Researchers at Intel have announced an experimental new processor that is capable of delivering 41% more throughput but consumes the same power as current multi-core processors. The processor was designed to overcome the natural decreases in throughput in processors due to power and temperature variations, and transistor aging.
According to Tim Greene of Network World, explains how it operates:
Today’s microprocessor cores are designed to perform at guaranteed levels regardless of fluctuations in temperature and voltage that they might face. They are also designed to hit those performance levels over a specified lifecycle by taking into account the expected material degradation that takes place over time.
To meet these performance guarantees chip makers build in guardbands that provide reserve cycles that ensure the delivery of specified throughput even in worst case scenarios where voltage, temperature and aging parameters actually do hurt performance. As a result, conventional processors use more power for lower throughput than they would without guardbands.
The Intel prototype core includes adaptive circuits that eliminate guardbands. Instead, these circuits detect errors caused by the voltage, temperature and aging factors and correct for them on the fly without requiring reserve cycles. That results in either maximized throughput or minimized energy requirements that in either case outstrip performance of conventional processors.
Source: Network World.