Intel Partners Debut Latest Servers Based on the New Intel Gen 3 ‘Ice Lake’ Xeons

By Todd R. Weiss

April 7, 2021

Fresh from Intel’s launch of the company’s latest third-generation Xeon Scalable “Ice Lake” processors on April 6 (Tuesday), Intel server partners Cisco, Dell EMC, HPE and Lenovo simultaneously unveiled their first server models built around the latest chips.

And though arch-rival AMD may have won the first round of the latest global chip fight by unveiling its latest next-generation Epyc server chips three weeks before Intel’s products back on March 15, Intel is apparently not giving up any ground in the fight.

Intel is touting the new Xeon Scalable chips as having performance that is up to 46 percent better than the company’s previous generation of chips, along with major performance improvements in security, flexibility and more.

The Ice Lake processors are 10nm chips that include up to 40 cores per processor, up from 28 cores in the previous generation Cascade Lake chips. Supporting up to 6 terabytes of system memory per socket, the chips provide eight channels of DDR4-3200 memory per socket and up to 64 lanes of PCIe Gen4 per socket, compared to eight channels of DDR4-2933 and up to 48 lanes of PCI Gen3 per socket for the previous chips. The new chips also include features such as Intel Software Guard Extensions (SGX), Intel Total Memory Encryption (TME) and Intel Speed Select Technology (SST), and are compatible with the latest version of Intel Optane persistent memory modules (PMem). PCIe Gen4 architecture provides throughput at twice the speed of the earlier PCI Gen3 specification.

Rob Enderle, principal analyst with Enderle Group, told EnterpriseAI that the launch of Ice Lake “is arguably one of the most critical launches this decade for Intel” because of previous delays in getting these chips to market. “According to OEMs, Intel’s inability to advance their process technology and remain competitive put them arguably two years behind AMD,” said Enderle.

The Ice Lake family includes 56 SKUs, grouped across 10 segments: 13 are optimized for highest per-core scalable performance (8 to 40 cores, 140-270 watts), 10 for scalable performance (8 to 32 cores, 105-205 watts), 15 target four- and eight- socket (18 to 28 cores, 150-250 watts), and there are three single-socket optimized parts (24 to 36 cores, 185-225 watts). There are also SKUs optimized for cloud, networking, media and other workloads. All but four SKUs support Intel Optane Persistent Memory 200 series technology.

In comparison, AMD’s recently announced  Epyc “Milan” CPUs will be available in 19 SKUs, from a flagship 64-core version to 8-core versions built for a myriad of server workloads. For AI users, the big AMD news was that the latest generation of AMD server chips show promise in improving performance for many AI processes, according to the company.

For Intel’s partners, the bolstered specifications and capabilities in the Ice Lake chips are what they wanted to offer fresh and more robust and powerful servers to customers who have ever-increasing compute workloads.

While Cisco, Dell EMC, HPE and Lenovo are the first Intel server partners to announce their new hardware at the launch of the Ice Lake chips, other server partners are expected to announce their own boosted server line-ups soon as well.

Here’s a rundown of the first Ice Lake-equipped server products:

Cisco Unveils Three Server Models

Cisco begins its Ice Lake transformation with three new Unified Computing System (UCS) server models that incorporate the new CPUs – the Cisco UCS B200 M6, C220 M6, and C240 M6 servers, built for today’s hybrid and diverse computing environments.

Highlighting the latest UCS servers is native integration with the Cisco Intersight hybrid cloud operations platform, which aims to make it easier for customers to manage their infrastructure wherever it is located through a policy-based system.

With the new capabilities built into the latest Intel chips, the new Cisco servers will be able to fill a wide range of workloads for customers, including Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI), databases, AI and machine learning, big data and more, according to Cisco. The new servers are expected to be generally available within about 90 days.

“For over twelve years, Cisco and Intel have been committed to pushing the boundaries in the server market, together delivering many industry-leading innovations,” DD Dasgupta, vice president of product management for the Cisco cloud and compute business unit, said in a statement. “Today’s announcement continues this tradition, and it could not come at a more crucial time. As customers’ hybrid cloud journeys accelerate, the need for simple yet powerful solutions increase. Cisco and Intel are proud to deliver solutions that not only meet the demands of today’s workloads but provide the foundations necessary to embrace new and emerging technologies.”

Dell EMC Reiterates Its Ice Lake Plans

Although Intel is officially debuting its new chips today, Dell actually got a leg up on the competition by announcing its plans for its first Ice Lake-equipped servers back on March 17, right after the latest AMD Epyc chips were unveiled.

