At SC10 in New Orleans, Intel has been demoing and discussing its Knights Ferry development platform. Knights Ferry, which Intel refers to as a MIC (Many Integrated Core) platform, is the phoenix rising rising from the ashes of Larrabee. Future MIC products (Knights Ferry is a development prototype, the first commercial product will be called Knights Corner) will mesh x86 compatibility with a level of parallelism typically found only in cluster nodes.
Knights Ferry contains 32 indepedent x86 cores with quad HyperThreading, fits into a PCIe 2.0 slot, and offers up to 2GB of DDR5 memory per card. Each of the 32 cores has a 64K L1 (32K data, 32K instructions) and a 256K L2 cache. Knights Corner, when it eventually launches, will be built on 22nm technology and offer “more than 50″ processing cores. 64 processing cores in total would seem a logical target, but Intel may be hedging its prediction in order to improve yields when the device arrives. For the moment, Intel sees Knights Corner as a complementary product rather than as a replacement for conventional Xeon servers and believes it will demonstrate a tremendous performance improvement in certain parallel workloads.