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Intel Starts Production of "Ice Lake" Xeons, Ships 11th Gen Core "Rocket Lake-S"

Intel in its FY 2020 + Q4 2020 earnings release revealed two important development milestones from its two core businesses. As part of its Q4 2020 business highlights disclosures, the company revealed that it has commenced mass-production of its next-generation Xeon Scalable "Ice Lake-SP" enterprise processors. These chips implement the "Ice Lake" microarchitecture, with "Sunny Cove" CPU cores that offer higher IPC over "Cascade Lake," and are built on the company's 10 nm silicon fabrication node. Our older article details the 10 nm "Ice Lake-SP" silicon, where each die offers up to 28 cores, and enables Intel to build processors with up to 56 cores using two such dies on multi-chip modules.

Next up, the company states that it has "started shipping" its 11th Gen Core "Rocket Lake-S" desktop processors. "Shipping" in this context could even mean commencement of mass-production, and transfer of inventory down the supply chain, in the build up to a market availability date. At its digital keynote address on the sidelines of the 2021 International CES, Intel revealed many more details of "Rocket Lake-S," including its flagship Core i9-11900K 8-core processor, which it claims retakes the gaming performance lead that the company recently lost to AMD's Ryzen 5000 series. Multiple sources confirmed that these processors should be available only after mid-March, 2021.

AMD 32-Core EPYC "Milan" Zen 3 CPU Fights Dual Xeon 28-Core Processors

AMD is expected to announce its upcoming EPYC lineup of processors for server applications based on the new Zen 3 architecture. Codenamed "Milan", AMD is continuing the use of Italian cities as codenames for its processors. Being based on the new Zen 3 core, Milan is expected to bring big improvements over the existing EPYC "Rome" design. Bringing a refined 7 nm+ process, the new EPYC Milan CPUs are going to feature better frequencies, which are getting paired with high core counts. If you are wondering how Zen 3 would look like in server configuration, look no further because we have the upcoming AMD EPYC 7543 32-core processor benchmarked in Geekbench 4 benchmark.

The new EPYC 7543 CPU is a 32 core, 64 thread design with a base clock of 2.8 GHz, and a boost frequency of 3.7 GHz. The caches on this CPU are big, and there is a total of 2048 KB (32 times 32 KB for instruction cache and 32 times 32 KB for data cache) of L1 cache, 16 MB of L2 cache, and as much as 256 MB of L3. In the GB4 test, a single-core test produced 6065 points, while the multi-core run resulted in 111379 points. If you are wondering how that fairs against something like top-end Intel Xeon Platinum 8280 Cascade Lake 28-core CPU, the new EPYC Milan 7543 CPU is capable of fighting two of them at the same time. In a single-core test, the Intel Xeon configuration scores 5048 points, showing that the new Milan CPU has 20% higher single-core performance, while the multi-core score of the dual Xeon setup is 117171 points, which is 5% faster than AMD CPU. The reason for the higher multi-core score is the sheer number of cores that a dual-CPU configuration offers (32 cores vs 56 cores).

Alleged Intel Sapphire Rapids Xeon Processor Image Leaks, Dual-Die Madness Showcased

Today, thanks to the ServeTheHome forum member "111alan", we have the first pictures of the alleged Intel Sapphire Rapids Xeon processor. Pictured is what appears to be a dual-die design similar to Cascade Lake-SP design with 56 cores and 112 threads that uses two dies. The Sapphire Rapids is a 10 nm SuperFin design that allegedly comes even in the dual-die configuration. To host this processor, the motherboard needs an LGA4677 socket with 4677 pins present. The new LGA socket, along with the new 10 nm Sapphire Rapids Xeon processors are set for delivery in 2021 when Intel is expected to launch its new processors and their respective platforms.

The processor pictured is clearly a dual-die design, meaning that Intel used some of its Multi-Chip Package (MCM) technology that uses EMIB to interconnect the silicon using an active interposer. As a reminder, the new 10 nm Sapphire Rapids platform is supposed to bring many new features like a DDR5 memory controller paired with Intel's Data Streaming Accelerator (DSA); a brand new PCIe 5.0 standard protocol with a 32 GT/s data transfer rate, and a CXL 1.1 support for next-generation accelerators. The exact configuration of this processor is unknown, however, it is an engineering sample with a clock frequency of a modest 2.0 GHz.

