Intel has stated that it is ready to start shipping some of its experimental 48-core processors near the end the quarter. The sample CPUs will be mainly sent to academic institutions for research purposes and may never make it to retail channels, but PC World reports that several of its features could serve as a basis for features in future processors.
The x86 samples are clocked between 1.66Ghz and 1.88GHz, around the speed of their energy efficient Atom chips. Each core is said to be able to run separate operating systems and software, all acting in unison to behave like an individual computing node. One single processor contains four integrated DDR3 memory controllers and a separate L2 cache for each core.
Intel has also worked to ensure efficient energy consumption in the chip: it consumes between 25 and 125 watts of power and can selectively shut down cores or alter the voltage and clock frequency. They also worked to implement all the controls within software, so that researchers can easily adjust the power output and running cores all within the OS.