Home built 8-bit PC has 16-cores, excels at multitasking
Hobbyist hacker Jake Eisenmann builds a multicore homebrew PC in his basement. It’s not a powerful machine, but it’s a cool experiment demonstrating multicore computing.
These days, a single-core device is simply outdated. Everything from PCs, notebooks, to smartphones are multi-core.
So, why should a single-core home built PC be good enough?
Jake Eisenmann, who earned his fame developing a homebrew 8-bit PC in his basement while in high school, has now completed a 16-core 8-bit homebrew PC. Called the DUO Mega it has 16 ATMega328p microcontrollers, linked together via a 8-bit data bus. Each core is clocked at 16MHz. Because the hardware he chose to use is proprietaty and non-standard, the machine requires custom bytecode that was developed by Eisenmann. Eisenmann’s DUO Mega comes packed with 32kb of SRAM, 512kb of flash memory, and a VGA display port.
While the computer is primitive by any extent of the imagination, the point of Eisenmann’s exercise was to bring multicore computing — and with it the ability to multitask — to the ATMega328p processor. He probably won’t be able to play Crysis on his new creation, and the modern SoCs found in most cellphones probably have more FLOPs. But that’s not the point. As the video below shows, the 16 cores handle that task with relative ease: