Intel Switches to a “Data Center First” Strategy with 7nm

I guess this is where the money is … consumers won’t see any 7nm desktop processors until at least 2020.

Intel traditionally released new CPU microarchitectures and new silicon fabrication nodes with the client segment, and upon observing some degree of maturity with both, graduated them to the enterprise segment. With its homebrew 7 nanometer silicon fabrication process that takes flight in 2021, Intel will flip its roadmap execution strategy, by going “Data Center First.” Speaking at the 2019 Investors Day summit, Intel SVP and GM of Data Center Group Navin Shenoy revealed that the first product built on Intel’s 7 nm process will be a GPGPU accelerator chip derived from the Xe architecture for the Data Center, followed closely by a new server CPU. Both these products come under Shenoy’s group. One is a competitor to likes of NVIDIA Tesla and AMD Radeon Instinct, while the other is a Xeon processor competing with AMD EPYC.

Shenoy explained the reason why within his group, the GPGPU product was prioritized over the server CPU. It has to do with redundancy of the GPU silicon, or specifically, the higher potential to harvest partially defective dies than CPU. A GPU has a larger number of indivisible components that can be disabled if found non-functional at the time of quality assurance, and these harvested dies can be used to carve out variants of a main product. An example of this would be NVIDIA carving out the GeForce GTX 1070 (1,920 CUDA cores) from the GP104 silicon that physically has 2,560 CUDA cores. The first manufacturing runs of the GPGPU will give the foundry valuable insights into the way the node is behaving, so it could be refined and matured for the server CPU. With 10 nm, however, Intel is sticking to the client-first model, by rolling out the “Ice Lake” processor towards the end of 2019. Within the Client Computing group, Intel has flipped its roadmap execution such that mobile (notebook) CPUs take precedence over desktop ones.

Source: TPU

 

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