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April 6, 2021

Intel Launches 10nm ‘Ice Lake’ Datacenter CPU with Up to 40 Cores

The wait is over. Today Intel officially launched its 10nm datacenter CPU, the third-generation Intel Scalable Processor, codenamed Ice Lake. With up 40 “Sunny Cove” cores per processor, built-in acceleration and new instructions, the Ice Lake-SP platform offers a significant performance boost for AI, HPC, networking and cloud workloads, according to Intel.

In addition to increasing the core count from 28 to 40 over previous-gen Cascade Lake, Ice Lake provides 8 channels of DDR4-3200 memory (versus 6 channels of DDR4-2933), and supports up to 64 lanes of PCIe Gen4 per socket (versus 48 PCIe Gen3 lanes). With these enhancements, along with AVX-512 for compute acceleration and DL Boost for AI acceleration, Ice Lake delivers an average 46 percent performance improvement for datacenter workloads and 53 higher average HPC performance, generation-over-generation, according to Intel. In early benchmarking, Intel also showed Ice Lake outperforming the recently launched AMD third-generation processor, codenamed Milan, on key HPC, AI and cloud applications.

Intel’s Trish Damkroger

In an interview with HPCwire, Intel’s Vice President and General Manager of HPC Trish Damkroger highlighted the work that went into the Sunny Cove core as well as the HPC platform enhancements. “Having eight memory channels is key for memory bound workloads, and with the 40 cores along with AVX-512, the CPU shows great performance for a lot of workloads that are more compute bound,” she said. Damkroger further emphasized Intel’s Speed Select Technology (SST), which enables granular control over processor frequency, core count, and power. Although Speed Select was introduced on Cascade Lake, it previously only facilitated the configuring of frequency, but with Ice Lake, there is the added flexibility to dynamically adjust core count and power.

Using Intel’s Optane Persistent Memory (PMEM) 200 series combined with traditional DRAM, the new Ice Lake processors support up to 6 terabytes of system memory per socket (versus 4.5 terabytes supported by Cascade Lake and Cascade Lake-Refresh). Optane PMEM 200 is part of Intel’s datacenter portfolio targeting the new third-generation Xeon platform, along with Optane P5800X SSD, SSD D5-P5316 NAND, Intel Ethernet 800 series network adapters (offering up to 200GbE per PCIe 4.0 slot), and the company’s Agilex FPGAs.

In addition to moving to PCIe Gen4, which provides a 2X bandwidth increase compared with Gen3, the socket to socket interconnect rates for Ice Lake have increased nearly 7.7 percent for improved bandwidth between processors.

You can read the rest of this story at HPCwire.