Adapteva and Globalfoundries Begin to Sample 64-Core 28nm Microprocessor

Adapteva Initiates Sampling of 64-Core RISC Chip with 2W Power Consumption

by Anton Shilov
09/04/2012 | 12:51 PM

Adapteva, a privately-held semiconductor technology start up, has announced that it is sampling the fourth generation of its Epiphany multi-core chip available for co-processing solutions to be implemented by industries requiring the next leap forward in parallel computing. The new chip boasts with 64 RISC cores and is made using 28nm super low-power (SLP) process technology at Globalfoundries.


“This is a watershed moment for low-power parallel computing, pushing many-core computing far ahead of what the market thought possible within this decade. With our latest OpenCL programmable 28nm chips we have created an easy-to-use multi-core processor solution that boosts energy efficiency for critical applications by an order of magnitude in a broad range of markets,” said Andreas Olofsson, chief executive officer of Adapteva.

The Epiphany IV chip includes 64 independent high-performance RISC cores on a single chip that operates at up to 800MHz, effectively offering over 50GHz of achievable programmable performance while consuming less than 2W in the "worst case" scenario. Peak performance of the Epiphany IV is around 100GFLOPS, whereas the peak core energy efficiency is 72GFLOPS/W at 500MHz.

Adapteva’s new OpenCL SDK provides a portable API for accessing the compute capabilities of a platform, accelerating performance in a wide spectrum of applications in market categories from gaming and entertainment to scientific and medical software.

Globalfoundries produces the chip using its 28nm-SLP (super low-power process) technology, which is believed to be one of the industry's most energy and cost efficient manufacturing process available today thanks to usage of gate-first high-k metal gate technology.

A key reason for the unmatched efficiency of the Epiphany-IV chips comes from early access to Globalfoundries leading-edge 28nm SLP technology. The industry to date has been challenged by the 28nm process node, but the Epiphany chip was able to exceed expectations in terms of performance, the two companies said.

Globalfoundries engineers started engaging Adapteva’s design teams back in 2010, which is two years prior to product launch. During the initial engagement phase, both teams rigorously discussed requirements and exchanged ideas in order to meet the stringent product leakage requirements while scaling the high performance needs from the previous generation. Time-to-market was obviously a priority, and it was essential for Adapteva to work on a 28nm technology that allows fast porting of their key IP blocks from the prior node. Glabalfoundries 28nm-SLP technology was the ideal fit for Adapteva, because it offers a combination of GHz class performance and low leakage to cover the  mobile segment as well as.

“The Epiphany efficiency breakthrough will enable significant savings in total cost of ownership for high-performance computing and will enable server level performance in mobile devices such as smart-phones and tablets,” added Mr. Olofsson.