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Intel Puts Out Additional "Cascade Lake" Performance Numbers

Intel late last week put out additional real-world HPC and AI compute performance numbers of its upcoming "Cascade Lake" 2x 48-core (96 cores in total) machine, compared to AMD's EPYC 7601 2x 32-core (64 cores in total) machine. You'll recall that on November 5th, the company put out Linpack, System Triad, and Deep Learning Inference numbers, which are all synthetic benchmarks. In a new set of slides, the company revealed a few real-world HPC/AI application performance numbers, including MIMD Lattice Computation (MILC), Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF), OpenFOAM, NAMD scalable molecular dynamics, and YaSK.

The Intel 96-core setup with 12-channel memory interface belts out up to 1.5X performance in MILC, up to 1.6X in WRF and OpenFOAM, up to 2.1X in NAMD, and up to 3.1X in YASK, compared to an AMD EPYC 7601 2P machine. The company also put out system configuration and disclaimer slides with the usual forward-looking CYA. "Cascake Lake" will be Intel's main competitor to AMD's EPYC "Rome" 64-core 4P-capable processor that comes out by the end of 2018. Intel's product is a multi-chip module of two 24~28 core dies, with a 2x 6-channel DDR4 memory interface.

Intel Announces Cascade Lake Advanced Performance and Xeon E-2100

Intel today announced two new members of its Intel Xeon processor portfolio: Cascade Lake advanced performance (expected to be released the first half of 2019) and the Intel Xeon E-2100 processor for entry-level servers (general availability today). These two new product families build upon Intel's foundation of 20 years of Intel Xeon platform leadership and give customers even more flexibility to pick the right solution for their needs.

"We remain highly focused on delivering a wide range of workload-optimized solutions that best meet our customers' system requirements. The addition of Cascade Lake advanced performance CPUs and Xeon E-2100 processors to our Intel Xeon processor lineup once again demonstrates our commitment to delivering performance-optimized solutions to a wide range of customers," said Lisa Spelman, Intel vice president and general manager of Intel Xeon products and data center marketing.

Intel Explains Key Difference Between "Coffee Lake" and "Whiskey Lake"

Intel "Whiskey Lake" CPU microarchitecture recently made its debut with "Whiskey Lake-U," an SoC designed for Ultrabooks and 2-in-1 laptops. Since it's the 4th refinement of Intel's 2015 "Skylake" architecture, we wondered what set a "Whiskey Lake" core apart from "Coffee Lake." Silicon fabrication node seemed like the first place to start, with rumors of a "14 nm+++" node for this architecture, which should help it feed up to 8 cores better in a compact LGA115x MSDT environment. Turns out, the process hasn't changed, and that "Whiskey Lake" is being built on the same 14 nm++ node as "Coffee Lake."

In a statement to AnandTech, Intel explained that the key difference between "Whiskey Lake" and "Coffee Lake" is silicon-level hardening against "Meltdown" variants 3 and 5. This isn't just a software-level mitigation part of the microcode, but a hardware fix that reduces the performance impact of the mitigation, compared to a software fix implemented via patched microcode. "Cascade Lake" will pack the most important hardware-level fixes, including "Spectre" variant 2 (aka branch target injection). Software-level fixes reduce performance by 3-10 percent, but a hardware-level fix is expected to impact performance "a lot less."

Intel "Cooper Lake" Latest 14nm Stopgap Between "Cascade Lake" and "Ice Lake"

With no end to its 10 nm transition woes in sight (at least not until late-2019), Intel is left with refinement of its existing CPU micro-architectures on the 14 nanometer node. The client-desktop segment sees the introduction of the "Whiskey Lake" (aka Coffee Lake Refresh) later this year; while the enterprise segment gets the 14 nm "Cascade Lake." To its credit, Cascade Lake introduces a few major platform innovations, such as support for Optane Persistent Memory, silicon-level hardening against recent security vulnerabilities, and Deep Learning Boost, which is hardware-accelerated neural net building/training, and the introduction of VNNI (Variable Length Neural Network Instructions). "Cascade Lake" makes its debut towards the end of 2018. It will be succeeded in 2019 by Ice Lake the new "Cooper Lake" architecture.

