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51GHz 64-core processor creator Adapteva can't find funding and gives Kickstarter a try

When you hear the specs of a process with 64-cores and 51GHz, you would probably think either supercomputer or pipe dream. As it turns out, chips that powerful are real and a company called Adapteva is trying to get them into the mobile world. So far, they have run into a real problem with funding as venture capital firms don't like spending money on chip start ups. In hopes that the community will think differently, Adapteva has opened a Kickstarter.
September 29, 2012
Adapteva Logo
When it comes to mobile processors, there is a certain range of specs that we consider truly awesome. Having a quad core, 1.5GHz, LTE-enabled chip is pretty much the bleeding edge of hardware architecture. Or is it? A little known company called Adapteva has something a little better than that. How much better? They’re toting around a 51GHz, 64-core processor. There is no typo there, 51-freaking-gigahertz.

There are a lot of problems getting Adapteva’s chip released. For one, it is ridiculously expensive. At last glance, the military was buying these chips for around $10,000USD a piece. That amount of money is equal to a down payment on a house. So it’s no surprise Android enthusiasts can’t really afford it. There are other considerations as well. How many seconds would it take for 64 cores to drain an average smartphone battery?

Adapteva knows this, however, and they have set out to create a more affordable chip that is a little more battery friendly. The big problem is funding. According to Giga OM, Adapteva is having a lot of problems finding funding from venture capital firms. How does Adapteva respond? By starting a Kickstarter.


Adapteva’s goal?

The company would like to make about $750,000 to start. To do this, Adapteva has launched the Parallella project. In essence, if you pay $99USD, you’ll get a 16-core processor on a stripped down board. The best part? The software that’s needed to program these bad boys would be released to the open source community. Many developers have had issues with processors being closed source. It hampers development and makes development harder. Imagine a chipset with full open source software. With 16 to 64 cores. Is anyone else salivating?

That isn’t all, though. If the project manages to raise $3,000,000USD, then the company will start offering the full 64-core chip for $199. It’s a little steep, but we’re not talking about any ordinary Snapdragon S4 here. This has 64-cores and over 50GHz of processing power. That doesn’t just beat every chip for mobile phones. It beats any consumer-grade product out there.

Of course, this whole movement is a long shot. It is a very long process between creating a processor and getting it placed in the next generation of smart phones. It’s likely that if this technology does manage to make into some Android smartphones, it won’t be any time soon. However, opening the CPU software to developers and offering up 16-core processors for $99USD is definitely a start.

I guess the question wouldn’t be if people would be a phone with this in it. The question is who wouldn’t?