finally really happening, and it’s happening fast. Intel’s Sandy Bridge started shipping in January, One way to make processors more powerful is with four x86 cores on board. Haswell, Intel’s to introduce more pipeline stages, and increase next architecture revision, defaults to eight the clock rate. More pipeline stages means a screen near you cores. At the Mobile World Congress, nVidia there’s less work done per stage. In addition, coming to showed off their Kal-El mobile phone and driving up the clock requires a higher voltage, tablet processor with a quad core inside and resulting in a more than linear power increase, targeted to go into production in August this since power scales with the square of voltage. brics arketing Vector fa year. Qualcomm announced their new Krait This isn’t a very power-efficient approach, By Marco Jacobs, Vp M architecture, which includes up to four cores and already some time ago frequencies have also. TI announced their new 10GHz DSP which , stopped scaling when new process technology contains 8 high-performance VLIW cores nodes were introduced. Using multiple cores running at 1.25GHz. Graphics architectures went lowers the average clock frequency, thus from simple pixel pushing pipelines, to include reducing energy consumption, even if there are virtex engines, then added programmable more cores active at the same time. Multicore shaders and are now becoming general is here because it addresses the power purpose multicore computer engines that are consumption challenge. seeing rapid market adoption. This weekend, a friend of mine showed me his new phone, the When VLIW processors were introduced, they LG Optimus 2X. The “2X” label stands for dual shifted computer architecture complexity core; multicore is even becoming a topic the toward the compiler. History now repeats itself marketeers get excited about and highlight with multicore architectures. The complexity as a main product feature. is shifted away from the hardware, into the software. It’s too late for a paradigm shift in Why is everyone going multicore now? software programming to adopt new parallel Multicore is here since it solves several programming languages though. There’s too challenges. much legacy code, there is a lot of software tools infrastructure and learning a new Many applications can be significantly sped language isn’t easy. One way to hide parallel up through parallisation. Higher resolution complexity is behind APIs, and there are many: and multi-channel audio combined with Pthreads, OpenCL, OpenMP CUDA and others. , high-definition, 3D video yields a better media Using APIs is a good idea, but only solves part experience. A media player contains graphics, of the problem. Structuring your code to take ore now? veryone going multic s “ audio and video, each of which can be split up advantage of these parallel APIs is the real Why is e over multicore cores to give more performance. challenge. New programming tools are needed ce it solve Multicore is here sin Augmented reality and high quality gaming to analyze and partition the application in ” requires lots of demanding computer order to take advantage of the many multicore several challenges. operations. Consumers want their browsers to systems already shipping into the marketplace, load and render web pages instantly. Screen and to harvest their available computing and camera resolutions are forever increasing capacity. Multicore is here, and here to stay. to present and capture highest-quality imagery. The crux is in the programming. Multicore is here because it addresses the challenge of satisfying this need for speed. Designing a processor that is twice as powerful as the previous generation is no small task. Deeper pipelines, out-of-order, speculative issues, and superscalar execution all improve performance, but at diminishing returns. Ultimate performance goes up, but performance per square millimeter of Silicon for the latest microcontrollers actually goes down. Not so with multicore, and processors available from RS, which is relatively easy to implement. Simply go to replicate the design, and add interconnect. It’s much simpler to implement a quad core processor, than to increase a single processor’s get more online... performance fourfold. Multicore is here because Share your views at it solves the hardware design challenge to deliver more performance.20 eTech - ISSUE 7 eTech - ISSUE 7 21
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