That’s when Dell unveiled its PowerEdge R750 server, as well as its PowerEdge R750xa, which the company said is purpose-built to boost acceleration performance for machine learning training, inferencing and AI. The PowerEdge R750xa is a dual socket, 2U server that supports up to four double-wide GPUs and six single-wide GPUs. Other Dell server models using the new Intel chips are the C6520, the MX750 and the R750, according to the company. The servers are expected to be available globally in May 2021. Several other models, including the Dell EMC PowerEdge R750xs, the R650xs, the R550, the R450 and the ruggedized PowerEdge XR11 and XR12, are expected to be available in the second quarter of 2021.

“Dell Technologies is focused on helping businesses benefit from emerging technologies and innovations that will help them reach their goals faster,” Rajesh Pohani, the company’s vice president of server product management, said in a statement. “Through our close collaboration with Intel, Dell EMC PowerEdge servers deliver better performance and security than ever before, putting customers on a path to autonomous infrastructure that will make IT simpler, more powerful and serve as the innovation engine for moving businesses forward.”

HPE Unveils Eight Ice Lake Server Models

At HPE, Intel’s latest Gen 3 chips are being integrated across eight server lines. This includes the HPE ProLiant DL360 Gen10 Plus, HPE ProLiant DL380 Gen10 Plus and HPE ProLiant DL110 Gen10 Plus standard servers, as well as the HPE Synergy 480 Gen10 Plus server line, which is built for compostable, software-defined infrastructure for hybrid cloud environments.

HPE ProLiant DL380 Gen 10 Plus server

Also getting the new chips are the HPE Edgeline EL8000 Converged Edge systems and the HPE Edgeline EL8000T Converged Edge systems, which are ruggedized systems that are built for extreme edge use cases.

In HPE’s high performance computing (HPC) and AI server lines, the HPE Apollo 2000 Gen10 Plus systems – built for HPC workloads like modeling, simulations and deep learning, as well as AI modeling and training – and the HPE Cray EX supercomputer lineup are also getting Ice Lake CPUs.

Four New Lenovo ThinkSystem Servers with Ice Lake CPUs 

Built for customer workloads in HPC, AI, modeling and simulation, cloud, VDI, advanced analytics and more, Lenovo debuted four new ThinkSystem Server models that incorporate many of the advancements of the latest Intel Ice Lake chips.

The four new server models are the ThinkSystem SR650 V2, the SR630 V2, the ST650 V2 and the SN550 V2, which can be configured in a myriad of ways to meet business demands:

• The ThinkSystem SR650 V2 is a 2U, two-socket server aimed at customers from SMBs to large enterprises and managed cloud service providers, providing speed and expansion along with flexible storage and I/O for business-critical workloads. The systems use Intel Optane persistent memory 200 series and include support for faster PCIe Gen4 networking.

• The ThinkSystem SR630 V2 is a 1U, two-socket server that includes optimized performance and density for hybrid data center workloads such as cloud, virtualization, analytics, computing and gaming.

• The ThinkSystem ST650 V2 is a new two-socket mainstream tower server that uses a slimmer 4U chassis to make it easier and more flexible to deploy in remote offices or branch offices (ROBO), technology or retail locations.

• The ThinkSystem SN550 V2 is part of the HPE Flex System family. Designed for enterprise performance and flexibility in a compact footprint, the SN500 V2 is a blade server node that is optimized for performance, efficiency and security for a wide range of business-critical workloads including cloud, server virtualization, databases and VDI.

Later in 2021, Lenovo expects to bring Intel’s latest Ice Lake processors to its edge computing server line with the introduction of a new highly ruggedized, edge server designed to handle the extreme performance and environmental conditions needed for telecommunications, manufacturing and smarter cities use cases. More details will be announced later in the year.

Intel Again Takes Charge: Analysts

Despite Intel’s earlier delays getting these Ice Lake chips to market and to its partners, the company remains the dominant vendor in the world of CPUs, said analyst Enderle.

“Unlike AMD, which needs a sizeable competitive edge to displace Intel, all Intel needs is to be good enough to hold on to its base,” he said. “Ice Lake is a forklift upgrade, meaning you can’t just replace an older Intel processor with it; you’ll likely need to replace the server. OEMs generally prefer a complete product replacement over a parts upgrade because they are far more lucrative.”

For customers, that’s not as appreciated because of disruptions due to server replacements as well as higher related costs, said Enderle. “As a result, this is unlikely to force a competitive replacement of newer AMD servers,” he said. “Those companies preferring performance over all else may still prefer AMD Epyc over Intel’s latest.  But shops wanting to remain homogenous with aging servers will appreciate the extra performance Ice Lake brought and were unlikely to embrace AMD anyway.”

