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A chip to make PCs faster, 20X

india Updated: Dec 29, 2010 23:30 IST

In what could be called a major technological innovation, scientists have unveiled an ultra-fast chip which they claim could make desktop computers 20 times faster.

Modern computers have a processor with two, four or sometimes 16 cores to carry out tasks. Now, a team, led by the University of Glasgow, has developed a central processing unit which effectively have 1,000 cores on a single microchip.

The developments could usher in a new age of high-speed computing in the next few years for home users frustrated with slow-running systems; the new “super” computer is also much greener than modern machines, despite its high speed.

The scientists used a chip called a Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) which like all microchips contains millions of transistors — tiny on-off switches that are the foundation of any electronic circuit, the Daily Mail reported. But FPGAs can be configured into specific circuits by the user, rather than their function being set at a factory. This enabled the team to divide up the transistors within the chip into small groups and ask each to perform a task.

By creating more than 1,000 mini-circuits within the FPGA chip, the scientists effectively turned the chip into a 1,000-core processor — each core working on its own instructions.

The chip was able to process around five gigabytes of data per second in testing — making it approximately 20 times faster than modern computers.