Intel's Architecture Day 2018: The Future of Core, Intel GPUs, 10nm, and Hybrid x86by Dr. Ian Cutress on December 12, 2018 9:00 AM EST
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It has been hard to miss the fact that Intel has been vacuuming up a lot of industry talent, which brings with them a lot of experience. Renduchintala, Koduri, Keller, Hook, and Carvill, are just to name a few. This new crew has decided to break Intel out of its shell for the first time in a while, holding the first in a new tradition of Intel Architecture Days. Through the five hours of presentations, Intel lifted the lid on the CPU core roadmaps through 2021, the next generation of integrated graphics, the future of Intel’s graphics business, new chips built on 3D packaging technologies, and even parts of the microarchitecture for the 2019 consumer processors. In other words, it's many of the things we've been missing out on for years. And now that Intel is once again holding these kinds of disclosures, there’s a lot to dig in to.
Intel covered a good amount of ground at the Architecture Day, which we’ve split into the following categories:
- The CPU Core and Atom Roadmaps, on 10nm
- The Sunny Cove Microarchitecture
- The Next Generation Gen11 Graphics
- Intel Demonstrates Sunny Cove and Gen11 Graphics
- Beyond Gen11 Graphics: Announcing the Xe Graphics Brand
- 3D Packaging with FOVEROS
- Intel’s first Fovoros and first Hybrid x86 CPU: Core plus Atom in 7 W on 10nm
- Ice Lake 10nm Xeon
- Intel Made Something Really Funny: Q&A with Raja, Jim, and Murthy
The CPU Core Roadmaps
It is common for companies like Intel to ask members of the press what they enjoy about announcements from Intel, Intel’s competitors, or other companies in the industry. One of answers I will never tire of saying is ‘roadmaps’. The roadmap is a simple document but it enables a company to explain part of its future plans in a very easy to understand way. It shows to the press, to customers, and to partners, that the company has a vision beyond the next product and that it expects to deliver at a rough cadence, hopefully with some markers on expected performance additions or improvements. Roadmaps are rarely taken as set in stone either, with most people understanding that they have an element of fuzziness depending on external factors.
To that end, I’ve been requesting Intel to show roadmaps for years. They used to be common place, but ever since Skylake, it has kind of dried up. In recent months Intel has shown rough datacentre roadmaps, with Cascade Lake, Cooper Lake, and Ice Lake and the next few generations. But for the Core family it has been somewhat more difficult. Depending on which analyst you talk to, a good number will point to some of the Skylake derivatives as being holding points while the issues with 10nm have been sorted out. But nonetheless, all we tend to hear about is the faint whisper of a codename potentially, which doesn’t mean much.
So imagine my delight when we get not one roadmap from Intel on CPUs, but two. Intel gave us both the Core architecture roadmap and the Atom architecture roadmap for the next few generations.
For the high performance Core architecture, Intel lists three new codenames over the next three years. To be very clear here, these are the codenames for the individual core microarchitecture, not the chip, which is an important departure from how Intel has previously done things.
Sunny Cove, built on 10nm, will come to market in 2019 and offer increased single-threaded performance, new instructions, and ‘improved scalability’. Intel went into more detail about the Sunny Cove microarchitecture, which is in the next part of this article. To avoid doubt, Sunny Cove will have AVX-512. We believe that these cores, when paired with Gen11 graphics, will be called Ice Lake.
Willow Cove looks like it will be a 2020 core design, most likely also on 10nm. Intel lists the highlights here as a cache redesign (which might mean L1/L2 adjustments), new transistor optimizations (manufacturing based), and additional security features, likely referring to further enhancements from new classes of side-channel attacks.
Golden Cove rounds out the trio, and is firmly in that 2021 segment in the graph. Process node here is a question mark, but we’re likely to see it on 10nm and or 7nm. Golden Cove is where Intel adds another slice of the serious pie onto its plate, with an increase in single threaded performance, a focus on AI performance, and potential networking and AI additions to the core design. Security features also look like they get a boost.
|Intel Core Microarchitecture Roadmap|
|Core Name||Year||Process Node||Improvements|
|Skylake||2015||14 nm||Single Threaded Performance
|Kaby Lake||2016||14 nm+||Frequency|
|Coffee Lake||2017||14 nm++||Frequency|
|Coffee Refresh||2018||14 nm++||Frequency|
|Sunny Cove||2019||10 nm||Single Threaded Performance
|Willow Cove||2020 ?||10 nm ?||Cache Redesign
New Transistor Optimization
|Golden Cove||2021 ?||7 / 10 nm ?||Single Threaded Performance
Networking / 5G Performance
The lower-powered Atom microarchitecture roadmap is on a slower cadence than the Core microarchitecture, which is not surprising given its history. Seeing as how Atom has to fit into a range of devices, we’re expecting there to be a wide range in capabilities, especially from the SoC side.
