The world's first 1,000-core processor is here

The boffins at UC Davis have created the world's first 1,000-core processor, called KiloCore. Containing 621 million transistors, the processor can handle 1.78 trillion instructions per second.

Bevan Baas, professor of electrical and computer engineering at UC Davis, led the team behind the chip architecture:

To the best of our knowledge, it is the world's first 1,000-processor chip and it is the highest clock-rate processor ever designed in a university.

Each processor can handle tasks independently of other cores in the cluster, which drastically cuts down on energy usage as cores that are not in use are automatically shut off. The cores are fabricated by IBM on a 32nm CMOS node, with average clocks of 1.78GHz. Having a system with several cores running in parallel is useful when crunching through large datasets, as well as "wireless coding/decoding, video processing, encryption, and others."

The KiloCore is said to be 100 times more efficient than a modern laptop CPU, handling 115 billion instructions per second while using only 0.7W of power.

Harish Jonnalagadda
Senior Editor - Asia

Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia for Android Central, Windows Central's sister site. When not reviewing phones, he's testing PC hardware, including video cards, motherboards, gaming accessories, and keyboards.

  • Wow !!! Sent from my Lumia 650 via the Windows Central app ;)
  • Could I play Doom with 250FPS on it??
  • No you can't, you will bottle neck your gpu. Besides CPU is not responsible for fps unless its a sandbox type of a game like gta.
  • You mean he will bottleneck the CPU.
  • 4 cores running game logic, 996 cores running software rendering ;)
  • How's your 650 working?
  • Its awesome man !! I had random reboots on 10586.107
    It got fixed in 10586.420 Battery isn't bad too.
    And in terms of performance it equals the 730 and 830 in real life and it has equivalent benchmarks too. !!
  • Using official version now. Had triangle with the preview
  • Also, the camera is FAST..
    I could shoot only 4 back to back when it was new. After update, I can do 10 back to back (I counted) after which it shows 'Saving'.
    There is HDR too (amazing stuff with flash control).
  • Hey, how does that 650 compare to the 640? Also, where did you buy it?
  • cricket has both, i got 640 cause i saw a review and 640 bested 650 in most cases
  • Damn
  • I want one
  • In my phone
  • Surface Core Phone maybe?
  • I highly doubt it can run Crysis... given at best the game supports dual core? At that clock speed the cpu will struggle on only 2 active cores...
  • Crysis is a non-issue now, as it won't even run on a 64 bit version of Windows. Most people use 64 bit Windows now and have for a few years now. Furthermore all laptops, desktop pcs and tablets are now 64 bit and come with a 64 bit os. You're kind of stupid if your pc hardware supports a 64 bit o.s. and you use a 32 bit o.s. now.
  • Except that all 64bit processors support a 32bit runtime, thus 64bit Windows runs 32bit software.
  • There is no true 64bit chips in consumer market. Rather 32-bit with extension registers which allow running 32-bit apps as well. A true intel ia-64 chip would not be able to run 32-bit software.
  • Architecture and instruction set aren't tied together. If it was then ARM chips could run x86 apps (spoiler alert: they won't). IA-64 is a different instruction set that's why they won't run x86 apps. Likewise, ARM64 can run ARM32 software because they share the same instruction set.
  • >Crysis is a non-issue now, as it won't even run on a 64 bit version of Windows Interesting, in my test, it ran fine... I'll have to give it another shot, as far as I know it ran flawlessly. Crysis 1 is a old game now, although it still looks nice, not even close to new games today, so it should not be too hard to run on fairly new hardware.
  • I just started playing Warface which is advertised as Crytek. Seems to run fine on my surface book! It's also pretty fun with its online PVE co-op play!
  • Holy S*** my L650 is a quad core so im guessing that's a 4 core processor. I wonder what the price will be
  • ±650 Lumia 650s probably :)
  • IBM4EVR!!!
  • IBM just provided the custom manufacturing here.  The University is responsible for the actual work.  Give credit where it's due.
  • Although if you knew how far they've come with quantum processors, you'd be impressed. In 2013 they jumped from 500 to 1,000 qubits. And because of how those qubits work, they saw a 500,000 times performance boost in that one jump! That's insane, and that was three years ago, and they are ahead of moores law, with yearly doubling, so this year they should be on 8,000 qubits!? :o
  • Waiting for a kilcore laptop ~DheeraJ~
    Lumia 640XL 10586.218
  • Dheeraj rakho.
  • Moore's law doesn't really have anything to do with quantum computing. That's an entirely new thing. Sure, it keeps evolving, but in it's own way.
  • Yeah. I think the OP was pointing out that Quantum computers are evolving much faster than even traditional computers (whose speed of evolution is predicted by Moore's Law -- considered to be extremely fast in its time).
  • Was KiloCore the bad guy in X-Men or The Avengers.
  • Yeah... Killer Croc. He's from the Batman universe though...
  • Haha
  • Kilowog was a friend of Hal Jordan (Green lantern)