Intel Ice Lake-SP Processors Get Benchmarked Against AMD EPYC Rome

Intel is preparing to launch its next-generation for server processors and the next in line is the Ice Lake-SP 10 nm CPU. Featuring a Golden Cove CPU and up to 28 cores, the CPU is set to bring big improvements over the past generation of server products called Cascade Lake. Today, thanks to the sharp eye of TUM_APISAK, we have a new benchmark of the Ice Lake-SP platform, which is compared to AMD's EPYC Rome offerings. In the latest GeekBench 4 score, appeared an engineering sample of unknown Ice Lake-SP model with 28 cores, 56 threads, a base frequency of 1.5 GHz, and a boost of 3.19 GHz.

This model was put in a dual-socket configuration that ends up at a total of 56 core and 112 threads, against a single 64 core AMD EPYC 7442 Rome CPU. The dual-socket Intel configuration scored 3424 points in the single-threaded test, where AMD configuration scored notably higher 4398 points. The lower score on Intel's part is possibly due to lower clocks, which should improve in the final product, as this is only an engineering sample. When it comes to the multi-threaded test, Intel configuration scored 38079 points, where the AMD EPYC system did worse and scored 35492 points. The reason for this higher result is unknown, however, it shows that Ice Lake-SP has some potential.

Chenbro Launches 1U Xeon HPC Server with 4x Universal Drive Bay - the Chenbro RB13804

Chenbro has launched the RB13804, a 1U rackmount server barebone designed for mission-critical, storage-focused applications for mixed deployments (Hyper-Converged Infrastructure) in Data Center and HPC Enterprise, that may either require maximum density of compute-to-storage capability or are limited by available rack space. The RB13804 is pre-integrated with an Intel Server Board S2600WFTR that supports up to two 2nd Generation Intel Xeon Scalable 'Cascade Lake' Processors, allowing cost and build flexibility in deployment.

The RB13804 is an easy-to-use barebones server solution that pre-integrates a 2-socket Intel Server Board to ensure a flexible, scalable design with mission-critical reliability. Notably, the RB13804 offers tri-mode storage with interchangeable backplane that enables universal drive bays that can switch between SAS, SATA and NVMe storage types, allowing a single server to upgrade according to the growing needs of the business.

Linux Performance of AMD Rome vs Intel Cascade Lake, 1 Year On

Michael Larabel over at Phoronix posted an extremely comprehensive analysis on the performance differential between AMD's Rome-based EPYC and Intel's Cascade Lake Xeons one-year after release. The battery of tests, comprising more than 116 benchmark results, pits a Xeon Platinum 8280 2P system against an EPYC 7742 2P one. The tests were conducted pitting performance of both systems while running benchmarks under the Ubuntu 19.04 release, which was chosen as the "one year ago" baseline, against the newer Linux software stack (Ubuntu 20.10 daily + GCC 10 + Linux 5.8).

The benchmark conclusions are interesting. For one, Intel gained more ground than AMD over the course of the year, with the Xeon platform gaining 6% performance across releases, while AMD's EPYC gained just 4% over the same period of time. This means that AMD's system is still an average of 14% faster across all tests than the Intel platform, however, which speaks to AMD's silicon superiority. Check some benchmark results below, but follow the source link for the full rundown.

Chenbro Unveils 2U 8-Bay Rack Mount Server for Data Center

Chenbro has launched the RB23708, a Level 6, 2U rackmount server barebone designed for mission-critical, storage-focused applications in Data Center and HPC Enterprise. The RB23708 is pre-integrated with an Intel Server Board S2600WFTR that supports up to two 2nd Generation Intel Xeon Scalable "Cascade Lake" Processors.

The RB23708 is an easy-to-use barebones server solution that pre-integrates a 2-socket Intel Server Board to ensure a flexible, scalable design with mission-critical reliability. Notably, it offers Apache Pass, IPMI 2.0 & Redfish compliance, and includes Intel RSTe/Intel VROC options, providing an ideal solution for hosting Video, IMS, SaaS and similar storage-focused applications.