The upcoming microarchitecture for 2019 is called Tremont, which focuses on single threaded performance increases, battery life increases, and network server performance. Based on some of the designs later in this article, we think that this will be a 10nm design.
Following Tremont will be Gracemont, which Intel lists as a 2021 product. As Atom is designed to continually push both the performance at the high-end of its capabilities and the efficiency at the low-end, Intel lists that Gracemont will have additional single threaded performance and a focus on increased frequency. This will be combined with additional vector performance, which likely means that Atom will get some wider vector units or support new vector instructions.
Beyond this will be a future ‘mont’ core (and not month as listed in the image). Here Intel is spitballing what this new 2023 core might have, for which the general listing of performance, frequency and features is there.
|Intel Atom Microarchitecture Roadmap|
|Goldmont||2016||14 nm||Higher Performance
|Goldmont Plus||2017||14 nm||Branch Prediction
Larger Load/Store Buffers
|Tremont||2019||10 nm ?||Single Threaded Performance
Network Server Performance
|Gracemont||2021||10 nm ?||Single Threaded Performance
|'Next Mont'||2023||?||Single Threaded Performance
As stated above, these are just the microarchitecture names. The actual chips these cores are in will likely have different names, which means a Lake name for the Core microarchitecture. At the event, Intel stated that Ice Lake would have Sunny Cove cores in it, for example.
Another aspect to Intel’s presentations was that future microarchitectures are likely to be uncoupled from any process technologies. In order to build some resiliency into the company’s product line moving forward, both Raja Koduri and Dr. Murthy Renduchintala explained that future microarchitectures will not be process dependent, and the latest products will come to market on the best process technologies available at the time. As a result we’re likely to see some of the Core designs straddle different manufacturing technologies.
Intel also went into a bit of detail on microarchitecture of Sunny Cove.
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peevee - Tuesday, December 18, 2018 - link"Normally cache misses decrease by a factor of a square root of the proportional size when the cache is increased"
This is neither true in most performance-critical real cases nor can provide any estimate of actual performance increase.
mikato - Friday, December 21, 2018 - linkI'm here for the "raja inside" comments. Disappointed.
peevee - Sunday, December 23, 2018 - link"although it was pointed out that these improvements won’t help everyone, and might require new algorithms in order to use specific parts of the core."
Which means it will help almost no one, as very few will optimize specifically for that core.
"We’re waiting to see what changes Intel has made on the front-end, which is where a lot of low-hanging fruit often lies for performance."
Low-hanging fruit in x86 was picked up in Pentium. Since then it is just more and more kludges which cost more energy than improve performance (normalizing for node).
peevee - Sunday, December 23, 2018 - link"64 EUs... Each EU will support seven threads as before, which means that the entire GT2 design will essentially have 512 concurrent pipelines."
And are these threads? Or ALUs?
peevee - Sunday, December 23, 2018 - link"The 7-Zip demo was relatively straight forward, showing how the new instructions such as Vector-AES and SHA-NI in Sunny Cove can give the processor a 75% boost in performance over an equivalent Skylake based platform at iso-frequency."
Huh? Have they recompiled (what compiler supports the new instructions then), or manually wrote a codepath in asm? And enabled encryption so to get any increase, so the increase is not actually for compression? Have they disabled compression too? ;)
dampf - Wednesday, January 2, 2019 - linkReally Intel? Adding AI improvements to Core architecture in 2021? Smartphone vendors were doing it last year... way too late. And 5G will take off in the end of 2019.
TheJian - Wednesday, January 2, 2019 - linkI guess I'm not getting why I should be impressed by this.
Leti already did it? They say it's IP can be used by others, so is this Intel's solution (what they're using I mean)?
