Intel Corp. used this week’s virtual CES 2021 event to reassert its dominance of the datacenter with the formal roll out of its next-generation server chip, the 10nm Xeon Scalable processor that targets AI and HPC workloads.
The third-generation “Ice Lake” family is Intel’s first at the 10nm process node, incorporating a new core architecture that incorporates more processor cores and faster input/output. After months of delays, the chipmaker said Monday (Jan. 11) production shipments have begun with volume production ramping up throughout the first quarter of this year. As with predecessor 14-nm Cascade Lake, the new chips will come in bronze, silver, gold and platinum variants, but further product details have not yet been broadly disclosed.
Ice Lake “represents a strategic part of our datacenter strategy,” said Navin Shenoy, executive vice president and general manager of Intel’s Data Platforms Group.
“Ice Lake delivers significant increases in core count, performance, integrated AI and security features across a wide variety of workloads,” added Gregory Bryant, Intel’s executive vice president. The AI capability would enable enterprise cloud services such as video analytics, the company said, along with the provisioning of microservices at the network edge.
The introduction of Ice Lake had been delayed as Intel struggled to refine its 10nm process technology. While providing few details this week, Intel has previously described the Ice Lake server processor along with its companion Whitley two-socket server platform. The combination increases the number of DDR4 memory channels to six per CPU.
Meanwhile, the company’s Optane persistent memory is supported with up to 6 Tb per socket. The company also disclosed during last November’s SC20 that Ice Lake will deliver higher memory bandwidth.
As reported in November, Ice Lake promises an 18-percent performance increase over the previous generation Cascade Lake processor.
Oracle is also expected to deploy Ice Lake server processors to power its HPC cloud instances.
Intel’s stock rose in early trading on Tuesday (Jan. 12) on news of the Ice Lake production ramp and the release of other processor families.
According to reports, Intel is expected to announce an expanded partnership with foundry giant Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. as it shifts to volume production of the 10nm server processor. Intel has also said it will partner with an external fab for its delayed “Ponte Vecchio” server GPU.