Intel finally released its first commercially available Larrabee derivative, the Intel Xeon Phi co-processor 5110P. Basically it has 60x four thread x86 64-bit cores with enhanced vector units. 30MB of L2 cache for each chip breaks down to 512KB per core. The Intel Xeon Phi 5110P coprocessor is a passively cooled card with a 225w TDP meant for HPC applications. The special edition parts used in TACC’s Stampede supercomputer had 61 cores and a 300w TDP. The cards are manufactured on Intel’s 22nm 3D tri-gate process and still have twice the TDP of high-end Intel Xeon E5 chips on the 32nm process. Clearly, these are big parts! Here is a list of the Intel Xeon Phi coprocessor family.
Interestingly enough, the Xeon Phi 3100 series may find its way into high-end workstations in 2013. One can tell that they are 57 core parts with 6GB of GDDR5 compared to the 8GB on the 5110 series. I covered the Intel Xeon Phi family and TACC’s Stampede on Tom’s Hardware. That is a cool piece if you have never seen a supercomputer being built.
The breakthrough with the Intel Xeon Phi is that it is not GPU based. Instead, it looks more like a Linux cluster node. It runs Linux on-card which does occupy one core. The cards though can execute code themselves. Here is Intel’s view on execution models with Intel Xeon E5’s:
As one can see, the Intel Xeon Phi can be used fairly flexibly. One other major point that Intel stressed was the ability to use OpenMP directives to optimize both for current generation Intel Xeon E5 and Xeon E3 series CPUs, but also Intel Xeon Phi. That means the same framework is used for the Intel Xeon E5-2690 as is used for the Intel Xeon Phi. Sure, the Xeon Phi costs a few thousand dollars much like two Xeon E5-2690‘s but it offers 2x or more improvement in tasks that are highly parallel and can take advantage of the architecture.
Of course, here is an obligatory die shot:
Intel Xeon Phi 5110P Pricing
The Intel Xeon Phi Coprocessor 5110P is shipping to OEMs already with general availability on January 28, 2013. The Xeon Phi 5110P has a MSRP of $2,649. The Intel Xeon Phi coprocessor 3100 series will be available 1H 2013 with a sub $2,000 MSRP.
Thinking back ten years ago, who would have thought something like this would be in the market. It does make me salivate at the upcoming Haswell, Atom and ARM war though. These are signs of things to come not just in the x86 and super computing space, but these architectures are going to migrate into cloud applications soon enough.
I also have a bunch of pictures from the trip to the TACC and Stampede being assembled. Let me know if any of that is of interest to you.