At Intel Architecture Day 2018, the company showed off something with scant detail. Tucked away in the breakfast nook of Robert Noyce’s former home was a tabletop demonstration of a new 10nm class Intel server processor. This unannounced processor has 100Gbps network offload plus H265 offload. I asked about the server SoC at the event, and the company’s representatives said they could not tell much about it. Here is what I learned.
Upcoming Intel 10nm SoC Demo
This demonstration, where I make an unexpected cameo, is showing a few things. First, it is showing ~100Gbps (99.44Gbps) of traffic being passed through the CPU. Intel was scant on the details and I could not get anyone to confirm if it was onboard 100GbE networking, QuickAssist at 100GbE speeds, or a combination thereof.
Second, it was showing the system handle a video stream input from a Logitech webcam, in the window where I am making a cameo. Second, it is playing back an H265 encoded title.
I asked and Intel said it was running both workloads on the same system, and that the point of the demo was to show the system was still usable while pushing 100Gbps of network traffic, working with at least two video streams, and still running an interactive GUI.
The Intrigue of the Chip: It is a new Server SoC Class
When I hear video offload, I immediately think, Intel Xeon E-2100 series with its iGPU or something akin to what we saw with the Intel Xeon E3-1585 V5 using Iris Pro. I asked if it was an Intel Xeon E-2100 series processor something like the E3-1500 series update and was told no.
When I see 100Gbps network offload, I think about either the Intel Xeon D-2100 series or Atom C3000 series which both have integrated network interfaces and some SKUs have QuickAssist. I asked if it was an Intel Xeon D-2100 successor or Atom C3000 successor and I was told no.
Intel has been around for decades and continues to make new products. I was wholly expecting this to be a successor product. Instead, I was told this new 10nm SoC would be an entirely new line of Intel server-class processors that have not been announced.
This 10nm SoC future product is clearly targeted at the 5G market with high-speed networking, of some sort, and video offload. We know that many companies are going to need video offload at the edge. What is really intriguing is that there are likely other use cases for such a device, and it is not an update to an existing line.
Should this product come to market, remembering Intel’s forward-looking statement slide’s caution, we will keep STH readers apprised of the platform. For now, Intel has something at least good enough they were willing to show to industry press.