Intel Brands Arctic Sound-M as Intel Flex Series Data Center GPUs

Intel Arctic Sound Full Height Card
Intel Arctic Sound Full Height Card

As if we did not have enough chip and accelerator news with Hot Chips 34 this week, Intel has another one for us. Intel has re-branded Arctic Sound-M as the Intel Flex 100 series with the Intel Flex 140 and Intel Flex 170.

Intel Brands Arctic Sound-M as Intel Flex Data Center GPUs

As a quick recap, Intel was planning to launch two PCIe Gen4 GPUs in Q3 2022. These were previously codenamed Arctic Sound-M. There was a 150W bigger GPU that was designed for more intensive tasks, but then a dual GPU 75W card that was designed to expose more video encoders/ decoders to a PCIe slot.

Intel Arctic Sound M Slide
Intel Arctic Sound M Slide

Intel offered a few performance vignettes for the new Intel Flex Series 140 GPU:

  • Delivers five times media transcode throughput, two times decode throughput at half the power (Intel Flex Series 140 GPU compared to NVIDIA A10).
  • Delivers up to 36 streams 1080p60 transcode throughput per card.
  • Delivers eight streams 4K60 transcode throughput per card.
  • The Flex Series GPU’s hardware-based, open-source AV1 encoder delivers more than 30% bandwidth savings. The Flex Series GPU’s media engine also supports and improves performance for broad range of industry CODECs including HEVC, AVC, and VP9
  • Leveraging Intel Deep Link Hyper Encode feature, the Intel Data Center GPU Flex Series 140 with two devices on a single card can meet the industry’s one-second delay requirement while providing 8K60 real-time transcode. This capability is available for AV1 and HEVC HDR (Source: Intel)

Based on the above, the 75W part seems to have become the Intel Flex 140.

Intel Arctic Sound Low Profile
Intel Arctic Sound Low Profile

The 150W part seems to be the Flex 170.

Intel Arctic Sound M 150W Conference Room
Intel Arctic Sound M 150W Conference Room

The two main use case areas at launch are video transcoding as well as Android gaming. On the Android gaming front Intel says:

It is validated on nearly 90 of the most popular Google Play Android game titles.

  • A single Flex Series 170 GPU can achieve up to 68 streams of 720p30, while a single Flex Series 140 GPU can achieve up to 46 streams of 720p30 (measured on select game titles).
  • When scaled with six Flex Series 140 GPU cards, it can achieve up to 216 streams of 720p30. (Source: Intel)

Final Words

One of the big hopes we have for the Arc GPU in the data center is that Intel goes after some of the expensive licenses like NVIDIA GRID for VDI and AI inferencing given the prices of T4/ A10 GPUs. Intel says that the features like AI, Windows cloud gaming, VDI, and so forth are to be enabled in the future. As a result, we asked what the pricing of the new cards will be and if we get that before the embargo we will update this piece. As it stands, these are video encoding and Android cloud gaming cards so it will be interesting to see how Intel prices them relative to NVIDIA.



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