Tilera chips add muscle to x86 servers, free up computing capacity

With their 72 cores, Tile-IQ co-processors can boost servers' speed by taking on Hadoop and video apps

Tilera's Tilencore-GX 72-core co-processing chip

Tilera's Tilencore-GX 72-core co-processing chip

New Tilera co-processors tuned for Hadoop, video and networking applications can free up the primary CPUs of x86 servers to run other applications.

The company's Tile-IQ series of chips will have up to 72 low-power CPU cores, which will bring extra computing muscle to speed up servers, said Bob Doud, director of processor strategy for Tilera. The Tile-IQ series includes the Tilencore-GX chips, which will come with nine, 16, 36 and 72 cores.

Doud claimed servers with the chips will run network and Hadoop applications four times faster, and deliver a performance-per-watt that is 10 times better than that of systems without the co-processor. The co-processor plugs into PCI-Express slots and is designed to work alongside the main x86 chips, which typically carry up to 16 CPU cores.

Tilera's chips are based on the architecture used in existing Tile-GX chips, which were announced in 2009 and can also function as main CPUs in a server. Some data centers have custom installations in which Tile-GX chips are being used alongside x86 chips, and the company now has a specific product line for the co-processors and made them widely available, Doud said.

"We're going after the hyperscale side of datacenters," Doud said, adding that the company has seen an uptick in deployment of Tile-GX chips in x86 servers.

Co-processors like Intel's Phi chip and Nvidia's Tesla graphics chip are being increasingly used alongside CPUs in servers to handle complex calculations. Network processors are used at the front end of data centers for tasks like deep-packet inspection, firewall, load-balancing and network security.

Typically products like Tilera's co-processor end up being used in vertical markets for specific applications, said Dean McCarron, principal analyst at Mercury Research.

More processors in a server could help speed up applications, but it comes down to workloads, McCarron said. The code also needs to be tuned specifically to the chip.

Most of Tilera's chips are being used for network and video processing, but Tile-IQ is flexible for general-purpose and distributed computing, Doud said. In addition to Hadoop, common Linux applications such as the Apache Web server, MySQL database and Memcached caching software have been ported for use on Tilera's chips. Tilera supports common programming tools like C++ and Java.

Given its success with networking, Tilera's chips may have hooks for implementation in distributed computing environments, but a lot depends on the infrastructure, McCarron said.

The chips have RISC (reduced instruction set computing) cores and up to 16GB of on-board memory. The nine-, 16- and 36-core chips plug into PCI-Express 2.0 slots, while the 72-core chip plugs into the faster PCI-Express 3.0 slot. The chips have 64-bit cores, DDR3 memory controllers and Gigabit Ethernet controllers.

The Tile-IQ chips will be made using the 40-nanometer process, but faster and more power-efficient chips based on the 28-nanometer process could come out next year, Doud said. The company did not provide pricing for the chip.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam's e-mail address is agam_shah@idg.com

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags TileraNetworkingComponentsprocessors

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Agam Shah

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?