Intel introduces Promising Insights into Granite Rapids and Sierra Forest Xeons at Hot Chips 2023


August 29, 2023

Intel introduces Promising Insights into Granite Rapids and Sierra Forest Xeons at Hot Chips 2023

Summary:

  • Intel's 6th generation Xeon Scalable platform will have self-booting capabilities, eliminating the need for an external chipset or FPGA.
  • The platform supports PCIe 5.0 and the newer CXL 2.0 standard for I/O.
  • Intel is confident that Granite Rapids and Sierra Forest will mark an important turning point for its data center offerings.


At the annual Hot Chips conference, Intel has launched details about its upcoming Xeon processors, Granite Rapids and Sierra Forest, set to launch in 2024. These chips are expected to be a significant update to Intel’s Xeon Scalable hardware ecosystem, introducing area-efficient E-Cores to the server platform. Sierra Forest, in particular, is Intel’s first E-core Xeon Scalable chip for data center use and will be built on the EUV-based Intel 3 process node. Granite Rapids will follow shortly after on the same process node.

One of the key features of the 6th generation Xeon Scalable platform is that both Granite Rapids and Sierra Forest will share the same platform, including the same socket, memory, chiplet-based design philosophy, and firmware. While there are differences between the two chips, such as AVX-512 support, Intel aims to make them as interchangeable as possible.

Both Granite Rapids and Sierra Forest are chiplet-based designs, utilizing a mix of compute and I/O chiplets connected through Intel’s active EMIB bridge technology. This allows for a more efficient manufacturing process and enables the chips to share a common I/O chiplet. Additionally, the 6th gen Xeon Scalable platform will have self-booting capabilities, eliminating the need for an external chipset or FPGA.

In terms of performance, the 6th gen Xeon Scalable platform will support up to 12 memory channels and offer increased memory bandwidth compared to current Sapphire Rapids Xeons. The platform also supports PCIe 5.0 and the newer CXL 2.0 standard for I/O.

On the architecture side, Sierra Forest features Crestmont E-cores optimized for data center workloads. These cores offer a 6-wide instruction decode pathway and an 8-wide retirement backend. They can be packaged into 2 or 4 core clusters, providing flexibility in terms of L2 cache allocation and chip performance.

Granite Rapids, on the other hand, features Redwood Cove P-Cores, which have a 64KB I-cache and improved floating-point multiplication latency. The microarchitecture also focuses on branch prediction and prefetching optimizations.

Intel believes that the combination of high-performance P-cores and efficient E-cores, along with a shared platform, will address the diverse needs of the market. While specific SKUs and core counts have not been disclosed, Intel has confirmed that core counts will increase compared to previous generations. Sierra Forest will be available in smaller core counts as well, reflecting the performance capabilities of the P and E cores.

Overall, Intel is confident that Granite Rapids and Sierra Forest will mark an important turning point for its data center offerings, as the company aims to regain its dominance in the market. With these upcoming Xeon processors, Intel is focused on delivering improved performance, scalability, and efficiency to meet the evolving needs of data centers.

Background Information


About Intel: Intel Corporation, a global technology leader, is for its semiconductor innovations that power computing and communication devices worldwide. As a pioneer in microprocessor technology, Intel has left an indelible mark on the evolution of computing with its processors that drive everything from PCs to data centers and beyond. With a history of advancements, Intel's relentless pursuit of innovation continues to shape the digital landscape, offering solutions that empower businesses and individuals to achieve new levels of productivity and connectivity.

Intel Website: https://www.intel.com/
Intel LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/intel-corporation/

About Sapphire Technology: Sapphire is a well-established company in the VGA industry, known for its consistent performance and quality graphics products. Founded in 2001, the company has built a reputation for producing reliable graphics cards and components. Headquartered in Hong Kong, Sapphire has a global presence and has been a reliable player in the market for over two decades.

Sapphire Technology Website: https://www.sapphiretech.com/

Technology Explained


chiplets: Chiplets are a new type of technology that is revolutionizing the computer industry. They are small, modular components that can be used to build a variety of computer systems. Chiplets are designed to be highly efficient and cost-effective, allowing for the creation of powerful and complex systems without the need for large, expensive components. They are also highly customizable, allowing for the creation of systems tailored to specific needs. Chiplets are being used in a variety of applications, from high-end gaming PCs to embedded systems and even supercomputers. They are also being used to create powerful AI systems, allowing for the development of more advanced and intelligent machines. Chiplets are revolutionizing the computer industry, allowing for the creation of powerful and efficient systems at a fraction of the cost.


E-Cores: E-Cores (Efficiency Cores) are a type of technology used in the computer industry to provide a more efficient and reliable way of powering and cooling computer components. They are made up of a combination of copper and aluminum, and are designed to be more efficient than traditional copper cores. E-Cores are used in a variety of applications, such as in CPUs, GPUs, and other computer components. They are also used in servers, laptops, and other electronic devices. The technology is designed to reduce heat and power consumption, while also providing a more reliable and efficient way of powering and cooling computer components.


EUV: Extreme Ultraviolet Lithography (EUV or EUVL) is an advanced semiconductor manufacturing technique that employs extremely short wavelengths of light in the extreme ultraviolet spectrum to create intricate patterns on silicon wafers. Utilizing a wavelength around 13.5 nanometers, significantly shorter than traditional lithography methods, EUVL enables the production of smaller and more densely packed integrated circuits, enhancing the performance and efficiency of modern microprocessors and memory chips.


P-Cores: P-Cores (Performance Cores) are a type of processor technology developed by Intel that is designed to improve the performance of computer systems. This technology is based on the concept of multi-core processors, which are processors that contain multiple cores or processing units. P-Cores are designed to increase the speed and efficiency of computer systems by allowing multiple cores to work together in parallel. This technology is used in a variety of applications, including gaming, video editing, and data analysis. P-Cores are also used in servers and other high-performance computing systems. The technology is also used in mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, to improve battery life and performance. P-Cores are an important part of the computer industry, as they allow for faster and more efficient computing.


PCIe: PCIe (Peripheral Component Interconnect Express) is a high-speed serial computer expansion bus standard for connecting components such as graphics cards, sound cards, and network cards to a motherboard. It is the most widely used interface in the computer industry today, and is used in both desktop and laptop computers. PCIe is capable of providing up to 16 times the bandwidth of the older PCI standard, allowing for faster data transfer speeds and improved performance. It is also used in a variety of other applications, such as storage, networking, and communications. PCIe is an essential component of modern computing, and its applications are only expected to grow in the future.


Xeon: The Intel Xeon processor is a powerful and reliable processor used in many computer systems. It is a multi-core processor that is designed to handle multiple tasks simultaneously. It is used in servers, workstations, and high-end desktop computers. It is also used in many embedded systems, such as routers and switches. The Xeon processor is known for its high performance and scalability, making it a popular choice for many computer applications. It is also used in many cloud computing applications, as it is capable of handling large amounts of data and providing high levels of performance. The Xeon processor is also used in many scientific and engineering applications, as it is capable of handling complex calculations and simulations.



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