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Intel Xeon "Sapphire Rapids" Memory Detailed, Resembles AMD 1st Gen EPYC: Decentralized 8-Channel DDR5

Intel's upcoming Xeon "Sapphire Rapids" processor features a memory interface topology that closely resembles that of first-generation AMD EPYC "Rome," thanks to the multi-chip module design of the processor. Back in 2017, Intel's competing "Skylake-SP" Xeon processors were based on monolithic dies. Despite being spread across multiple memory controller tiles, the 6-channel DDR4 memory interface was depicted by Intel as an advantage over EPYC "Rome." AMD's first "Zen" based enterprise processor was a multi-chip module of four 14 nm, 8-core "Zeppelin" dies, each with a 2-channel DDR4 memory interface that added up to the processor's 8-channel I/O. Much like "Sapphire Rapids," a CPU core from any of the four dies had access to memory and I/O controlled by any other die, as the four were networked over the Infinity Fabric interconnect in a configuration that essentially resembled "4P on a stick."

With "Sapphire Rapids," Intel is taking a largely similar approach—it has four compute tiles (dies) instead of a monolithic die, which Intel says helps with scalability in both directions; and each of the four compute tiles has a 2-channel DDR5 or 1024-bit HBM memory interface, which add up to the processor's 8-channel DDR5 total I/O. Intel says that CPU cores from each tile has equal access to memory, last-level cache, and I/O controlled by another die. Inter-tile communication is handled by EMIB physical media (55 micron bump-pitch wiring). UPI 2.0 makes up the inter-socket interconnect. Each of the four compute tiles has 24 UPI 2.0 links that operate at 16 GT/s. Intel didn't detail how memory is presented to the operating system, or the NUMA hierarchy, however much of Intel's engineering effort appears to be focused on making this disjointed memory I/O work as if "Sapphire Rapids" were a monolithic die. The company claims "consistent low-latency, high cross-sectional bandwidth across the SoC."

Intel Expects New US Fab Investment to Cost $60 to $120 billion

In an interview with the Washington Post, Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger shared some details on the company's plans to expand its foundry operations in the US. As part of the company's IDM 2.0 plan, the company aims to construct a new cutting edge fabrication complex that will cover both wafer manufacturing and advanced packaging technologies. While the final factory location still hasn't been disclosed, the company said it plans to build the complex in close proximity to universities - a way to facilitate the hiring process of qualified personnel and, perhaps, of establishing joint research and development. Intel expects this foundry complex to cost between $60 and $120 billion.
Intel CEO Pat GelsingerWe are looking broadly across the U.S.. This would be a very large site, so six to eight fab modules, and at each of those fab modules, between 10- and $15 billion. It's a project over the next decade on the order of $100 billion of capital, 10,000 direct jobs. 100,000 jobs are created as a result of those 10,000, by our experience. So, essentially, we want to build a little city."

Intel Accelerates Packaging and Process Innovations

Intel Corporation today revealed one of the most detailed process and packaging technology roadmaps the company has ever provided, showcasing a series of foundational innovations that will power products through 2025 and beyond. In addition to announcing RibbonFET, its first new transistor architecture in more than a decade, and PowerVia, an industry-first new backside power delivery method, the company highlighted its planned swift adoption of next-generation extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUV), referred to as High Numerical Aperture (High NA) EUV. Intel is positioned to receive the first High NA EUV production tool in the industry.

"Building on Intel's unquestioned leadership in advanced packaging, we are accelerating our innovation roadmap to ensure we are on a clear path to process performance leadership by 2025," Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger said during the global "Intel Accelerated" webcast. "We are leveraging our unparalleled pipeline of innovation to deliver technology advances from the transistor up to the system level. Until the periodic table is exhausted, we will be relentless in our pursuit of Moore's Law and our path to innovate with the magic of silicon."