  • Killer
  • Holy ****!!!
  • Finally a ray of hope that windows 10 mobile can run smoothly.
  • That was the most disturbing humor I have ever seen with my eyes!
  • Hahahahaha XD Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Things like this are invented every year and only remain as concepts.
  • It's not the same as a concept though. A concept is something which is only modeled (sometimes graphically) and demonstrates what the real thing will be like. It's been already made for real use. But yes, there's no practical use of this unless we have software that can utilize it's full potential and the much needed hardware capable of handling it.
  • Yeah, and surely this CPU won't go to commercial use, to average people. It will be used in big companies for research stuff where powerful CPU is really needed..
  • "Yeah, and surely this CPU won't go to commercial use, to average people. It will be used in big companies for research stuff..." That's what they said about an 8-bit processor computer with 2 Kilobytes of RAM back in the 1960s. There will come a day when It is common for everyone to carry one around in a smart device of some sort. It won't be during the next 5 years for sure, but tech always eventually comes to the masses.
  • Dude they'll be used for games Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • I meant that only. These products will have a very niche market and will probably remain unknown to common public.
  • For now, Pallav. :) For now.
  • This will be huge in Vmware/HyperX farms. One box with a big NAS that could run 100's of servers. Compress a huge data center down to a small one, never mind the HUGE cost of savings in power usage.  THis could take 20-30 server cabinents and compress them down to 1 cablient. I look forward to seeing a production model. I am sure once it's released, it will get supported on software almost right away. Windows and Linux/Unix (Vmware client).... I'm a systems admin, I DO see a major use/need for a CPU with all these cores.
  • There is no mention of the achitechture, but I'm guessing these are fairly simple ARM cores.  If that is the case it won't be very useful for running complex OSes and virtual machine farms.  It would make an excellent CPU for compute nodes in large number crunching clusters for scientific work, but not so much for general use applications.
  • True, Time will tell if this comes to production but, the concept of a 1000 cores in a single CPU is crazy, I guess today we see that as crazy, when in 10 years, it will be the norm, your desktop will need 1000 cores... I could see something like the controlling a complete data center in a single machine... and that would be cool.
  • Except for the fact that high-end GPU's have had this many cores for decades, not to mention dozens of other examples, many of which are older than this 4000 core CPU from 2014: Last but not least, this is still all completely useless without software to make use of it, which isn't in the cards for general purpose software. No matter how hard developers stretch to make use of this, something like a facebook app just doesn't have requirements that can be mapped to this type of hardware. It's why the iPhone is still one of the fastest devices around despite having only two cores. The only way to equate cores directly to performance is by understanding little about hardware and software technology. ho hum... non-news faking to be news...
  • The internal structure of CPUs and GPUs is actually different and you can't really compare the two.
    A GPU is basically a cluster of cores and is meant to execute highly parallelized work (eg. graphics rendering), while a CPU has a different approach. Also, a GPU usually has way lower frequencies, and there are really a ton of other differences (internal pipeline, cache memory, supported instruction sets...).
    So a CPU with this kind of specs is actually something new :)
  • True... kind of. Then again, nowhere in the article is this 1000 core processer explicitly stated to be a general purpose CPU! It's just refered to as "a processor". A GPU is also just "a processor". IMHO my comparison is valid, primarily because it's highly unlikely that this is any more of a general purpose CPU than a GPU is. In fact, the article itself already mentions very specific scenarios where it might be usefull... that's the opposite of being "general purpose". Anyway, the article claims this to be the first processor (not general purpose CPU specifically) reaching up to 1000 cores, which is just factually false. That's the main point I was making. A GPU is just one example we might use to disprove that claim, whether it's comparable or not. I gave that as my first example only beause it's something many of us here have bought and used. Many more examples could be made.
  • from the UC Davis site linked:
    Each processor core can run its own small program independently of the others, which is a fundamentally more flexible approach than so-called Single-Instruction-Multiple-Data approaches utilized by processors such as GPUs; the idea is to break an application up into many small pieces, each of which can run in parallel on different processors, enabling high throughput with lower energy use, Baas said.
