It has been hard to miss the fact that Intel has been vacuuming up a lot of industry talent, which brings with them a lot of experience. Renduchintala, Koduri, Keller, Hook, and Carvill, are just to name a few. This new crew has decided to break Intel out of its shell for the first time in a while, holding the first in a new tradition of Intel Architecture Days. Through the five hours of presentations, Intel lifted the lid on the CPU core roadmaps through 2021, the next generation of integrated graphics, the future of Intel’s graphics business, new chips built on 3D packaging technologies, and even parts of the microarchitecture for the 2019 consumer processors. In other words, it's many of the things we've been missing out on for years. And now that Intel is once again holding these kinds of disclosures, there’s a lot to dig in to.

Contents List

Intel covered a good amount of ground at the Architecture Day, which we’ve split into the following categories:

  1. The CPU Core and Atom Roadmaps, on 10nm
  2. The Sunny Cove Microarchitecture
  3. The Next Generation Gen11 Graphics
  4. Intel Demonstrates Sunny Cove and Gen11 Graphics
  5. Beyond Gen11 Graphics: Announcing the Xe Graphics Brand
  6. 3D Packaging with FOVEROS
  7. Intel’s first Fovoros and first Hybrid x86 CPU: Core plus Atom in 7 W on 10nm
  8. Ice Lake 10nm Xeon
  9. Intel Made Something Really Funny: Q&A with Raja, Jim, and Murthy

 

The CPU Core Roadmaps

It is common for companies like Intel to ask members of the press what they enjoy about announcements from Intel, Intel’s competitors, or other companies in the industry. One of answers I will never tire of saying is ‘roadmaps’. The roadmap is a simple document but it enables a company to explain part of its future plans in a very easy to understand way. It shows to the press, to customers, and to partners, that the company has a vision beyond the next product and that it expects to deliver at a rough cadence, hopefully with some markers on expected performance additions or improvements. Roadmaps are rarely taken as set in stone either, with most people understanding that they have an element of fuzziness depending on external factors.

To that end, I’ve been requesting Intel to show roadmaps for years. They used to be common place, but ever since Skylake, it has kind of dried up. In recent months Intel has shown rough datacentre roadmaps, with Cascade Lake, Cooper Lake, and Ice Lake and the next few generations. But for the Core family it has been somewhat more difficult. Depending on which analyst you talk to, a good number will point to some of the Skylake derivatives as being holding points while the issues with 10nm have been sorted out. But nonetheless, all we tend to hear about is the faint whisper of a codename potentially, which doesn’t mean much.

So imagine my delight when we get not one roadmap from Intel on CPUs, but two. Intel gave us both the Core architecture roadmap and the Atom architecture roadmap for the next few generations.

For the high performance Core architecture, Intel lists three new codenames over the next three years. To be very clear here, these are the codenames for the individual core microarchitecture, not the chip, which is an important departure from how Intel has previously done things.

Sunny Cove, built on 10nm, will come to market in 2019 and offer increased single-threaded performance, new instructions, and ‘improved scalability’. Intel went into more detail about the Sunny Cove microarchitecture, which is in the next part of this article. To avoid doubt, Sunny Cove will have AVX-512. We believe that these cores, when paired with Gen11 graphics, will be called Ice Lake.

Willow Cove looks like it will be a 2020 core design, most likely also on 10nm. Intel lists the highlights here as a cache redesign (which might mean L1/L2 adjustments), new transistor optimizations (manufacturing based), and additional security features, likely referring to further enhancements from new classes of side-channel attacks.

Golden Cove rounds out the trio, and is firmly in that 2021 segment in the graph. Process node here is a question mark, but we’re likely to see it on 10nm and or 7nm. Golden Cove is where Intel adds another slice of the serious pie onto its plate, with an increase in single threaded performance, a focus on AI performance, and potential networking and AI additions to the core design. Security features also look like they get a boost.