Where Intel really gains over AMD is in Intel’s stronger control over manufacturing, which should also help the company during raw materials shortages, further offsetting their disadvantages, said Enderle. “While I doubt Ice Lake is strong enough to reverse the erosion of Intel’s base to AMD, it should slow it and give Intel time to bring out their next generation, which should be far more competitive.”

Karl Freund, founder and principal HPC, AI and machine learning analyst with Cambrian AI Research, agrees.

“Intel has demonstrated the company’s broad spectrum of technology prowess and leadership in this announcement, from CPUs to memory to encryption and networking,” said Freund. “AMD still enjoys hard-earned leadership in many CPU metrics including performance per core and per socket, but on most other features such as AI performance, Intel clearly has the lead.”

This article originally appeared on sister website

Subscribe to HPCwire's Weekly Update!

Be the most informed person in the room! Stay ahead of the tech trends with industry updates delivered to you every week!

HPE and NVIDIA Join Forces and Plan Conquest of Enterprise AI Frontier

June 20, 2024

The HPE Discover 2024 conference is currently in full swing, and the keynote address from Hewlett-Packard Enterprise (HPE) CEO Antonio Neri on Tuesday, June 18, was an unforgettable event. Other than being the first busi Read more…

Slide Shows Samsung May be Developing a RISC-V CPU for In-memory AI Chip

June 19, 2024

Samsung may have unintentionally revealed its intent to develop a RISC-V CPU, which a presentation slide showed may be used in an AI chip. The company plans to release an AI accelerator with heavy in-memory processing, b Read more…

ASC24 Student Cluster Competition: Who Won and Why?

June 18, 2024

As is our tradition, we’re going to take a detailed look back at the recently concluded the ASC24 Student Cluster Competition (Asia Supercomputer Community) to see not only who won the various awards, but to figure out Read more…

Qubits 2024: D-Wave’s Steady March to Quantum Success

June 18, 2024

In his opening keynote at D-Wave’s annual Qubits 2024 user meeting, being held in Boston, yesterday and today, CEO Alan Baratz again made the compelling pitch that D-Wave’s brand of analog quantum computing (quantum Read more…

Apple Using Google Cloud Infrastructure to Train and Serve AI

June 18, 2024

Apple has built a new AI infrastructure to deliver AI features introduced in its devices and is utilizing resources available in Google's cloud infrastructure.  Apple's new AI backend includes: A homegrown foun Read more…

Argonne’s Rick Stevens on Energy, AI, and a New Kind of Science

June 17, 2024

The world is currently experiencing two of the largest societal upheavals since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. One is the rapid improvement and implementation of artificial intelligence (AI) tools, while the Read more…

HPE and NVIDIA Join Forces and Plan Conquest of Enterprise AI Frontier

June 20, 2024

The HPE Discover 2024 conference is currently in full swing, and the keynote address from Hewlett-Packard Enterprise (HPE) CEO Antonio Neri on Tuesday, June 18, Read more…

Slide Shows Samsung May be Developing a RISC-V CPU for In-memory AI Chip

June 19, 2024

Samsung may have unintentionally revealed its intent to develop a RISC-V CPU, which a presentation slide showed may be used in an AI chip. The company plans to Read more…

Qubits 2024: D-Wave’s Steady March to Quantum Success

June 18, 2024

In his opening keynote at D-Wave’s annual Qubits 2024 user meeting, being held in Boston, yesterday and today, CEO Alan Baratz again made the compelling pitch Read more…


Argonne’s Rick Stevens on Energy, AI, and a New Kind of Science

June 17, 2024

The world is currently experiencing two of the largest societal upheavals since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. One is the rapid improvement and imp Read more…

Under The Wire: Nearly HPC News (June 13, 2024)

June 13, 2024

As managing editor of the major global HPC news source, the term "news fire hose" is often mentioned. The analogy is quite correct. In any given week, there are Read more…

Labs Keep Supercomputers Alive for Ten Years as Vendors Pull Support Early

June 12, 2024

Laboratories are running supercomputers for much longer, beyond the typical lifespan, as vendors prematurely deprecate the hardware and stop providing support. Read more…

MLPerf Training 4.0 – Nvidia Still King; Power and LLM Fine Tuning Added

June 12, 2024

There are really two stories packaged in the most recent MLPerf  Training 4.0 results, released today. The first, of course, is the results. Nvidia (currently Read more…

Highlights from GlobusWorld 2024: The Conference for Reimagining Research IT

June 11, 2024

The Globus user conference, now in its 22nd year, brought together over 180 researchers, system administrators, developers, and IT leaders from 55 top research Read more…

Atos Outlines Plans to Get Acquired, and a Path Forward

May 21, 2024

Atos – via its subsidiary Eviden – is the second major supercomputer maker outside of HPE, while others have largely dropped out. The lack of integrators and Atos' financial turmoil have the HPC market worried. If Atos goes under, HPE will be the only major option for building large-scale systems. Read more…

Comparing NVIDIA A100 and NVIDIA L40S: Which GPU is Ideal for AI and Graphics-Intensive Workloads?