Intel Plays the Pre-Zen AMD Tune: Advocates Focus Shift from "Benchmarks to Benefits"

Intel CEO Bob Swan, in his Virtual Computex YouTube stream, advocated that the industry should focus less on benchmarks, and more on the benefits of technology, a line of thought strongly advocated by rival AMD in its pre-Ryzen era, before the company began getting competitive with Intel again. "We should see this moment as an opportunity to shift our focus as an industry from benchmarks to the benefits and impacts of the technology we create," he said, referring to technology keeping civilization and economies afloat during the COVID-19 global pandemic, which has thrown Computex among practically every other public gathering out of order.

"The pandemic has underscored the need for technology to be purpose-built so it can meet these evolving business and consumer needs. And this requires a customer-obsessed mindset to stay close, anticipate those needs, and develop solutions. In this mindset, the goal is to ensure we are optimizing for a stronger impact that will support and accelerate positive business and societal benefits around the globe," he added. An example of what Swan is trying to say is visible with Intel's 10th generation Core "Cascade Lake XE" and "Ice Lake" processors, which feature AVX-512 and DL-Boost, accelerating deep learning neural nets; but lose to AMD's flagship offerings on the vast majority of benchmarks. Swan also confirmed that the company's "Tiger Lake" processors will launch this Summer.
The Computex video address by CEO Bob Swan can be watched below.

Intel Restarts 14 nm Operations in Costa Rica, Aims to Increase Capacity for Xeon Output

Intel has decided to restart operations in its previously winded-down Costa Rica facilities. An Intel Product Change Notification (PCN) for their Cascade Lake Xeon Scalable processors shows that the company has added Costa Rica to its three other "Test and Finish" sites - the other three are located in Penang (Malaysia), Kulim (Malaysia) and Vietnam. Intel's aim is to guarantee a "continuous supply" of the affected processors - namely, Cascade Lake second-generation Xeon Scalable processors in the Silver, Gold and Platinum lines (in both boxed and tray SKUs).

This move, which will be done in phases. The first implementation of the Costa Rica operations will be effective on April 19th, with the remaining operations to come online on August 3rd. Intel expects to reduce dependency on their other three Test and Finish sites, while being able to bolster final production capacity by some 25% with this move.

ASUS Announces Exclusive Power Balancer Technology and Servers with New 2nd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable

ASUS, the leading IT Company in server systems, server motherboards, workstations and workstation motherboards today announced exclusive Power Balancer technology to support the new 2nd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable Processor (extended Cascade Lake-SP refresh SKUs) across all server product lineups, including the RS720/720Q/700 E9, RS520/500 E9 and ESC8000/4000 G4 series server systems and Z11 server motherboards.

In complex applications, such as high-performance computing (HPC), AI or edge computing, balancing performance and power consumption is always a challenge. With Power Balancer technology and the new 2nd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable Processor, ASUS servers save up to 31 watts power per node on specific workloads and achieve even better efficiency with more servers in large-scale environments, significantly decreasing overall power consumption for a much lower total cost of ownership and optimized operations.

Core i9-10990XE 22-core Processor Last Gasp of the X299 Platform?

Way back in June 2018, when the first Threadrippers made landfall, it was reported that Intel was working on a new 22-core "Skylake-X" silicon that sat in between the 18-core HCC (high core-count) die, and the 28-core XCC (extreme core-count) die. The roughly 700 mm² XCC die, with its 6 memory channels, couldn't be integrated with the LGA2066 package, and was reserved for the enterprise LGA3647 package that made a workstation/quasi-client debut with the 28-core Xeon W-3175X. It was hence rumored that an in-between 22-core silicon was under development that could be integrated with LGA2066. Fast forward to 2020, and Intel's client HEDT processor lineup doesn't look much different from its 2017 one. The 18-core i9-10980XE leads the pack, and despite its $1,000 price, has received largely lukewarm reviews. If screenshots surfacing on Chinese tech forums are to be believed, Intel is toying with the idea of the 22-core die meant for LGA2066 once again.

Referenced as Core i9-10990XE in straight-up CPU-Z screenshots, the processor is based on the "Cascade Lake-X" microarchitecture, and has the same I/O as the i9-10980XE, looking at the instruction sets featured. It has 22 cores and HyperThreading enables 44 threads. Cache hierarchy and balance are characteristic of "Cascade Lake," with 1 MB of dedicated L2 cache per core, and 30.25 MB of shared L3 cache. The I/O is likely identical to the i9-10980XE as that's a function of the platform and the socket. What's more interesting are the clock-speeds. The name-string of the engineering sample references a nominal clock-speed of 4.00 GHz, and in the screenshot, the chip is shown running at 5.00 GHz (at least on one core). There's also a performance benchmark to go with the leak, possibly CineBench R20 nT. Here, the i9-10990XE is shown scoring 14,005 points, which is in the same ballpark as the 24-core Ryzen Threadripper 3960X.

