Thursday, August 12th 2021

Penetration Rate of Ice Lake CPUs in Server Market Expected to Surpass 30% by Year's End as x86 Architecture Remains Dominant, Says TrendForce

While the server industry transitions to the latest generation of processors based on the x86 platform, the Intel Ice Lake and AMD Milan CPUs entered mass production earlier this year and were shipped to certain customers, such as North American CSPs and telecommunication companies, at a low volume in 1Q21, according to TrendForce's latest investigations. These processors are expected to begin seeing widespread adoption in the server market in 3Q21. TrendForce believes that Ice Lake represents a step-up in computing performance from the previous generation due to its higher scalability and support for more memory channels. On the other hand, the new normal that emerged in the post-pandemic era is expected to drive clients in the server sector to partially migrate to the Ice Lake platform, whose share in the server market is expected to surpass 30% in 4Q21.
Volume ramp of CPUs based on the Eagle Stream platform will likely take place in 2Q22, while AMD is expected to reach a 15% share in the server market next year
Regarding the mass production schedule of Intel CPUs based on the next-gen Eagle Stream platform, volume ramp is expected to occur in 2Q22. These processors, which feature embedded HBM, comprise a much more diverse product lineup compared to the previous generation. Although Intel's 2Q22 target represents a slight delay from the market's previous expectation of a 4Q21 ramp-up, Eagle Stream CPUs will enter the final product qualification stage at the end of 4Q21, after which Intel will begin provisioning certain leading customers with a small batch of these CPUs in 1Q22, according to TrendForce's survey of server ODMs. As such, the mass production schedule of Sapphire Rapids will likely resemble the release of Ice Lake server processors earlier this year.

Genoa CPUs, AMD's competitive equivalent of the Intel Eagle Stream, are expected to enter mass production on a similar schedule, since AMD's wafer starts at the 5 nm node have been relatively low-volume. AMD's server processors manufactured at the 14 nm node and below have the competitive advantage in terms of price-to-performance, core count, and interface support. Furthermore, after progressing to the 7nm node, these processors have been seeing gradually increased adoption by various public cloud service providers, including Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure, and Tencent, throughout 2021. AMD CPUs have currently surpassed a 10% penetration rate in these three CSPs' servers. Going forward, AMD will begin inputting wafers at the 5nm node at the end of 2021 in order to further optimize its processors' cost, power consumption, and performance. TrendForce therefore expects AMD CPUs to reach a 15% share in the global server market in 2022.

While the ARM architecture is starting to gain popularity, ARM chips are mostly built-to-order due to the relatively small scale of client demand
Processors based on the ARM architecture began seeing increased market penetration this year, with AWS' self-designed Graviton chips enjoying the greatest market share. In addition, Ampere and Marvell have also been releasing more agile and flexible ARM-based server processors, validation for which by CSPs is expected to kick off in 4Q21. The server market, however, is still dominated by x86 processors, which currently account for 97% of total server processor shipment. In particular, AMD has transitioned most of its server offerings to processors manufactured at the 7nm and 7nm+ nodes by increasing wafer inputs at these nodes and replacing its old 14 nm product lineups. This transition has paid off, as some of AMD's clients have gradually become receptive to these new products. On the other hand, ARM- and RISC-based processors are currently built to order, mostly for the data center market. TrendForce therefore believes that ARM CPUs will not be competitive with x86 CPUs in the server market before 2023.

Support will extend to include PCIe G5 and DDR5 RDIMM, while CXL will improve memory performance
It should be noted that Intel as the dominant leader in the market for x86 server CPUs has decided to have Eagle Stream support CXL (Compute Express Link). This interface further optimizes the memory coherence between the CPU and the memory components to which the CPU is connected. The processor platform thus has the ultimate function of establishing a memory pool for all computing units within the server through memory virtualization, even though this function is not notably emphasized in the initial establishment of the product specifications, which originally sought to enable high-bandwidth and low-latency data transfer for the CPU. The memory pool, in turn, enhances the interconnections (or the data transfer efficiency) among the CPU, memory, GPU, ASIC, FPGA, etc. The new CXL interface will be able to offer significant improvements in terms of dealing with heavier workload in the future and conducting heterogeneous computing. Moreover, CXL will be able to overcome the limits imposed on the current hardware architecture with respect to data transfer and thereby enable more effective integrated computing capability.

The build-out of data centers continues to grow because of the emergence of applications related to AI and Big Data. Furthermore, the demand for larger cloud storage capacity has massively expanded as a result of enterprises' increasingly rapid digital transformation efforts in the post-pandemic world. At the same time, with the increase in CPU core count, how to raise computing performance via memory optimization has now become an important issue. Eagle Stream can resolve this bottleneck by extending support to PCIe G5 for the SSD interface technology. Compared with its predecessor, PCIe G5 offers twice the data transfer rate. Therefore, hyperscalers are eager to adopt SSDs based on this standard. As for DRAM, both Eagle Stream and Genoa extend support to the next-generation DDR5 server DRAM, which delivers a faster data transfer rate, making these new server CPUs superior to Ice Lake in all respects. NAND Flash and DRAM suppliers have made plans to commence mass production of PCIe G5 SSDs and DDR5 RDIMMs at the end of 2Q22 in anticipation of demand generated by the release of the Eagle Stream and Genoa platforms for these next-gen products.
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18 Comments on Penetration Rate of Ice Lake CPUs in Server Market Expected to Surpass 30% by Year's End as x86 Architecture Remains Dominant, Says TrendForce

#1
W1zzard
Make up bs number and write big report around it?
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#2
Vya Domus
W1zzardMake up bs number and write big report around it?
Seems like it, the thing is customers in this space don't just wake up one day and start replacing their servers. The decision to do so comes long before the actual purchase takes place so being first to come out with a product is critical and well... Intel wasn't first.

I'm sure they'll sell many processors though but that will simply be the consequence of the high demand in the server space and not because their products are practically amazing value.
Posted on Reply
#3
W1zzard
Vya DomusIntel wasn't first.
At least Intel is readily available, try buying actual Zen 3 server hardware, without throwing a ton of money some greedy cloud providers
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#4
londiste
W1zzardMake up bs number and write big report around it?
The interesting part here is that TrendForce reports have been the source for a bunch of hardware market news, if not directly attributed to them or their press release, but this is the one that triggers this opinion? ;)
DRAM prices bit from earlier this week (that was attributed to them and marked a press release) comes to mind as the first example.
Posted on Reply
#5
Vya Domus
W1zzardAt least Intel is readily available, try buying actual Zen 3 server hardware, without throwing a ton of money some greedy cloud providers
That's what I am saying, they'll sell because companies will just buy whatever is available right now.
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#6
Richards
Sapphire rapids with hbm memory will guarantee Intel's leadership in server cpu's plus the software
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#7
londiste
Vya DomusThat's what I am saying, they'll sell because companies will just buy whatever is available right now.
It also helps that unless you need 64 or 56 cores, Ice Lake Xeons are competitive enough. There are obviously niches where choosing specifically either Xeons or EPYCs is worth it.
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#8
zlobby
W1zzardMake up bs number and write big report around it?
And then cash out on the stock market. Classic.
Posted on Reply
#9
z1n0x
RichardsSapphire rapids with hbm memory will guarantee Intel's leadership in server cpu's plus the software
Premature statement. None knows, how SPR and Zen4 will stack up.
Posted on Reply
#10
W1zzard
londisteIt also helps that unless you need 64 or 56 cores, Ice Lake Xeons are competitive enough
exactly, there's so many options if you are looking for "good enough" and are not spending someone else's money

we're very happy running on Xeon E3s for TPU, which have just an insane price/performance, and we need multiple machines for redundancy anyway
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#11
ZoneDymo
RichardsSapphire rapids with hbm memory will guarantee Intel's leadership in server cpu's plus the software
What does that even mean? come on man
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#12
5 o'clock Charlie
W1zzardAt least Intel is readily available, try buying actual Zen 3 server hardware, without throwing a ton of money some greedy cloud providers
↑This is exactly what happened when my company needed to buy and replace their aging Intel based data center, all affected by the many spectre/meltdown exploits, especially zombieload. Buying Zen2 or 3 were more expensive and not as readily available compared to the Intel equivalent with our vendor. But security was more important since AMD had more hardware mitigations starting with Zen2.
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#13
lexluthermiester
W1zzardMake up bs number and write big report around it?
Wait, are you saying the article is BS or the number from Trendforce?
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#14
moproblems99
30% of Intel servers have been penetrated. Hmmmm, not very good numbers.
Posted on Reply
#15
W1zzard
lexluthermiesterWait, are you saying the article is BS or the number from Trendforce?
Same thing? It's a press release, which we post verbatim.

I don't babysit the news team, and I think it's fair to post news like this, even if I personal disagree with it (and i have no evidence to disprove their claims)
Posted on Reply
#16
lexluthermiester
W1zzardSame thing? It's a press release, which we post verbatim.

I don't babysit the news team, and I think it's fair to post news like this, even if I personal disagree with it (and i have no evidence to disprove their claims)
Fair enough.
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#17
MentalAcetylide
"Penetration Rate"? That sounds rather odd. :confused: Maybe permeate?
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#18
First Strike
londisteThe interesting part here is that TrendForce reports have been the source for a bunch of hardware market news, if not directly attributed to them or their press release, but this is the one that triggers this opinion? ;)
DRAM prices bit from earlier this week (that was attributed to them and marked a press release) comes to mind as the first example.
This is a typical market research institution's triple life.

On one hand, they making a living by providing paid customers with reasonably accurate market data.
On the other hand, they need to advertise themself by regularly giving out free information and make a fame.
On the third hand, they sometimes make a quick money by placing manipulative BS inside their free information.
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