Processor, memory may marry in future computers

On Tuesday, Intel showed off an 80-core processor at its developer forum taking place in San Francisco this week and one of the prominent features of the chip is that each core is connected directly to a 256MB memory chip through a technology called Through Silicon Vias, or TSV.

The memory wedded to the processor cores could constitute the entire memory needed for a computer, Intel CTO Justin Rattner told in an interview during the Intel Developer Forum. TSV could be used in a variety of chips, not just the 80-core monster. As a result, computer makers, when building a system, would get their memory when they bought their processors from Intel. They would not have to obtain memory chips separately from other companies like they do now.

Wedding memory directly to the processor would have huge performance benefits. Currently, memory and the processor in Intel-based computers exchange data through a memory controller, which moves at a far slower rate than the processor. It's one of the big bottlenecks in computer performance. TSV, which displaces the memory controller, would shuttle data far quicker.

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