Intel Readying X299 Microcode Update to Enhance "Cascade Lake-X" Overclocking

Intel is readying a microcode update specially for its X299 Express chipset, to enhance the overclocking capabilities of its 10th generation Core i9 XE "Cascade Lake-X" processors. News of the update was put out in an MSI press release that speaks of the company encapsulating the new microcode in BIOS updates for its entire socket LGA2066 motherboard lineup.

"To enhance the overclocking capability for the newly launched Intel Core X-series Processors (Intel Core i9-10980XE, 10940X, 10920X, 10900X), Intel will provide a new microcode update," the statement from MSI reads. Besides "overclocking capability," the new microcode also helps to "maximize the overall performance" of "Cascade Lake-X" processors," says MSI. The company does not describe what specifically these changes are. The microcode update will be released to end-users as BIOS updates by motherboard manufacturers, so be on the lookout for one, if you're using "Cascade Lake-X."

Intel CPUs Since Haswell Vulnerable to "Zombieload v2" Attacks, "Cascade Lake" Included

All Intel CPU microarchitectures since 2013 are vulnerable to a new class of "Zombieload," attacks, chronicled under "Zombieload v2" (CVE-2019-11135). This is the fifth kind of microarchitectural data sampling (MDS) vulnerability, besides the four already disclosed and patched against in Q2-2019. The vulnerability was kept secret by the people who discovered it, as Intel was yet to develop a mitigation against it. There is no silicon-level hardening against it, and Intel has released a firmware-level mitigation that will be distributed by motherboard manufacturers as BIOS updates, or perhaps even OS vendors. While Intel's latest enterprise and HEDT microarchitecture, "Cascade Lake" was thought to be immune to "Zombieload," it's being reported that "Zombieload v2" attacks can still compromise a "Cascade Lake" based server or HEDT that isn't patched.

"Zombieload v2" is an exploitation of the Asynchronous Abort operation of Transactional Synchronization Extensions (TSX), which occurs when malware creates read operation conflicts within the CPU. This reportedly leaks data about what else is being processed. "The main advantage of this approach is that it also works on machines with hardware fixes for Meltdown, which we verified on an i9-9900K and Xeon Gold 5218," reads the latest version of the Zombieload whitepaper that's been updated with "Zombieload v2" information. TSX is a requisite for "Zombieload v2," and all Intel microarchitectures since "Haswell" feature it. AMD processors are inherently immune to "Zombieload v2" as they lack TSX. Intel downplayed the severity or prevalence of "Zombieload v2," but dispatched microcode updates flagged "critical" nevertheless.

Intel Marketing Tries to Link Stability to Turbo Boost

There is no correlation between CPU frequency boosting behavior and system stability. Intel today launched its "10th generation" Core X HEDT processors, with core-counts ranging between 10 to 18, priced between $590 and $978. Based on the 14 nm "Cascade Lake-X" silicon, these chips have the same exact IPC as "Skylake" circa 2015, but offer nearly double the number of cores to the Dollar compared to the 9th generation Core X series; and add a couple of useful instruction sets such as DLBoost, which accelerates DNN training/building; a few more AVX-512 instructions, and an updated Turbo Boost Max 3.0 algorithm. The chips offer clock-speed bumps over the previous generation.

Intel's main trade-call for these processors? Taking another stab at AMD for falling short on boost frequency in the hands of consumers. "The chip that hits frequency benchmarks as promised, our new #CoreX -series processor, provides a stable, high-performance platform for visual creators everywhere," reads the Intel tweet, as if to suggest that reaching the "promised" clock speed results in stability. AMD was confronted with alarming statistics of consumers whose 3rd generation Ryzen processors wouldn't reach their advertised boost frequencies. The company released an updated AGESA microcode that fixed this.