Intel Core Microarchitecture Roadmap
Core Name Year Process Node Improvements
Skylake 2015 14 nm Single Threaded Performance
Lower Power
Other Optimizations
Kaby Lake 2016 14 nm+ Frequency
Coffee Lake 2017 14 nm++ Frequency
Coffee Refresh 2018 14 nm++ Frequency
Sunny Cove 2019 10 nm Single Threaded Performance
New Instructions
Improved Scalability
Willow Cove 2020 ? 10 nm ? Cache Redesign
New Transistor Optimization
Security Features
Golden Cove 2021 ? 7 / 10 nm ? Single Threaded Performance
AI Performance
Networking / 5G Performance
Security Features

The lower-powered Atom microarchitecture roadmap is on a slower cadence than the Core microarchitecture, which is not surprising given its history. Seeing as how Atom has to fit into a range of devices, we’re expecting there to be a wide range in capabilities, especially from the SoC side.

The upcoming microarchitecture for 2019 is called Tremont, which focuses on single threaded performance increases, battery life increases, and network server performance. Based on some of the designs later in this article, we think that this will be a 10nm design.

Following Tremont will be Gracemont, which Intel lists as a 2021 product. As Atom is designed to continually push both the performance at the high-end of its capabilities and the efficiency at the low-end, Intel lists that Gracemont will have additional single threaded performance and a focus on increased frequency. This will be combined with additional vector performance, which likely means that Atom will get some wider vector units or support new vector instructions.

Beyond this will be a future ‘mont’ core (and not month as listed in the image). Here Intel is spitballing what this new 2023 core might have, for which the general listing of performance, frequency and features is there.

Intel Atom Microarchitecture Roadmap
  Year Process Improvements
Goldmont 2016 14 nm Higher Performance
Cryptography Features
Goldmont Plus 2017 14 nm Branch Prediction
More Execution
Larger Load/Store Buffers
More Cache
- 2018 - -
Tremont 2019 10 nm ? Single Threaded Performance
Network Server Performance
Battery Life
- 2020 - -
Gracemont 2021 10 nm ? Single Threaded Performance
Frequency
Vector Performance
- 2022 - -
'Next Mont' 2023 ? Single Threaded Performance
Frequency
'Features'

As stated above, these are just the microarchitecture names. The actual chips these cores are in will likely have different names, which means a Lake name for the Core microarchitecture. At the event, Intel stated that Ice Lake would have Sunny Cove cores in it, for example.

Another aspect to Intel’s presentations was that future microarchitectures are likely to be uncoupled from any process technologies. In order to build some resiliency into the company’s product line moving forward, both Raja Koduri and Dr. Murthy Renduchintala explained that future microarchitectures will not be process dependent, and the latest products will come to market on the best process technologies available at the time. As a result we’re likely to see some of the Core designs straddle different manufacturing technologies.

Intel also went into a bit of detail on microarchitecture of Sunny Cove.

Sunny Cove Microarchitecture: A Peek At the Back End
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  • CajunArson - Wednesday, December 12, 2018 - link

    There's nothing whatsoever revolutionary about "chiplets". A 10 year old core 2 quad used exactly the same technology that AMD calls "chiplets" in 2019 and AMD fantards like you even insulted the Core 2 quad for doing it.

    Maybe you should actually read the article about what a active interposer can do vs. wiring standard hunks of silicon to a PCB in literally the same way it was done in the 1970s before you run around acting like AMD is the only company to ever innovate anything.
    Reply
  • sgeocla - Wednesday, December 12, 2018 - link

    I've been reading articles about Intel 10nm promises for years now. And then we got failed laptop chips and low power pc boxes to appease 'mass production' status and not get sued by investors for false claims.
    Forgive me if I abstain my drooling until Intel actually delivers something that does not require industrial chillers. BTY where is that 28 core HEDT chips anyway ?
    Reply
  • Targon - Wednesday, December 12, 2018 - link

    There is always a point where the WHEN something is used sets a new direction. Multi-CPU in a workstation/server moving to a single processor with multiple cores was a big shift. Moving from two cores linked together when cache coherency was a big problem to a single dual-core without an interposer was a better way to go. It all comes down to if there is a performance boost or degradation as a result of the technology/implementation.

    With that said, a single CPU with 64 cores is fairly significant, and keeping the performance from being horrible with that many cores is the reason AMD has been praised. Price/performance for the server market and such.

    For a long time, Intel was seen as the king when it came to clock speeds and performance, but Intel hasn't had a significant boost to IPC in over three years. Intel has also been promising 10nm for three years, and still no sign of it, with the promise of holidays 2019.

    So, Intel still has nothing, they have vague promises of ways they will improve performance, but it remains to be seen if the performance will actually be better if 10nm slips again. On the flip side, AMD clearly has significant performance boosts from Ryzen 3rd generation in 2019(March/April being when many expect it). 7nm from AMD isn't a, "will they?" question, it isn't even a "when?", with CES in one month and with it, the answers. IPC improvements due to design improvements not related to chiplets at all would be good, as well as higher clock speeds. So, there is a potential for 30+ percent higher performance in one generation.

    Yes, I don't expect AMD to deliver huge performance jumps again for years, but we may see things such as Gen-Z support, going beyond two memory channels for the mainstream Ryzen chips when the next socket comes out in 2020/2021, and other things that may boost system/platform performance while AMD figures out how to get more CPU performance.

    Intel is still trying to do things the same way, just faster. Faster CPU, faster links to individual devices, fabric on a system level will be Intel trying to reinvent what AMD has been working toward.

    I will also note again that some things are not always about being new, but are more about presentation and implementation. Palm really popularized the idea of apps that users could install on a small portable device(PDA), but Apple popularized it with the iPhone. In some cases, the implementation really is good, and will get the respect of the industry, in other cases, you see that something is clearly a case of following the lead of another player.

    So, in the PC industry, is Intel leading the way with innovations, or is AMD in the drivers seat?
    Reply
  • iwod - Thursday, December 13, 2018 - link

    No one insulted Core 2 Quad for doing it, and neither did AMD. But Intel did Insult AMD and went on full force bad mouthing AMD. Reply
  • Spunjji - Thursday, December 13, 2018 - link

    Using a term like "fantard" straight-up devalues your argument, but the blatantly false statement about the C2Q using "exactly the same technology" seals the deal.

    Chiplets refers to the CPU being divided into multiple sections (cores and un-core) on a single package using dedicated interconnects. It's not at all the same technology as having two discrete CPUs joined by the FSB on a single package. Both are novel approaches to particular problems, although the C2Q (and Pentium D before it) were criticized for their inefficiency by using the FSB for inter-core communication. We don't know how "chiplets" will pan out yet, so the jury's out.

    Bash the fans for talking nonsense all you want, but maybe don't sink to their level.
    Reply
  • edzieba - Wednesday, December 12, 2018 - link

    If you think through-package interconnects compare to through-silicon interconnects, then I have some HBM on DIMMs to sell you. Reply
  • Spunjji - Thursday, December 13, 2018 - link

    Noice. :D Reply
  • III-V - Wednesday, December 12, 2018 - link

    I love how everyone thinks AMD is the pioneer with chiplets. They're not. That would be Marvell.

    And Intel themselves has been hinting that it's a good way to go, looking at their EMIB solution.

    But AMD fan boys are a special breed of stupid...
    Reply
  • sgeocla - Wednesday, December 12, 2018 - link

    The electric car was pioneered more than a hundred years.
    It's one thing to pioneer something and a whole different thing to actually develop it into something that is affordable to millions and drags the whole industry forward.

    If you think pioneering is all there is to it I have hundreds of grapehene battery designs you should invest you narrow-minded-driven life savings into.
    Reply
  • evernessince - Wednesday, December 12, 2018 - link

    You have some issues buddy. How about not being toxic next time. Reply

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