from the PxN! dept.
Intel this week initiated its product discontinuance plan for its remaining Xeon Phi 7200-series processors codenamed Knights Mill (KML), bringing an end to the family of processors that have now been superceded by the likes of Intel's 56-core Xeon Platinum 9200 family. Xeon Phi parts have been used primarily by supercomputers during its lifetime.
Customers interested in final Intel Xeon Phi 7295, 7285 and 7235 processors will have to place their final orders on these devices by August 9, 2019. Intel will ship the final Xeon Phi CPUs by July 31, 2020. Intel's Knights Mill processors feature 64, 68, or 72 upgraded Silvermont x86 cores paired with AVX-512 units and MCDRAM. The parts were essentially Knights Landing parts optimized for Deep Learning applications.
Also to be superceded by Intel Xe GPUs.
In a very short tweet posted to their Twitter feed yesterday, Intel revealed/confirmed the launch date for their first discrete GPU developed under the company's new dGPU initiative. The otherwise unnamed high-end GPU will be launching in 2020, a short two to two-and-a-half years from now.
[...] This new GPU would be the first GPU to come out of Intel's revitalized GPU efforts, which kicked into high gear at the end of 2017 with the hiring of former AMD and Apple GPU boss Raja Koduri. Intel of course is in the midst of watching sometimes-ally and sometimes-rival NVIDIA grow at a nearly absurd pace thanks to the machine learning boom, so Intel's third shot at dGPUs is ultimately an effort to establish themselves in a market for accelerators that is no longer niche but is increasingly splitting off customers who previously would have relied entirely on Intel CPUs.
[...] Intel isn't saying anything else about the GPU at this time. Though we do know from Intel's statements when they hired Koduri that they're starting with high-end GPUs, a fitting choice given the accelerator market Intel is going after. This GPU is almost certainly aimed at compute users first and foremost – especially if Intel adopts a bleeding edge-like strategy that AMD and NVIDIA have started to favor – but Intel's dGPU efforts are not entirely focused on professionals. Intel has also confirmed that they want to go after the gaming market as well, though what that would entail – and when – is another question entirely.
Intel has teased* plans to return to the discrete graphics market in 2020. Now, some of those plans have leaked. Intel's Xe branded GPUs will apparently use an architecture capable of scaling to "any number" of GPUs that are connected by a multi-chip module (MCM). The "e" in Xe is meant to represent the number of GPU dies, with one of the first products being called X2/X2:
Developers won't need to worry about optimizing their code for multi-GPU, the OneAPI will take care of all that. This will also allow the company to beat the foundry's usual lithographic limit of dies that is currently in the range of ~800mm2. Why have one 800mm2 die when you can have two 600mm2 dies (the lower the size of the die, the higher the yield) or four 400mm2 ones? Armed with One API and the Xe macroarchitecture Intel plans to ramp all the way up to Octa GPUs by 2024. From this roadmap, it seems like the first Xe class of GPUs will be X2.
The tentative timeline for the first X2 class of GPUs was also revealed: June 31st, 2020. This will be followed by the X4 class sometime in 2021. It looks like Intel plans to add two more cores [dies] every year so we should have the X8 class by 2024. Assuming Intel has the scaling solution down pat, it should actually be very easy to scale these up. The only concern here would be the packaging yield – which Intel should be more than capable of handling and binning should take care of any wastage issues quite easily. Neither NVIDIA nor AMD have yet gone down the MCM path and if Intel can truly deliver on this design then the sky's the limit.
AMD has made extensive use of MCMs in its Zen CPUs, but will reportedly not use an MCM-based design for its upcoming Navi GPUs. Nvidia has published research into MCM GPUs but has yet to introduce products using such a design.
Intel will use an MCM for its upcoming 48-core "Cascade Lake" Xeon CPUs. They are also planning on using "chiplets" in other CPUs and mixing big and small CPU cores and/or cores made on different process nodes.
*Previously: Intel Planning a Return to the Discrete GPU Market, Nvidia CEO Responds
Intel Discrete GPU Planned to be Released in 2020
Intel Announces "Sunny Cove", Gen11 Graphics, Discrete Graphics Brand Name, 3D Packaging, and More