Linux powers unusual multicore machine

by admin August 13, 2006 at 9:46 am

A start-up called Movidis believes a 16-core chip originally designed for networking gear will be a ticket to success in the Linux server market.

Movidis is announcing two new servers using the chip in conjunction with next week’s LinuxWorld Conference and Expo in San Francisco. The Revolution x16 models each use a single 500MHz or 600MHz Cavium Networks Octeon CN3860 chip, said Ken Goldsholl, the company’s co-founder and chief technology officer.

Sixteen cores is a lot compared with current processors, and multiple cores boost servers by farming different tasks to different parts of the chip. Sun Microsystems’ UltraSparc T1 “Niagara” chip has eight cores, while mainstream x86 chips from Intel and Advanced Micro Devices will move from today’s dual-core designs to quad-core models within the next year.

But Movidis systems have a major difference from mainstream servers: Their chips use MIPS processor cores, an architecture originally designed by Silicon Graphics. MIPS chips can’t run software for major server processors of the x86, Sparc, Power or Itanium ilk.

Full article: ZDNet News