Intel has been discussing its Sapphire Rapids Xeon (Q2 2022) a lot lately. We covered it a few days ago as part of Intel Architecture Day 2021. A few days later, we now have another talk focusing on the Sapphire Rapids Xeon. Again, excuse typos as this is being covered live at the show.
Intel Sapphire Rapids Xeon at Hot Chips 33
First, we get new Sapphire Rapids looks. We had a look during Architecture Day 2021, but we got a look with and without the heat spreader. Something that is becoming a theme is that either Intel is focusing on employees with smaller-sized hands or Sapphire Rapids is going to be a bigger chip (our bet is squarely on the latter.)
For those that missed our previous piece, Sapphire Rapids Xeons will be made by utilizing multiple chips combined using EMIB for interconnects. This will bring us more cores, faster UPI, more acceleration engines, PCIe Gen5 and CXL 1.1, DDR5, and even HBM integration on some SKUs.
One of the newer slides (or one we did not cover previously) is the IO Virtualization. Here, we have Shared Virtual Memory and Scalable IO Virtualization. Shared Virtual Memory provides a consistent coherent view of memory regardless of what is doing the computation. S-IOV is the update to SR-IOV which will help better virtualize direct access to accelerators by virtual machines and containers.
One of the other key advancements is the Intel Dynamic Load Balancer that can help balance work across processors with up to 400 million load balancing decisions per second. As Intel adds more cores across multiple tiles, load balancing is more important.
Again, another interesting option is that for higher-performance workloads that need more memory bandwidth, there is a HBM option that allows for both capacity and bandwidth. As we covered previously, Sapphire Rapids will not have HBM by default as it adds a lot of cost to a SKU. We have to remember that on a percentage basis HBM would add a huge amount of cost to lower-end SKUs such as the current Intel Xeon Silver line. As a result, adding HBM must be optional for economics to work.
Overall, some new items, and a lot to be excited about.
There was a big disclosure being made. Intel said it was not supporting CXL Type-3 devices in the Sapphire Rapids generation. From our recent Intel Hot Interconnects 2021 CXL Keynote Coverage these are the CXL types:
This is very interesting since the Type 3 devices include those such as the Samsung CXL Memory Expander with DDR5. That was disclosed at HC33 and the STH team cannot recall this omission being disclosed previously.
This presentation had a bit more disclosure, but given it came less than a week after the Intel Details Sapphire Rapids Xeon at Architecture Day 2021 disclosure and the fact that Intel Sapphire Rapids Xeon slipped to Q2 2022, it seems like there was not a lot of net-new at Hot Chips 2021. Intel needs to get Sapphire Rapids out on time now that we are starting to hear details.