Intel Ponte Vecchio GPU to Be Liquid Cooled Inside OAM Form Factor

Intel's upcoming Ponte Vecchio graphics card is set to be the company's most powerful processor ever designed, and the chip is indeed looking like an engineering marvel. From Intel's previous teasers, we have learned that Ponte Vecchio is built using 47 "magical tiles" or 47 dies which are responsible either for computing elements, Rambo Cache, Xe links, or something else. Today, we are getting a new piece of information coming from Igor's LAB, regarding the Ponte Vecchio and some of its design choices. For starters, the GPU will be a heterogeneous design that consists out of many different nodes. Some parts of the GPU will be manufactured on Intel's 10 nm SuperFin and 7 nm technologies, while others will use TSMC's 7 nm and 5 nm nodes. The smaller and more efficient nodes will probably be used for computing elements. Everything will be held together by Intel's EMIB and Foveros 3D packaging.

Next up, we have information that this massive Intel processor will be accountable for around 600 Watts of heat output, which is a lot to cool. That is why in the leaked renders, we see that Intel envisioned these processors to be liquid-cooled, which would make the cooling much easier and much more efficient compared to air cooling of such a high heat output. Another interesting thing is that the Ponte Vecchio is designed to fit inside OAM (OCP Accelerator Module) form factor, an alternative to the regular PCIe-based accelerators in data centers. OAM is used primarily by hyper scalers like Facebook, Amazon, Google, etc., so we imagine that Intel already knows its customers before the product even hits the market.

Intel "Meteor Lake" a "Breakthrough Client Processor" Leveraging Foveros Packaging

Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger made the first official reference to the company's future-generation client processor, codenamed "Meteor Lake." Slated for market release in 2023, the processor's compute tile will be taped out in Q2-2021. Launching alongside the "Granite Rapids" enterprise processor, "Meteor Lake" will be a multi-chip module leveraging Intel's Foveros chip packaging technology.

Different components of the processor will be fabricated on different kinds of silicon fabrication nodes, and interconnected on the package using EMIB inter-die connections, or even silicon interposers. The compute tile is likely the tile containing the processor's CPU cores, and Intel confirmed a 7 nm-class foundry node for it. "Meteor Lake" will be a hybrid processor, much like the upcoming "Alder Lake," meaning that it will have two kinds of CPU cores, larger "high performance" cores that remain dormant when the machine is idling or dealing with lightweight workloads; and smaller "high efficiency" cores based on a low-power microarchitecture.

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.

Another Nail on Intel Kaby Lake-G Coffin as AMD Pulls Graphics Driver Support

Kaby Lake-G was the result of one of the strangest collaborations in the industry - though that may not be a just way of looking at it. It made total sense at the time - a product that combined the world's best CPU design with one of the foremost graphics architectures seems a recipe for success. However, the Intel-AMD collaboration was an unexpected one, as these two rivals were never expected to look eye to eye in any sort of meaningful way. Kaby Lake-G was revolutionary in how it combined both AMD and Intel IP in an EMIB-capable design, but it wasn't one built to last.

Now, after Intel has announced a stop to product manufacturing and order capacity, it's come the time for AMD to pull driver support. The company's latest Windows 10 version 2004 update-compatible drivers don't install on Kaby Lake-G powered systems, citing an unsupported hardware configuration. Tom's Hardware contacted Intel, who said they're working with AMD to bring back "Radeon graphics driver support to Intel NUC 8 Extreme Mini PCs (previously codenamed "Hades Canyon")." AMD, however, still hasn't commented on the story.

Intel Takes Big Strides in Chip Packaging Tech

Intel's silicon fabrication technological edge over TSMC and Samsung may have buckled, but the company appears to have made big advances in chip packaging. We've known for some time about EMIB (embedded multi-die interconnect bridge), Intel's cost-effective alternative to using full-fledged interposers; and Foveros heterogenous multi-die packaging; but the company has apparently invented more forms of 3-D chip stacking, as detailed by a WikiChip Fuse report. By leveraging ODI (omni-directional interconnect), an evolutionary next-step to EMIB and Foveros, Intel is able to stack multiple chips above the fiberglass substrate, above each other; and inside indentations and cavities of the substrate.