October 30, 2023

With long lead times for the NVIDIA H100 and A100 GPUs, many organizations are looking at the new NVIDIA L40S GPU, which it’s a new GPU optimized for AI and g Read more…

Nvidia H100: Are 550,000 GPUs Enough for This Year?

August 17, 2023

The GPU Squeeze continues to place a premium on Nvidia H100 GPUs. In a recent Financial Times article, Nvidia reports that it expects to ship 550,000 of its lat Read more…

Everyone Except Nvidia Forms Ultra Accelerator Link (UALink) Consortium

May 30, 2024

Consider the GPU. An island of SIMD greatness that makes light work of matrix math. Originally designed to rapidly paint dots on a computer monitor, it was then Read more…

Nvidia’s New Blackwell GPU Can Train AI Models with Trillions of Parameters

March 18, 2024

Nvidia's latest and fastest GPU, codenamed Blackwell, is here and will underpin the company's AI plans this year. The chip offers performance improvements from Read more…

Choosing the Right GPU for LLM Inference and Training

December 11, 2023

Accelerating the training and inference processes of deep learning models is crucial for unleashing their true potential and NVIDIA GPUs have emerged as a game- Read more…

Synopsys Eats Ansys: Does HPC Get Indigestion?

February 8, 2024

Recently, it was announced that Synopsys is buying HPC tool developer Ansys. Started in Pittsburgh, Pa., in 1970 as Swanson Analysis Systems, Inc. (SASI) by John Swanson (and eventually renamed), Ansys serves the CAE (Computer Aided Engineering)/multiphysics engineering simulation market. Read more…

Some Reasons Why Aurora Didn’t Take First Place in the Top500 List

May 15, 2024

The makers of the Aurora supercomputer, which is housed at the Argonne National Laboratory, gave some reasons why the system didn't make the top spot on the Top Read more…

Leading Solution Providers



How AMD May Get Across the CUDA Moat

October 5, 2023

When discussing GenAI, the term "GPU" almost always enters the conversation and the topic often moves toward performance and access. Interestingly, the word "GPU" is assumed to mean "Nvidia" products. (As an aside, the popular Nvidia hardware used in GenAI are not technically... Read more…

Intel’s Next-gen Falcon Shores Coming Out in Late 2025 

April 30, 2024

It's a long wait for customers hanging on for Intel's next-generation GPU, Falcon Shores, which will be released in late 2025.  "Then we have a rich, a very Read more…

Google Announces Sixth-generation AI Chip, a TPU Called Trillium

May 17, 2024

On Tuesday May 14th, Google announced its sixth-generation TPU (tensor processing unit) called Trillium.  The chip, essentially a TPU v6, is the company's l Read more…

The NASA Black Hole Plunge

May 7, 2024

We have all thought about it. No one has done it, but now, thanks to HPC, we see what it looks like. Hold on to your feet because NASA has released videos of wh Read more…

Nvidia Shipped 3.76 Million Data-center GPUs in 2023, According to Study

June 10, 2024

Nvidia had an explosive 2023 in data-center GPU shipments, which totaled roughly 3.76 million units, according to a study conducted by semiconductor analyst fir Read more…

Q&A with Nvidia’s Chief of DGX Systems on the DGX-GB200 Rack-scale System

March 27, 2024

Pictures of Nvidia's new flagship mega-server, the DGX GB200, on the GTC show floor got favorable reactions on social media for the sheer amount of computing po Read more…

GenAI Having Major Impact on Data Culture, Survey Says

February 21, 2024

While 2023 was the year of GenAI, the adoption rates for GenAI did not match expectations. Most organizations are continuing to invest in GenAI but are yet to Read more…

AMD Clears Up Messy GPU Roadmap, Upgrades Chips Annually

June 3, 2024

In the world of AI, there's a desperate search for an alternative to Nvidia's GPUs, and AMD is stepping up to the plate. AMD detailed its updated GPU roadmap, w Read more…

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow