At this year’s Hot Chips event, Intel has taken the stage to offer an in-depth preview of its forthcoming Intel Xeon product lineup, ushering in a new era for the renowned processor series with a groundbreaking platform architecture.
The platform marks a significant advancement for Intel Xeon as it introduces two distinct architectures, namely the Efficient-core (E-core) and Performance-core (P-core) architectures, with the codenames Sierra Forest and Granite Rapids, respectively. These groundbreaking products are poised to revolutionize the landscape of critical workloads, including artificial intelligence.
E-Core Architecture (Sierra Forest) to Revolutionize Power-Efficient Computing
The introduction of Intel Xeon processors with E-cores (Sierra Forest) signifies a pivotal shift towards power-efficient computing while maintaining impressive performance levels. Designed to deliver density-optimized compute capabilities, the E-core architecture brings forth industry-leading power-performance density, setting the stage for outstanding performance in cloud-native and hyperscale workloads. Key features of the E-core architecture include:
Achieving 2.5 times better rack density and a remarkable 2.4 times higher performance per watt.
Support for 1-socket (1S) and 2-socket (2S) servers, featuring up to an impressive 144 cores per CPU with a remarkably low thermal design power (TDP) starting at just 200 watts.
Integration of a modern instruction set, fortified security measures, virtualization capabilities, and advanced vector extensions (AVX) with AI extensions.
Inclusion of foundational memory reliability, availability, and serviceability (RAS) features, ensuring machine check and data cache error correction code (ECC) across all Xeon CPUs.
P-Core Architecture (Granite Rapids) Sets New Standards for Performance
In a bid to provide an unparalleled total cost of ownership (TCO) for high-core performance-sensitive workloads and general-purpose compute tasks, Intel Xeon processors with P-cores (Granite Rapids) have been meticulously designed. Granite Rapids, building on the AI performance capabilities of the Xeon series, integrates accelerators to further boost targeted workloads, enhancing both performance and efficiency. Key features of the P-core architecture include:
Delivering 2-3 times better performance for mixed AI workloads, amplifying its prowess in AI-centric tasks.
Enhanced Intel Advanced Matrix Extensions (AMX) with new support for FP16 instructions, unlocking new possibilities in AI and data-intensive computations.
Amplified memory bandwidth, core count, and cache tailored for compute-intensive workloads.
Exceptional socket scalability, ranging from single-socket to eight-socket configurations, ensuring versatility and adaptability.
Forthcoming Releases and Timely Delivery
Intel’s roadmap and commitments to its data center offerings remain steadfast. The 5th Generation Intel Xeon processors (Emerald Rapids) are already in the hands of customers and are slated for an official launch in the fourth quarter of 2023. The much-anticipated Intel Xeon processors with E-cores (Sierra Forest) are on track for delivery in the first half of 2024. Shortly thereafter, Intel Xeon processors with P-cores (Granite Rapids) are set to be introduced, further solidifying Intel’s position at the forefront of processor technology innovation.
The chip is expected to offer a significant improvement of 240 percent better performance per watt compared to Intel’s current generation of data center chips, Reuters news report said.
The context is that data centers, which power various internet and online services, consume substantial amounts of electricity, prompting technology companies to seek ways to optimize their energy usage. This has led chip companies like Ampere Computing, founded by ex-Intel executives, as well as AMD, to focus on creating chips tailored for efficient cloud computing workloads. Intel, which has faced competition from AMD and Ampere in the data center market, is working on the “Sierra Forest” chip as part of its effort to stay competitive and cater to the energy efficiency needs of data centers.
Intel’s strategy includes categorizing its data center chips into two groups: the “Granite Rapids” chip, which prioritizes performance but consumes more power, and the “Sierra Forest” chip, which is designed to be more energy-efficient. The introduction of this distinction allows customers to choose between higher performance or improved energy efficiency based on their specific needs.
The senior fellow at Intel, Ronak Singhal, highlighted that customers could benefit from consolidating older software onto fewer computers inside a data center, thanks to the higher density and efficiency of the new chip. This consolidation could lead to power savings and reduced total cost of ownership for data center operators.
Overall, the development of the “Sierra Forest” chip showcases Intel’s response to the industry demand for more energy-efficient computing solutions, as well as its effort to regain market share and competitiveness in the data center chip market.