"Cooper Lake" is a refresh of "Cascade Lake," and a stopgap in Intel's saga of getting 10 nm right, so it could build "Ice Lake" on it. It will be built on the final (hopefully) iteration of the 14 nm node. It will share its platform with "Cascade Lake," and so Optane Persistent Memory support carriers over. What's changed is the Deep Learning Boost feature-set, which will be augmented with a few new instructions, including BFLOAT16 (a possible half-precision floating point instruction). Intel could also be presented with the opportunity to crank up clock speeds across the board.

Intel "Cascade Lake" Xeon Scalable Chips to Support 3.84 TB of RAM per Socket

Intel is giving finishing touches to a new wave of Xeon Scalable processors based on its new "Cascade Lake" silicon. One of its first parts is a 28-core chip with a 6-channel DDR4 memory interface, support for 3 DIMMs per channel, resulting in 18 DIMM slots per socket. Its integrated memory controllers support a theoretical maximum of 3.84 TB of memory. The best part? The memory needn't be DRAM-based.

With its next-generation of enterprise processors, Intel is introducing support for Optane Persistent Memory. This 3D X-point based memory module has a performance footprint between NAND flash SSDs and volatile DRAM; while being close enough to the latter to work as primary memory. Its USP is persistence - the ability to not lose data after power loss or reboot; allowing large data centers to quickly power down/up nodes in response to load, without wasting several dozen minutes in repopulating DRAM with data from a hibernation image. Optane Persistent DIMMs come in capacities of up to 512 GB. This is simply 512 GB of 3D X-point memory wired to a special on-DIMM controller that interfaces with standardized DDR4 interface.

Intel Prepares Cascade Lake Architecture to Rival AMD's EPYC Offering

An anonymous user from VideoCardz shared two PowerPoint slides from an Intel 'Saudi Conference' containing information on Intel's upcoming Cascade Lake server architecture. Cascade Lake will support processors with up to 28 cores, which seems pretty weak considering that AMD's second-generation EPYC processors are rumored to be packing 64 cores. However, AMD only offers dual socket support for EPYC processors which means that a system can house up to 128 physical cores at best. Intel, on the other hand, will not only be offering dual and quad, but also octa-socket support with Cascade Lake to bring the maximum physical core count to 224 for a single system. On another note, Cascade Lake will also support up to six channels of DDR4 memory and 48 PCIe lanes per processor.

Intel's Ice Lake Xeon Processor Details Leaked: LGA 4189, 8-Channel Memory

The Power Stamp Alliance (PSA) has posted some details on Intel's upcoming high-performance, 10 nm architecture. Code-named Ice Lake, the Xeon parts of this design will apparently usher in yet another new socket (socket LGA 4189, compared to the socket LGA 3647 solution for Kaby lake and upcoming Cascade Lake designs). TDP is being shown as increased with Intel's Ice Lake designs, with an "up to" 230 W TDp - more than the Skylake or Cascade Lake-based platforms, which just screams at higher core counts (and other features such as OmniPath or on-package FPGAs).

Digging a little deeper into the documentation released by the PSA shows Intel's Ice Lake natively supporting 8-channel memory as well, which makes sense, considering the growing needs in both available memory capacity, and actual throughput, that just keeps rising. More than an interesting, unexpected development, it's a sign of the times.

Latest Intel Roadmap Slide Leaked, Next Core X is "Cascade Lake-X"

The latest version of Intel's desktop client-platform roadmap has been leaked to the web, which reveals timelines and names of the company's upcoming product lines. To begin with, it states that Intel will upgrade its Core X high-end desktop (HEDT) product line only in Q4-2018. The new Core X HEDT processors will be based on the "Cascade Lake-X" silicon. This is the first appearance of the "Cascade Lake" micro-architecture. Intel is probably looking to differentiate its Ringbus-based multi-core processors (eg: "Coffee Lake," "Kaby Lake") from ones that use Mesh Interconnect (eg: "Skylake-X"), so people don't compare the single-threaded / less-parallized application performance between the two blindly.

Next up, Intel is poised to launch its second wave of 6-core, 4-core, and 2-core "Coffee Lake" processors in Q1-2018, with no mentions of an 8-core mainstream-desktop processor joining the lineup any time in 2018. These processors will be accompanied by more 300-series chipsets, namely the H370 Express, B360 Express, and H310 Express. Q1-2018 also sees Intel update its low-power processor lineup, with the introduction of the new "Gemini Lake" silicon, with 4-core and 2-core SoCs under the Pentium Silver and Celeron brands.
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