Last week we covered the Dell PowerEdge Gets Edgy with XR8000 XR7620 and XR5610 Servers and noted that Dell was announcing the Xeon EE (Edge Enhanced) line before Intel’s official reveal. At MWC 2023, we now have the 4th Gen Intel Xeon Scalable with vRAN Boost launching as part of the company’s 5G push.
4th Gen Intel Xeon Scalable with vRAN Boost the Xeon EE Launches
Intel has a number of new announcements for the show. We are going to focus on the first announcement since that is the new processor, and the second is the infrastructure manager. The Converged Media Platform is using the Intel Flex Series Data Center GPUs in servers and the Agilex 7 FPGAs can be used for vRAN acceleration.
The big one is the 4th Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processors with vRAN Boost. Intel has up to 32-core and up to 20-core (low power) options for SKUs. The processors use AVX extensions for vRAN boost and there is a new hardware accelerator ACC100 for forward error correction (FEC) acceleration.
If you want to learn more about the 4th Gen Intel Xeon Scalable platform, codenamed “Sapphire Rapids” you can check out our in-depth launch piece, or our video:
Intel says that with the new vRAN Boost it is getting a 2x performance per watt increase.
The new processors are also able to achieve 1TBps of 5G UPF performance using a dual socket server.
Intel is also announcing its Infrastructure Power Manager for 5G core software that it says is able to help manage the performance and power consumption of servers to greatly lower power consumption.
Intel is also showing its deployments and pilots for its vRAN technologies.
Still, it feels like the new accelerator enabled Xeons are the big story here.
5G vRAN/ ORAN has been a focus area for Intel for years. It is great to see that the company is progressing its efforts in this area. We have seen Xeon + FPGA demos previously, but this seems like both the AVX extensions plus the FEC accelerator. This is the type of customization that Intel integrates into its mainstream Xeons, but AMD is generally relying upon its Xilinx acquisition for its 5G efforts. There are also plenty of custom silicon providers such as Marvell in this space.