Intel 10th Gen Core X "Cascade Lake" HEDT Processors Launch on October 7

October 7 promises to be an action-packed day, with not just AMD's launch of its Radeon RX 5500 series graphics card, but also Intel's 10th generation Core X "Cascade Lake" HEDT processors in the LGA2066 package. With AMD having achieved near-parity with Intel on IPC, the focus with the 10th generation Core X will be on price-performance, delivering double the number of cores to the Dollar compared to the previous generation. Intel will nearly halve the "Dollars per core" metric of these processors down to roughly $57 per core compared to $103 per core of the 9th generation Core X. This means the 10-core/20-thread model that the series starts with, will be priced under $600.

The first wave of these processors will include the 10-core/20-thread Core i9-10900XE, followed by the 12-core/24-thread i9-10920XE around the $700-mark, the 14-core/28-thread i9-10940XE around the $800-mark, and the range-topping 18-core/28-thread i9-10960XE at $999, nearly half that of the previous-generation i9-9980XE. There is a curious lack of a 16-core model. These chips feature a 44-lane PCI-Express gen 3.0 root complex, a quad-channel DDR4 memory interface supporting up to 256 GB of DDR4-2933 memory (native speed), and compatibility with existing socket LGA2066 motherboards with a BIOS update. The chips also feature an updated AES-512 ISA, the new DLBoost instruction set with a fixed-function hardware that accelerates neural net training by 5 times, and an updated Turbo Boost Max algorithm. Intel will extensively market these chips to creators and PC enthusiasts. October 7 will see a paper-launch, followed by November market-availability.

Intel Cascade Lake-X Core i9-10980XE Put Through Its Paces in GeekBench

Intel's upcoming Extreme Edition Core i9-10980XE from the Cascade Lake-X family. Cascade Lake-X (CSL-X) will be Intel's next take on the High End Desktop (HEDT) systems. The Core i9-10980XE is pegged as the flagship on that lineup, sporting an 18-core, 36-thread design, and are still based on Intel's 14 nm process node. These processors will be pin-compatible with Intel's LGA 2066 platform. Caches are expected to be set at 1.125 MB, 18 MB and 24.75 MB of L1, L2 and L3.

Base clocks set in the Geekbench 4 entry are set at 4.1 GHz, with a maximum boost of 4.7 GHz. That's a lot of frequency on a 14 nm CPU with 18 cores; if previous entries on the Intel HEDT family (such as the i9-9980XE) sported a 165 W TDP with clocks of 3.0 GHz and 4.4 GHz respectively, it seems highly unlikely that Intel will keep the same TDP for the i9-10980XE - and even if they do, power consumption will certainly be higher. Those reported clocks for the i9-10980XE may not be right, however - we don't know the conditions of the test run.

Intel "Cascade Lake-X" HEDT CPU Lineup Starts at 10-core, Core i9-10900X Geekbenched

With its 10th generation Core X "Cascade Lake-X" HEDT processor series, Intel will not bother designing models with single-digit core-counts. The series is likely to start at 10 cores with the Core i9-10900X. This 10-core/20-thread processor features a quad-channel DDR4 memory interface, and comes with clock speeds of 3.70 GHz base, a 200 MHz speed-bump over the Core i9-9900X. The chip retains the mesh interconnect design and cache hierarchy of Intel's HEDT processors since "Skylake-X," with 1 MB of dedicated L2 cache per core, and 19.3 MB of shared L3 cache.

Geekbench tests run on the chip show it to perform roughly on par with the i9-9900X, with the 200 MHz speed-bump expected to marginally improve multi-threaded performance. Where the "Cascade Lake-X" silicon is expected to one-up "Skylake-X" is its support for DLBoost, an on-die fixed function hardware that multiplies matrices, improving AI DNN building and training; and pricing. Intel is expected to price its next-generation HEDT processors aggressively, to nearly double cores-per-Dollar.

Intel "Comet Lake" Not Before 2020, "Ice Lake-S" Not Before Q3-2020, Roadmap Suggests

Earlier this week, news of Intel's 10th generation Core "Comet Lake" processors did rounds as the company's short-term response to AMD's 3rd generation Ryzen processors. According to slides leaked to the web by Hong Kong-based tech publication XFastest, "Comet Lake" isn't Intel's short-term reaction to "Zen 2," but rather all it has left to launch. These processors won't launch before 2020, the slide suggests, meaning that AMD will enjoy a free rein over the processor market until the turn of the year, including the all-important Holday shopping season.

More importantly, the slide suggests that "Comet Lake" will have a market presence spanning Q1 and Q2 2020, meaning that the 10 nm "Ice Lake" won't arrive on the desktop platform until at least Q3 2020. It's likely that the LGA1200 platform which debuts with "Comet Lake" will extend to "Ice Lake," so consumers aren't forced to buy a new motherboard within a span of six months. The platform diagram put out in another slide junks the idea of an on-package MCM of the processor and PCH dies (which was likely ripped off from the "Ice Lake-Y" MCM platform diagram).

Intel Optane Persistent Memory 512GB Module Can be Yours for $7816

Optane Persistent Memory is being touted by Intel as the "hottest" storage medium between DRAM and NVMe SSDs in the short-term, and a successor to DRAM-based memory in the long-term, aided by its ability to hold data even in the absence of power. The company's latest Xeon Scalable "Cascade Lake" processors support Optane Persistent Memory, allowing data-centers to cram larger amounts of data accessible at DRAM-like speeds, even if at much higher latencies. It remains significantly faster than NVMe SSDs. Component retails began listing 512 GB modules of the Optane Persistent Memory, and its prices are nothing like your 512 GB NVMe SSD. CompSource lists the 512 GB module (model: NMA1XXD512GPSU4) for a whopping USD $7,816, although the product is out of stock.

Kingston Server Premier DDR4-2933 RDIMMs Validated on Intel "Cascade Lake"

Kingston Technology Company, Inc., a world leader in memory products and technology solutions, today announced its 32GB, 16GB and 8GB Server Premier DDR4-2933 Registered DIMMs have received validation on the Intel Purley Platform, featuring the Intel Xeon Scalable processor family (formerly known as "Cascade Lake-SP"). A link to the validation page can be found here.

Kingston's Purley-validated Server Premier modules are specifically engineered to unleash the power of Intel's six-channel server microarchitecture. At 2933MT/s - the next-generation memory frequency supported in the latest Intel Xeon Scalable processor family - each DIMM provides peak bandwidth of 23.46 GB/s. When grouped for multi-channel performance, this provides a significant boost in performance for today's memory intensive server applications.

Intel Unleashes 56-core Xeon "Cascade Lake" Processor to Preempt 64-core EPYC

Intel late Tuesday made a boat-load of enterprise-relevant product announcements, including the all important update to its Xeon Scalable enterprise processor product-stack, with the addition of the new 56-core Xeon Scalable "Cascade Lake" processor. This chip is believed to be Intel's first response to the upcoming AMD 7 nm EPYC "Rome" processor with 64 cores and a monolithic memory interface. The 56-core "Cascade Lake" is a multi-chip module (MCM) of two 28-core dies, each with a 6-channel DDR4 memory interface, totaling 12-channel for the package. Each of the two 28-core dies are built on the existing 14 nm++ silicon fabrication process, and the IPC of each of the 56 cores are largely unchanged since "Skylake." Intel however, has added several HPC and AI-relevant instruction-sets.

To begin with, Intel introduced DL Boost, which could be a fixed-function hardware matrix multiplier that accelerates building and training of AI deep-learning neural networks. Next up, are hardware mitigation against several speculative execution CPU security vulnerabilities that haunted the computing world since early-2018, including certain variants of "Spectre" and "Meltdown." A hardware fix presents lesser performance impact compared to a software fix in the form of a firmware patch. Intel has added support for Optane Persistent Memory, which is the company's grand vision for what succeeds volatile primary memory such as DRAM. Currently slower than DRAM but faster than SSDs, Optane Persistent Memory is non-volatile, and its contents can be made to survive power-outages. This allows sysadmins to power-down entire servers to scale down with workloads, without worrying about long wait times to restore uptime when waking up those servers. Among the CPU instruction-sets added include AVX-512 and AES-NI.

Intel to Refresh its LGA2066 HEDT Platform This Summer?

Intel is rumored to refresh its high-end desktop (HEDT) platforms this Summer with new products based on the "Cascade Lake" microarchitecture. Intel now has two HEDT platforms, LGA2066 and LGA3647. The new "Cascade Lake-X" silicon will target the LGA2066 platform, and could see the light of the day by June, on the sidelines of Computex 2019. A higher core-count model with 6-channel memory, will be launched for the LGA3647 socket as early as April. So if you've very recently fronted $3,000 on a Xeon W-3175X, here's a bucket of remorse. Both chips will be built on existing 14 nm process, and will bring innovations such as Optane Persistent Memory support, Intel Deep Learning Boost (DLBOOST) extensions with VNNI instruction-set, and hardware mitigation against more variants of "Meltdown" and "Spectre."