  • Sure. That still doesn't make it a general purpose CPU however. General purpose CPU's have always required the software developer to break processes down into a number of subprocesses (at least as many as there are cores that should be utilized) and then synchronize between them. That just isn't feasable with a 1000 core CPU, particularly not with single-user consumer software. Hence, there must be some level of automation involved, and that takes away from the general applicability of this solution. Anyone who doesn't understand that isn't qualified to have his/her own opinion on this topic. I used to develop software for computing systems with thousands of cores. I doubt anybody here is going to tell me something about this topic I don't already know.
  • Well, sorry that we are clearly inferior on this topic. Pack it up everyone and delete your comments cause we are all idiots and a5cent is the only one worthy of having an opinion here.
  • I get what you mean, but that's not entirely correct either.
    I mean, of course a multi-core CPU with such a number of cores doesn't offer much of a performance improvement when running most commercial software, but that doesn't mean it can only be useful in servers or similar systems.
    Take a rendering program or an image editor for example, one could easily take advantage of libraries like OpenCL to use as many cores as possible, without having to manually break the program down in n subprocesses. Each core would run its own OpenCL kernel instance and that'd be it. Of course, this is just an example and I'm sure you know many other possible approaches when dealing with highly parallelized work. Still, you're right when saying that the article doesn't provide enough info to understand whether or not this "processor" is actually a general purpose CPU, but neither does it provide enough info to say it isn't so with absolute certainty :)
  •   Ho-hum, okay. But non-news? No. This may not make a dent somewhere in the market very quickly but this is an excellent result of academia and deserves the recognition. Your comment is highly utilitarian. I know software today just doesn't need to use 1000 cores, but there's specialty and niche software out there that could. In a few decades, this could be useful. And even if it isn't, I'd rather see innovation (as untargeted and useless as it may seem) in all directions. That's how novel ideas come up. That's how chains are broken.
  • I agree with all of your points except the first one. The technological effort is fine and I'm all for that. I'm just against slighting all the reaserchers who have worked on similar projects many years prior to this, by claiming this to be the first such effort. The reporting is wrong, particularly as it doesn't make it clear that this isn't going to be usefull to consumers anytime soon (which might be expected since this website is aimed squarely at consumers). Of course I can envision uses for something like this in other areas (research, military, physics simulations), but that has pretty much nothing to do with WCentral.
  • Oh look, the new Surface Phone chip
  • Stop
  • This is isn't a Von Neuman processor, it's not compatible with current software, plus we don't know much about it's instruction set, which is probably limited. Sure, they made something, but we are still far from seeing this getting used outside a lab.
  • Want to see Intel merge with AMD and create awesome products.
  • That legally couldn't happen. It would create a monopoly. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • What makes you think they would create awesome products if they merged?  It would be eaiser and more profitable for them to create stagnant products that the market would have to accept because there would be no other competition (at least in x86).
  • WOW
  • Only 5.8 teraflops though..
  • But will it blend?
  • And I bet running Android AKA Lagdroid would lag even on this KiloCore processor. Lol!! :D
  • I bet Win 10 would lag too lol. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Damn
  • That's insane!
  • It's just 992 core CPU.. (31x32)
  • Sounds like great news for mobile devices, not in terms of the amount of processing power, but the way the individual cores are independent and turn off when not used! Would be great for battery consumption!
  • Mobile CPUs have been doing that for years already. You might want to read up on the Qualcomm's KRAIT architecture from 2012:
  • I'm amazed
  • Notebooks have 2/4 cored and 4/8threads mostly so it has 500/250 more cored and only 100x more efficient? And they are referring to and fx mobile or Pentium m/i3/i5/i7 and there is a huge difference in i7 q/qm/mx with normal cores, threads 4/8 as opposed to i7u/ulv which is 2/4 and clocked low. It sounded impressive at first but when we compare it with desktop intel6700k 4c/8t or HEDT 6,8,10c/12,16,20T then it will probably be like 10-20times more powerful only. And I'm not even comparing it to xenon server cpus... It's like amd "Moar cores!!!!1111".
  • "But will it run Crysis?" That made me lol
  • Project Scorpio S - the gaming console to end all consoles.
  • You can get me a trillion cores all you want, but Stellaris is still gonna stutter
  • This is great. Processor technology like this can or will advance work being done on AI (Artificial Intelligence).
  • Surface phone SoC? Posted via the Note 4/Nexus 7 (2013)/Lumia 1020/Lumia 2520
  • that's cool. maybe it'll be around 100 years after i'm dead
  • Most impressive.