AMD already does chiplets, everyone does socs (Intel failed them)...etc. 144mm^2 not that small (about an large apple soc size). Current 7nm A12 is 83mm^2 with 6.9B transistors and two big cores, 4 small. AMD already did interposer/chiplets. Memory has been stacking for a while now. Not sure what is supposed to impress me here.
"Very much like a mobile chip" ...Pretty much...Again, why so impressed?
And as OP noted, you have no idea how big the market is, nor how much they can make on them. I think they have to try to sell some before we can say that (many Intel things killed over the years), as their last mobile strategy cost them 16B+ in giveaways, and lost the fab race for a while (maybe forever, because that 16B lost should have went DIRECTLY into fabs and 10nm wouldn't be crap now), as once 7nm Intel hits, it looks like TSMC beats them anyway with 5nm (ok, tie? whatever). My point here is Intel's 7nm won't be much ahead of tsmc 5nm if at all as that is what it will compete with since tapeouts happen q2 2019 and chips 12-15 months later.
Many other articles out there like this, but has a good chart of when and how much wafers etc. But if risk production is really as they say, 5nm chips by xmas 2020. That puts Intel where with this @7nm? Unless that answer is XMAS 2020, I'm thinking behind tsmc. It looks like TSMC is aiming before xmas and they've been moving at a good clip without many glitches recently, so Intel better get busy IMHO. TSMC is 2q 2019 risk, or 2H 2019 depending on who you believe I guess. But still, Intel 7nm better hit by xmas 2020 then right?
Comments on last page: Uh, should have bought NV under $10 but couldn't take the best from gpu side because nobody could handle Jen as president :) WOW, look at that value you passed up Intel, oh, and you'd RULE mobile by now with all those tegras being on Intel's process 5+yrs ago (never mind what gpus would have done on Intel during this time) and you already had the modem solution too (NV bought one, and had to kill it, intel would have taken over everything cpu/gpu/modem/mobile).
With chromebooks, 2b mobile units not using NV gpu's etc, nobody would have stopped them at FTC since more gpus, and arguably more computing devices ship without WINTEL, Intel's gpus (even with NV in there) etc. Intel gpus wouldn't have been needed, mobile wouldn't have been lost (14nm Intel NV socs would have competed well against 20nm everyone else, same story before 14/20, Intel 22nm NV socs vs. 28nm everyone else)., fab money wouldn't have been blown on mobile etc etc. All the problem Intel has now are because they blew 16B on failing instead of BUYING NV for that or a bit more. They had a value back then ~6B or less 659mil shares at $10, I bought at 12...ROFL. They should have owned NV anywhere in there and all this crap wouldn't have happened...LOL. We'll see how this "ideas from outside" crap works out now. To be fair AMD had the same problems to some extent, firing Dirk for not liking mobile/tablet/apu, and wanting a KING first then that cheap crap later. Now they chase king cpu (not gpu yet so far) again...LOL. Yeah, I own AMD stock but still think management is dumb. Can't price anything right, always trying to be a friend or get share which means NOTHING if it doesn't come with MARGIN as a poor man. Sure the rich guy can flood a market, kill enemy sales, but only because he has wads of cash and can wait until he breaks you. Poor company needs NET INCOME for the next gen R&D and to retain people like KELLER etc.
I'm only in AMD stock for the 7nm server stuff, then out likely. Rumor/hype work well in advance of real product at amd (talking stock price here), so you don't likely have to wait for anything other then "shipping soon" or some leaked benchmarks etc. and the price will head to 40+ probably. Just run before that reality hits or brave the waves...LOL. I think AMD will make money, certainly has the server chips to do it, but management just seems to fail at pricing anything to take advantage while they can. Too worried about market, instead of MARGIN for R&D. I'd rather own the 10% that makes most of the money than the 80% that makes crap+a little midrange crap. Apple thinks the same, see their Q reports for ages etc. Own the rich so you can afford to supply the poor. It doesn't work the other way around generally speaking, especially as the little guy. You can't bleed as the poor little guy ;)
TheJian - Wednesday, January 2, 2019 - linkOne more point, in case anyone brings it up, A12x 122mm^2 10B transistors. just adds two more big cores IIRC (maybe a few other small changes). Same point though.