We just got the first silicon for our Rock systems – you have no idea how cool it is to have this arrive on my desk in a plastic sandwich bag (don’t worry, with packaging like that, they don’t send me the ones we put in saleable systems):
That’s the front, this is the back:
The chips are running billions of instructions already (not quite at Hello, World, but not far away). Being a professor of the obvious, my first question was – how many pins are on the back? (Answer: nearly 50 on a side, or 2395 pins). Care to guess how many are used for signal (or functionality) vs. power/ground?
Answer… 812 are used for ‘signal’ (or real work), and 1514 are used for power/ground (the remainder are unconnected). Another interesting stat… for those fond of in-memory databases, Rock will allow us to build coherent systems supporting 256 terabytes in a single software domain (plain vanilla OpenSolaris, no less). That is an awful lot of RAM in a single system (and given the cost of memory nowadays, you’d want to post an armed guard next to that machine).
Rock is 16 cores – we haven’t said how many threads per core. Nor have we said why this chip heralds the golden age of effortless parallel programming, or how it brings fault tolerance to the masses. But stay tuned, I think we’re planning on talking up both in the next few weeks.
The good news about minting – I didn’t say fabricating, we leave that to others – but the good news about minting your own silicon is you get to tell the transistors what to do.