ODI consists of EMIB-like silicon dies that enable high-density wiring between two dies (think a GPU and its memory stack, or an SoC and core-logic); and copper poles that serve as extensions of the bumps of silicon dies getting to the substrate. There are two types of ODI. Type-1 refers to an interconnect running between two top dies, with the ODI die sitting between them and the substrate at the point of the inter-die connection region; while copper poles compensate for the Z-height difference. In scenarios without copper poles, chip designers can opt for substrates with cavities (regions with fewer layers), where the ODI die can be slotted in. In type-2 ODI, the interconnect die sits completely under a top die, providing high-density wiring either between two regions of the same die, or between two dies. The two types can be mixed and matched to achieve extremely complex MCMs.

Intel Planning 14nm "Ozark Lake" 16-core Processor for Spring 2021

TechPowerUp has learned that Intel is planning to bring 16 cores onto the mainstream desktop platform by Spring 2021 by implementing a similar chip-design philosophy as AMD: MCMs. The new "Ozark Lake" processor will pack up to 16 cores and 32 threads by decoupling the "core" and "uncore" components of a typical Intel mainstream processor.

Intel will leverage the additional fiberglass substrate floor-space yielded from the new LGA1700 package to create a multi-chip module that has two [kinds of] dies, the "core complex" and the "uncore complex." The core complex is a 14 nm die purely composed of CPU cores and an EMIB interconnect. There will be as many as 16 "Skylake" cores in a conventional ringbus layout, and conventional cache hierarchy (256 KB L2$ and up to 2 MB/core L3$). The lack of uncore components and exclusive clock and voltage domains will allow the CPU cores to attain Thermal Velocity Boost Pro speeds of up to 6.00 GHz, if not more.

Intel Announces New GPU Architecture and oneAPI for Unified Software Stack at SC19

At Supercomputing 2019, Intel unveiled its vision for extending its leadership in the convergence of high-performance computing (HPC) and artificial intelligence (AI) with new additions to its data-centric silicon portfolio and an ambitious new software initiative that represents a paradigm shift from today's single-architecture, single-vendor programming models.

Addressing the increasing use of heterogeneous architectures in high-performance computing, Intel expanded on its existing technology portfolio to move, store and process data more effectively by announcing a new category of discrete general-purpose GPUs optimized for AI and HPC convergence. Intel also launched the oneAPI industry initiative to deliver a unified and simplified programming model for application development across heterogenous processing architectures, including CPUs, GPUs, FPGAs and other accelerators. The launch of oneAPI represents millions of Intel engineering hours in software development and marks a game-changing evolution from today's limiting, proprietary programming approaches to an open standards-based model for cross-architecture developer engagement and innovation.

Intel Unveils World's Largest FPGA

Intel has today announced the Stratix 10 GX 10M - a Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) built on 14 nm technology that has an astonishing 43.3 Billion transistors, making it the largest FPGA in the world, dethroning the Xilinx with their previously largest Virtex VU19P FPGA which had a "mere" 35 Billion transistors. The Stratix 10 GX 10M is a home to over 10.2 million logic cells housed inside two large dies, connected by Intel's own Embedded Multi-die Interconnect Bridge (EMIB).

The 10M model is packing four additional dies besides the two for logic, also connected by EMIB, that feature 48 transceivers in total which have a combined bandwidth of up to 4.5Tb/s. If you are wondering about the bandwidth between all dies, then judging by EMIB's 25,920 connections, there is 6.5 Tb/s of inner-die bandwidth, meaning that components will not be starving for additional speeds to transfer the data. Additionally there are 2,304 user I/O pins, allowing for some creative integration solutions that involve plenty of ports for development purposes.

Intel Ships First 10nm Agilex FPGAs

Intel today announced that it has begun shipments of the first Intel Agilex field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) to early access program customers. Participants in the early access program include Colorado Engineering Inc., Mantaro Networks, Microsoft and Silicom. These customers are using Agilex FPGAs to develop advanced solutions for networking, 5G and accelerated data analytics.

"The Intel Agilex FPGA product family leverages the breadth of Intel innovation and technology leadership, including architecture, packaging, process technology, developer tools and a fast path to power reduction with eASIC technology. These unmatched assets enable new levels of heterogeneous computing, system integration and processor connectivity and will be the first 10nm FPGA to provide cache-coherent and low latency connectivity to Intel Xeon processors with the upcoming Compute Express Link," said Dan McNamara, Intel senior vice president and general manager of the Networking and Custom Logic Group.

