Ice Lake 10nm Xeon Scalable On Display

One of the more sedate talks at the event was discussing Intel’s approach in the datacenter. We’ve covered this story in detail, especially at Intel’s Data-Centric Summit only a few months ago. Intel has stated that Cascade Lake and Cooper Lake are the next two products for the enterprise market, both built on 14nm, focusing on enhanced security as well as AI instructions to help with acceleration. We also know that after these two Intel will have Ice Lake Scalable built on 10nm, but that’s about it.

To be honest, we don’t actually know much more than what we did back then. Intel confirmed that Ice Lake will be built using Sunny Cove cores. But Intel also showed off what they said was an Ice Lake Xeon 10nm processor and package, as shown in the image above.

Color me skeptical, but what was held up is likely either not ICL-SP or just silicon that doesn’t work. In order to make those products, Intel would have to have pumped out at least one large (350mm2+?) die that worked and then put it into a package with a heatspreader. Intel finally seems to be happy discussing a few products on 10nm, as shown at this event, but all the 10nm hardware is based on tiny 100mm2 or smaller silicon. Given Intel’s documented problems, I would have loved that CPU that was held up in the air to be Ice Lake-SP. But I’ll need to see something more concrete to believe it at this point; it’s too much of a jump.

Ending Intel’s Architecture Day

As I’m writing this, it is 3am PT and only a couple of hours away from Intel’s listed embargo time. The event finished 10 hours ago (a few of us skipped the end event drinks to get to writing) and despite the short time to write it all up, it was a good event overall. For the first time in a good while, Intel decided to talk shop, and in an honest way with very little hand waving. One could argue that in every discussion point, Intel raised more questions than they answered, but the positive here is that questions are being answered, and Intel is willing to share things like roadmaps into 2021, demonstrations of some exciting new products for 2019/2020, and a taste of how they are progressing in both manufacturing and microarchitecture. Hopefully Intel will feel the same and this can become a yearly cadence. The trio of Keller, Koduri, and Murthy, is a strong team to field to the press, and this event fits that bill.

To end this piece, I’m going to put in the Q&A section from day’s presentations, as well as some of the questions put in my particular round-table. It’s an interesting read, and it helps that Jim is full of memorable quotes.

Intel’s First Fovoros and First Hybrid x86 CPU: Core plus Atom in 7 W on 10 nm Intel Made Something Really Funny: Q&A with Raja, Jim, and Murthy


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  • ajc9988 - Thursday, December 13, 2018 - link
    Risk production is in Q2 next year. And Mass is listed by Q2 2020 for 5nm.
    So, I was a bit off by the estimate for volume being 2020, but you were off on when risk production starts. Meanwhile, 7nm+ is already confirmed for AMD on Zen3, as the benefits of 5nm+ don't outweigh the costs associated moving to the process for AMD. This is why it is thought AMD will skip 5nm and try 3nm when available. But, TSMC has not said when 3nm will be available, while Samsung is saying 3nm in 2021: (saying TSMC 3nm in 2022/23)

    I cannot find the article speculating Apple will be the first customer on 5nm EUV and when ATM.
  • HStewart - Thursday, December 13, 2018 - link

    "Nodes are marketing jargon"

    Exactly - it reminds me the frequence wars back in P4 days. But if you look closely at Intel's plan - I am no chip designer - even though I did take Micro-code Enginnering classes in College, but Foveros is revolutionary design - I thought EMiB was amazing, but to do that in 3rd diminsion is awesome - maybe one they could even stack cores that way - instead huge chip monsters.

    But a nm rating by vendor 1 does not nm rating by vendor 2 - what underneath makes the different - Intel is extremely smart to decouple nm process from actual archexture. If you notice by Intel archiexture Intel has more improvements in core archiexture over next 3 years - this is because they are not limited by process (nm)
  • ajc9988 - Friday, December 14, 2018 - link

    EMIB was not revolutionary and neither is foveros. They are incremental steps and existing competing solutions are available and have been for some time. Not only that, it will only be used on select products with eventual spread to the stack.

    Go to the second page of comments and see my links there. I think you will find those quite interesting. Not only that, this has been done with HBM for years now. If you look at AMD's research, almost half a decade ago, they were studying optimal topologies for active interposers. They found only 1-10% of the area was needed for the logic routing of an active interposer. Moving a couple I/O items onto the active interposer just is an extension. In fact, you can put those components on a spread out interposer between the above chiplets that sit on the interposer, but would need to plan on the heat dissipation or having so low a heat that it doesn't need sinked.

    Considering lack of details of what is on the active interposer or timeline for mainstream, HEDT, and server markets, I will assume those won't see this until 2020, with the first products being mobile in nature.

    In fact, Intel this summer gave AIB patents to DARPA to try to control what tech is used for chiplets moving forward, proposing that be used. AMD proposed a routing logic protocol which would be agnostic to routing on the chiplets itself, increasing compatibility moving forward.

    Now, if EMIB is so "revolutionary", do the Intel with AMD GPUs seem revolutionary? Because that is the only product that comes to mind that uses it. Those chips are Hyades Canyon and Crimson Canyon. It isn't that dissimilar to other data fabric uses.

    So far, on disintegration of chip components, AMD's Epyc 2 is getting there. It literally uses just cores and the interconnect for the chiplet (for this description, I am including cache with the cores, but when latency is reduced with active interposers, I do expect an L3 or L4 or higher caches or integrated memory on package to be introduced external to the "core" chiplet moving forward). From there, we could see the I/O elements further subdivided, we could see GPU, modems, etc. But all of this has been planned since the 2000s, so I don't see anything new other than the culmination around the same time other alternative solutions are being offered, just that the cost/benefit analysis has not tipped in its favor just yet, but should in the next year or so, which should bring many more designs to the forefront. Here is a presentation slideshow discussing the state of current 2.5D and 3D packaging. After review, I'd like to hear if you still think EMIB and Foveros are "revolutionary." Don't get me wrong, they are an incremental success and should be honored as such. But revolutionary is too strong a word for incremental process. Overall, it changes nothing and is the culmination of a lot of work over a decade by numerous companies and engineers. Even competing solutions can act as inspiration for another company moving forward and Intel's engineers read the whitepapers and published peer reviewed articles on the cutting edge, just like everyone else in the industry.

    As to you saying Intel is smart to do it, they haven't done it except in silicon in labs and in papers, unless talking the EMIB with Intel CPU. AMD has a product line, Epyc 2, where the I/O is made at GF on 14nm and the chiplet is made on 7nm TSMC with greater pitch disparity. Intel hasn't really removed the components off the core chip yet into each separate element. ARM is considering something similar, and this is the logical progression for the custom designed chips for RISC V moving forward (may take a little longer, less well funded).

    Meanwhile, this doesn't seem to stack high performance cores on high performance cores. The problem of thermals cooking the chip are too great to solve at this moment, which is why low power components are being placed relative to the higher performance (read as higher heat producing) components. Nothing wrong with that, it makes sense.

    But, what doesn't make sense is your flowering lavish praise on Intel for something that doesn't seem all that extraordinary in light of the industry as a whole.
  • johannesburgel - Thursday, December 13, 2018 - link

    People keep saying the same thing about Intel's 14nm process, which is allegedly equal or better than other fab's 10nm processes. But AMD currently makes products on 14nm and 12 nm processes which Intel apparently can't build on its own 14nm process. For example there is still no 32-core Xeon while AMD will soon ship 64 core EPYCs and lots of other companies have 32/48/64 core designs on the market. Many Intel CPUs have much higher effective TDPs than their equivalent AMD CPUs.

    So pardon me if I am not willing to simply believe in all this "Intel's process is better in the end" talk.
  • HStewart - Thursday, December 13, 2018 - link

    But intel's single core performance is better than AMD's single core performance. Just because AMD glues 8 core cpus together does not make them better Reply
  • Icehawk - Thursday, December 13, 2018 - link

    Node isn't even close to everything. Reply
  • Rudde - Wednesday, December 12, 2018 - link

    Gen 11 graphics in desktops is said to reach double the performance of gen 9.5 desktop graphics. 2W Atoms have half the max frequency of desktop graphics and half or three quarters of the execution units. The 7W custom hybrid processor has the full amount of execution units. I'd guess it has half the frequency of it's desktop counterpart to stay within power limits. This would put it at the same performance as 9.5-gen desktop parts, or actually at 30% higher performance.

    Think about that. 80% single thread performance compared to current high-end desktop processors (my quick est.) and 130% graphics performance. That's a solid notebook for web browsing, legacy programs and even for light gaming. All that at a power budget of a tablet.

    If I were to bet, I'd bet on a MS Surface Book.
  • Spunjji - Thursday, December 13, 2018 - link

    Now that would be nice! Reply
  • Intel999 - Wednesday, December 12, 2018 - link

    Keep in mind that 3DXpoint came to market three years past the initial promise from Intel. 10nm will be appearing 4 or 5 years late depending on when volume production materializes.

    Chances are that this 3D stacked promise for late 2019 will show up around 2022.

    I'm seeing alot of fellow Intel fanboys show a semblance of confidence that has been absent in recent months and rightfully so.

    Let's all hope Intel can deliver this time on time.
  • ajc9988 - Wednesday, December 12, 2018 - link

    I disagree on worrying about Intel with the active interposer. They use passive interposers for the mesh on HEDT and Xeons and Xeon Phi (since around 2014) for years now. The 22nm active interposer is to fill out fab time due to pushing chipsets back to plants that were going to be shut down due to moving to 10nm, which never came.

    Meanwhile, AMD did a 2017 cost analysis saying that below 32nm would cost as much as a monolithic die, so it seems they are waiting due to cost, not on technical capability.

    Either way, Intel doesn't hit 7nm until 2021, around the time 3nm may be ready at TSMC, if they go to 3nm within a year of volume 5nm products expected in 2020. That means Intel will never regain the process lead moving forward in any significant way, unless everyone else gets stuck on cobalt integration.

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