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Old 10-14-2003, 06:46 PM   #1 (permalink)
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New chip gives PCs supercomputing muscle

http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99994274


New chip gives PCs supercomputing muscle

Will Knight

18:04 14 October 03

NewScientist.com news service

A computer chip that will enable personal computers to perform some calculations as fast as some supercomputers was unveiled on Tuesday.

Developed by ClearSpeed Technologies, based in California, the CS301 chip is capable of 25 gigaflops - 25 billion "floating point" calculations per second. These arithmetical calculations are also a common measure of computing power.

A desktop Pentium processor operates at a few hundred million flops, while some of the most powerful computers in the world operate at few hundred gigaflops. Putting around 20 ClearSpeed chips into a few personal computers could potentially provide the sort of power normally only found in a supercomputer built from hundreds of parallel processors or specialised hardware.

The CS301 works as a supplementary component to a regular processor. A chipset carrying one or two of the chips can be plugged into a normal PC like a graphics card and perform intensive calculations on behalf of the machine's normal processor. The chip is also very power-efficient, consuming only three watts and ClearSpeed is working on a version for laptop computers.

"The goal here is to enhance supercomputers at one level," says Tom Beese, CEO of ClearSpeed. "But also to deliver a power-efficiency that means you can put a few of chips inside a laptop, running along side a Pentium, and have a gigaflop laptop."

Protein modelling

The CS301 would be especially suited to arithmetically intensive scientific applications such as protein modelling or geological data analysis. Beese says the chip is fast and efficient because it has been designed almost entirely to focus on performing mathematical calculations with around 70 per cent of its surface dedicated to number crunching.

ClearSpeed plans to start selling a PC-compatible version of the microprocessor to research companies and universities within the next few months. A price has yet to be finalised but Beese says a single chip will initially cost around $16,500.

Many supercomputers are built from large arrays of off-the-shelf processors, although there is also a growing return to the use of specialised hardware. The world's fastest supercomputer, NEC's Earth Simulator, is made from specialised components. It is theoretically capable of 35 thousand gigaflops or 35 trillion floating point operations per second.

Details of the CS301 chip will be announced at the Microprocessor Forum 2003, which takes place in California this week.
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Old 10-15-2003, 09:13 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Whoa thats fast, but too bad it wont make HL2 run more fps.
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Old 10-15-2003, 02:02 PM   #3 (permalink)
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hmmm... now that WOULD be interesting, but worthless until software (or the OS) is specifically written for it. And even then I don't really know how much it will improve the average computer experiance. Escpecially seeing as not much of what a normal user does seems to have much to do with large amounts of calculation but with I/O.
But just imagine how many SETI packages you could get done.
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Old 10-16-2003, 08:58 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Who wants to chip in for one and get the TFP SETI team to the top of the list in three days

Naturally, the originator of this idea will have the chip installed in his computer.
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Old 10-17-2003, 04:28 AM   #5 (permalink)
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heehee gigaflops heehee
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