Intel Unveils New Tools in Its Advanced Chip Packaging Toolbox

What's New: This week at SEMICON West in San Francisco, Intel engineering leaders provided an update on Intel's advanced packaging capabilities and unveiled new building blocks, including innovative uses of EMIB and Foveros together and a new Omni-Directional Interconnect (ODI) technology. When combined with Intel's world-class process technologies, new packaging capabilities will unlock customer innovations and deliver the computing systems of tomorrow.

"Our vision is to develop leadership technology to connect chips and chiplets in a package to match the functionality of a monolithic system-on-chip. A heterogeneous approach gives our chip architects unprecedented flexibility to mix and match IP blocks and process technologies with various memory and I/O elements in new device form factors. Intel's vertically integrated structure provides an advantage in the era of heterogeneous integration, giving us an unmatched ability to co-optimize architecture, process and packaging to deliver leadership products." -Babak Sabi, Intel corporate vice president, Assembly and Test Technology Development.

Intel Switches Gears to 7nm Post 10nm, First Node Live in 2021

Intel's semiconductor manufacturing business has had a terrible past 5 years as it struggled to execute its 10 nanometer roadmap forcing the company's processor designers to re-hash the "Skylake" microarchitecture for 5 generations of Core processors, including the upcoming "Comet Lake." Its truly next-generation microarchitecture, codenamed "Ice Lake," which features a new CPU core design called "Sunny Cove," comes out toward the end of 2019, with desktop rollouts expected 2020. It turns out that the 10 nm process it's designed for, will have a rather short reign at Intel's fabs. Speaking at an investor's summit on Wednesday, Intel put out its silicon fabrication roadmap that sees an accelerated roll-out of Intel's own 7 nm process.

When it goes live and fit for mass production some time in 2021, Intel's 7 nm process will be a staggering 3 years behind TSMC, which fired up its 7 nm node in 2018. AMD is already mass-producing CPUs and GPUs on this node. Unlike TSMC, Intel will implement EUV (extreme ultraviolet) lithography straightaway. TSMC began 7 nm with DUV (deep ultraviolet) in 2018, and its EUV node went live in March. Samsung's 7 nm EUV node went up last October. Intel's roadmap doesn't show a leap from its current 10 nm node to 7 nm EUV, though. Intel will refine the 10 nm node to squeeze out energy-efficiency, with a refreshed 10 nm+ node that goes live some time in 2020.

NVIDIA to Launch Efficiency-Oriented GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q, Aims at Intel EMIB

NVIDIA through the changelog of one of its Linux driver releases may have spilled the beans in an as of yet unannounced, unreleased product. The company's Max-Q variants of their graphics cards typically trade performance for power efficiency, sitting the designs somewhat more optimally in the power/performance ratio curve. The fact that NVIDIA is looking to bolster efficiency of its GTX 1050 with a Max-Q design is likely aimed at competing with the performance level of the already announced Intel + AMD EMIB design, where an Intel discrete CPU is paired with a discrete, Vega-based AMD GPU and its accompanying HBM2 memory stacks, in a small, extremely power efficient package (when compared with current designs.)

The folks at Notebookcheck expect the 1050 Max-Q to perform about 10 to 15 percent slower than the standard 1050 and 1050 Ti, respectively, with TDP likely ranging between 34 W to 46 W - NVIDIA is aiming at the same market that the >AMD + Intel EMIB collaboration is going after (thin, light, adequate performance solutions.)

Intel's 10 nm Technology Bound for FPGAs First; Wafer Showcased

Intel is undoubtedly at the forefront of silicon processing technology these days, and has been for a long time. Being a fully integrated company from the bottom up, through the design and actual production of its silicon semiconductors, really does have a way of either paying of tremendously (as has been the case with Intel), or not at all (as was the case with AMD). That fabrication processes' nm ratings don't mean much in thhe industry right now has been the case for a while now; different companies use different calculations towards achieving a 22 nm or 14 nm claim, with some components in the same nm process having almost double the size of the same components in a competitor's equivalent. Intel has always been one of the more adamant defenders of an industry-wide categorization, both to avoid confusion and - naturally - put into perspective their process leadership.
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