Intel's upcoming CPUs have been suffering from no shortage of attention, but the company spoke of other things as well at IDF, like the Knights Ferry compute accelerators, which it even demonstrated in action.Those who know of how things fare on the supercomputing front probably also know that GPU computing modules have been gaining ground, thanks to their advanced parallel processing capabilities.
Wishing to rival NVIDIA and AMD on their own turf, Intel decided to create its own solutions, though they are called compute accelerators.
The upcoming accelerators have the Knights Ferry codename and are one of the subjects discussed at the Intel Developer Forum (IDF).
For those who don't know, Knights Ferry has 32 x86 cores (each has a frequency of 1.2 GHz), up to 2 GB of GDDR5 memory and compatibility with PCI Express 2.0 slots. The module also has quad-HyperThreading.
Meanwhile, the chips used in their making have 8 MB cache (shared L2), odd considering how highly-parallel applications don't need on-chip cache much.
As reported by the folks over at X-bit Labs, Intel demonstrated eight accelerators running in multi-GPU setup on a 2-way Xeon system.
The Wolfenstein game was the proving ground and was enhanced with real-time ray tracing, enabling special effects that aren't possible on today's hardware, not in very high accuracy at least.
Depth of field, HDR bloom, inter-lens reflection and smart anti-aliasing are also among the special effects that Wolfenstein boasts.
Overall, the system returned a performance of about 7 TFLOPS in SGEMM (single precision general matrix multiply) operations, not a particularly daunting score but, nonetheless, enough to imply that Intel is on to something.
For those who want to know exactly what the system was made of, the 2-way Intel Xeon X5690 system (3.46GHz, 6 cores, 12MB L3 cache) has 24 GB of 1,333 MHz DDR3 memory backing it up, plus the aforementioned eight KNF compute cards.