Intel® six-core i7-990X Extreme processor

Intel six-core i7-990X Extreme processor can be regarded as the company’s fastest desktop chip. In the year 2009, Intel launched their experimental 48 core central processing unit (CPU), on a stamp sized piece of silicon. What is really interesting is the processing capability of this 48 core CPU chip, with amazing power management and power efficiency. So, a 6 core or 4 core chip from Intel with high speed and performance capabilities was likely to be launched.

There has been an increase in the number of processors that can be squeezed into a single chip and the concurrent speed of processing uses cutting edge technology. In fact, the company Tilera has claims of production of 36 core and 64 core chips, and have even announced a 100 core processor. NVIDIA, is reportedly working on a 512 core graphics processing unit (GPU). Working hand–in-hand with Microsoft and various cloud computing technologies, Intel strives to retain its position as the best processor manufacturer around. The concept of requirement of less cooling and reducing power consumption against the erstwhile higher and highest frequency race, maximizing processing capacity in smaller and smaller data centers, is what Intel is beating the competition at.

Ranging from the Intel 4004 processor introduced in 1971 commercially, with 2300 transistors and 10 Micron Silicon technology, Intel has, over various steps grown to 3 GHz speed, with 820,000,000 transistors and the 45nm silicon thickness technology in their Core 2 Quad processors in the year 2007. The transition from 1969 to 2007, in 38 years, with technology changing at breakneck speed is something to reckon with. Multi-core processor chips, principally are designed to do more work per clock cycle, run at lower frequencies, with each core behaving like a discrete logical processor with multiple threads to share the core’s resources. HT technology or Hyper Threading technology gave birth to this need. In fact, Hyper Threading technology allows maximization of performance by splitting the resources of each core, in the multi-core technology system. This logical evolution of Hyper Threading technology has brought about various software vendors like Microsoft, IBM, Red Hat and others to develop software, treating the multi-core processor as a single central processing unit.

This parallel processing system and threading technology have brought about dynamic changes in power consumption, memory latency and performance. This requirement of heavy performance requirement and scarce processor resources in various rich media content with demands on encoding and decoding multimedia as also editing video, 3D modeling, heavy scientific calculations, high-end digital content creation are the major factors responsible for chip manufacturers to think diverse and make available hardware to suit. Computing architecture and high-end platforms will definitely bring major changes in computing for medicine, IT, digital office, digital home, mobility solutions and even gaming.

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