This weekend, I was going back through slides from the Intel Architecture Day 2018 preparing a few pieces for the week, and I noticed a few things. Materials from the event were sent out later that evening, and, like always, there were a few differences between what gets sent out and what was presented. The photos I took quickly with my phone during the event caught one slide that had something interesting: it appears to show in increase in Intel Xeon D focus between 2018 and 2021.
Intel Xeon D on the Architecture Day 2018 Platform Scale Slide
Here is the slide which you can click to expand. Think of the diagram as a tree trunk slice, with each band representing a year from 2016 through 2021. The lines radiate out towards their platform and swimlanes denote where boundaries are. We tried mapping this to the public roadmap and think that there is some difference between what is out and what is on this list so it may not be entirely accurate. At the same time, it may show some interesting product moves.
There are a few easy points to pick out here. So we wanted to highlight them. Before we get into this, we wanted to point out that this is an incomplete chart at best. There is some unlabeled light blue series. We think there is customer collaboration outside of New business and Gov segments.
FPGA Explosion in Branded Boards
First, you can see branded FPGA boards (red dots) are picking up with several in the 2019 timeframe with the lines stretching into 2021. As we have seen Xilinx Alveo boards come out more frequently, it seems that Intel may be following suit.
As you can see, the rate at which branded FPGA boards are shown on that chart is increasing with six boards from 2019 to 2021. Note, there were only six branded boards noted from 2016 to 2019. Since we know this is a strategic direction for Xilinx, and Intel already has branded boards, this is something that we see as plausible.
The blue dots to the left (not circled) are “Customer Cloud Board” lines per the legend.
Intel Xeon E Void
Perhaps the strangest part of this “roadmap” chart is that Intel Xeon E is barren in 2020 or 2021. That gives us options that the Intel Xeon E-2100 is a very short line or that this is not a complete roadmap.
If you look at the history of the line which we have in our piece: Looking back at Intel Xeon E3-1200 V1-V6 to the New Xeon E-2100, you can see that this market closely follows the consumer line. They sometimes have different clock speeds, they have ECC support, but the Intel Xeon E series follows consumer lines closely, and we do not think Intel is going to stop making consumer CPUs.
Intel Xeon D Explosion
The first part of this chart that caught our eye was the Intel Xeon D. Yellow dots are product concepts here. Dark blue dots on the legend are reference platforms.
Here you can see three lines from 2016 through 2018. There is a short-lived line from 2018 to 2019. After that, one can see a series of five platform lines starting up in 2019. This seems to indicate that the Intel Xeon D line that we have been covering closely in the Intel Xeon D-1500 and Intel Xeon D-2100 generations may be an area that Intel is investing in.
The lines on this chart seemed too methodical to be completely random, yet the chart seems too sparse to be complete. For STH readers, it may make sense that the Intel Xeon D is getting expanded features. We know shops like Facebook and telecom equipment companies are using them. We also found that there are undocumented or “under-reported” features like we found the Intel Xeon D-2100 performs like a part with dual port FMA AVX-512 rather than single port FMA AVX-512 like the Intel Xeon Silver and Gold 5100 lines, as the spec sheet says.
Since we are getting into the second half of December, and many have office life slowing down giving way to holiday parties, this chart may be a fun topic to bring up in conversation.
Of course, since these would fall under forward-looking statements, one of Intel’s favorite slides says that this is all subject to change.