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 [wikipedia.org] (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 ~800mm. Why have one 800mm die when you can have two 600mm dies (the lower the size of the die, the higher the yield) or four 400mm 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 [soylentnews.org], but will reportedly not use an MCM-based design for its upcoming Navi GPUs [pcworld.com]. Nvidia has published research into MCM GPUs [wccftech.com] but has yet to introduce products using such a design.
Intel will use an MCM for its upcoming 48-core "Cascade Lake" Xeon CPUs [soylentnews.org]. 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 [soylentnews.org]
Intel Discrete GPU Planned to be Released in 2020 [soylentnews.org]
Intel Announces "Sunny Cove", Gen11 Graphics, Discrete Graphics Brand Name, 3D Packaging, and More [soylentnews.org]
Related: Intel Integrates LTE Modem Into Custom Multi-Chip Module for New HP Laptop [soylentnews.org]
Intel Promises "10nm" Chips by the End of 2019, and More [soylentnews.org]