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Forget Quad-Core: Intel Working on 48-Core Smartphone and Tablet Processors

by Todd Haselton | October 31, 2012October 31, 2012 10:00 am PDT


Quad-core processors from Qualcomm, Samsung and NVIDIA are all the rage these days in tablets and smartphones, but Intel wants to shake up the market by adding, well, just a few more cores. 48 cores, in fact.

Typically, cores are used to divide a complicated task across several graphics processing units (GPUs) or central processing units (CPUs). So, in really simple terms, rendering a video might be faster on a quad-core device instead of on a dual-core device because the task can be split across four cores instead of just two. A 48-core processor could work the same way, splitting any task across 48 different cores.

Researchers speaking to Computerworld said that the technology is probably about 10 years out from now, but Intel is more bullish. The company’s chief technology officer told Computerworld Justin Rattner thinks we’ll have 48-core processors in our mobile devices long before 2022. So, what can you do with 48 cores?

“I think the desire to move to more natural interfaces to make the interaction much more human-like is really going to drive the computational requirements,” he told Computerworld. “Having large numbers of cores to generate very high performance levels is the most energy efficient way to deliver those performance levels.”

One setback, however, is how applications and mobile operating systems are currently designed. In order for those cores to actually work to an end user’s benefit, software engineers need to make sure they are creating applications that actually take advantage of the additional cores.

[via Computerworld]

Todd Haselton

Todd Haselton has been writing professionally since 2006 during his undergraduate days at Lehigh University. He started out as an intern with...