Elsewhere in the industry, and sticking with Intel, we've known since November 2018 of the existence of "Comet Lake," which is a 10-core silicon for the LGA1151 platform, and which is yet another "Skylake" derivative built on existing 14 nm process. This chip is real, and will be Intel's last line of defense against AMD's first 7 nm "Zen 2" socket AM4 processors, with core-counts of 12-16.

Intel Reports Fourth-Quarter and Full-Year 2018 Financial Results

Intel Corporation today reported fourth-quarter and full-year 2018 financial results. The company also announced that its board of directors has approved a five percent increase in its cash dividend to $1.26 per-share on an annual basis. The board declared a quarterly dividend of $0.315 per-share on the company's common stock, which will be payable on March 1 to shareholders of record on February 7.

"2018 was a truly remarkable year for Intel with record revenue in every business segment and record profits as we transform the company to pursue our biggest market opportunity ever," said Bob Swan, Intel CFO and Interim CEO. "In the fourth quarter, we grew revenue, expanded earnings and previewed new 10nm-based products that position Intel to compete and win going forward. Looking ahead, we are forecasting another record year and raising the dividend based on our view that the explosive growth of data will drive continued demand for Intel products."

AMD 7nm EPYC "Rome" CPUs in Upcoming Finnish Supercomputer, 200,000 Cores Total

During the next year and a half, the Finnish IT Center for Science (CSC) will be purchasing a new supercomputer in two phases. The first phase consists of Atos' air-cooled BullSequana X400 cluster which makes use of Intel's Cascade Lake Xeon processors along with Mellanox HDR InfiniBand for a theoretical performance of 2 petaflops. Meanwhile, system memory per node will range from 96 GB up to 1.5 TB with the entire system receiving a 4.9 PB Lustre parallel file system as well from DDN. Furthermore, a separate partition of phase one will be used for AI research and will feature 320 NVIDIA V100 NVLinked GPUs configured in 4-GPU nodes. It is expected that peak performance will reach 2.5 petaflops. Phase one will be brought online at some point in the summer of 2019.

Where things get interesting is in phase two, which is set for completion during the spring of 2020. Atos' will be building CSC a liquid-cooled HDR-connected BullSequana XH2000 supercomputer that will be configured with 200,000 AMD EPYC "Rome" CPU cores which for the mathematicians out there works out to 3,125 64 core AMD EPYC processors. Of course, all that x86 muscle will require a great deal of system memory, as such, each node will be equipped with 256 GB for good measure. Storage will consist of an 8 PB Lustre parallel file system that is to be provided by DDN. Overall phase two will increase computing capacity by 6.4 petaflops (peak). With deals like this already being signed it would appear AMD's next-generation EPYC processors are shaping up nicely considering Intel had this market cornered for nearly a decade.

Intel Could Upstage EPYC "Rome" Launch with "Cascade Lake" Before Year-end

Intel is reportedly working tirelessly to launch its "Cascade Lake" Xeon Scalable 48-core enterprise processor before year-end, according to a launch window timeline slide leaked by datacenter hardware provider QCT. The slide suggests a late-Q4 thru Q1-2019 launch timeline for the XCC (extreme core count) version of "Cascade Lake," which packs 48 CPU cores across two dies on an MCM. This launch is part of QCT's "early shipment program," which means select enterprise customers can obtain the hardware in pre-approved quantities. In other words, this is a limited launch, but one that's probably enough to upstage AMD's 7 nm EPYC "Rome" 64-core processor launch.

It's only by late-Q1 thru Q2-2019 that the Xeon "Cascade Lake" family would be substantially launched, including lower core-count variants that are still 2-die MCMs. This aligns to preempt or match AMD's 7 nm EPYC family rollout through 2019. "Cascade Lake" is probably Intel's final enterprise microarchitecture to be built on the 14 nm++ node, and consists of 2-die multi-chip modules that feature 48 cores, and a 12-channel memory interface (6-channel per die); with 88-lane PCIe from the CPU socket. The processor is capable of multi-socket configurations. It will also be Intel's launch platform for substantially launching its Optane Persistent Memory product series.
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