Category Archives: Intel

Intel unveils its first chips built for AI in the cloud

Intel is no stranger to AI-oriented chips, but now it's turning its attention to those chips that might be thousands of miles away. The tech firm has introduced two new Nervana Neural Network Processors, the NNP-T1000 (below) and NNP-I1000 (above),…

Intel wants back in the tablet space with its new Tremont architecture

Intel wants back in the tablet space with its new Tremont architecture

Enlarge (credit: Microsoft)

Intel is unveiling its new “Tremont” ultra-low-power 10nm CPU architecture today at the Linley microprocessor conference in Santa Clara. Intel’s presentation on the new architecture says that usage will “span client, IoT, and datacenter products.” It’s a little too early for a laundry list of the actual devices that will be powered by Tremont, but we do know that the new dual-screened Surface Neo is among them; its Lakefield hybrid processor uses both high-powered Ice Lake and low-powered Tremont cores.

Tremont is the successor to last year’s Goldmont Plus, and Goldmont and Silvermont before it. These are the lowest-powered (and frequently, least expensive) CPUs in Intel’s lineup, and consumers will generally be more familiar with them by names like Celeron and Pentium N. You could occasionally find Celeron or Pentium N processors in extremely low-end retail generic Windows PCs, but they were more frequently seen in specialty items like the bare Linux router build we showed off back in 2016.

Overcoming some bad history

Pentium N and Celeron were generally well received—but then there was the Atom. Intel CPUs branded with the Atom name have traditionally been on the extreme low end in both power consumption and processing performance. A few years ago, I saw that Asus made an Intel-powered Android tablet, and naively, I assumed anything x86 would blow anything ARM out of the water, so I bought one for my son. It did not meet my unwarranted expectations; and its Atom Z3745 performed in line with this versus.com comparison between it and its contemporaneous Qualcomm Snapdragon competitor.

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Vodafone tests open cellular radio tech that could lower phone rates

Your wireless carrier is usually beholden to using proprietary cellular network tech from the likes of Ericsson or Nokia, but there may soon be a more universal technology that could benefit your bank account. Vodafone has started the first European…

Intel wants to use AI to reconnect damaged spinal nerves

AI's use in medicine could soon extend to one of the medical world's toughest challenges: helping the paralyzed regain movement. Intel and Brown University have started work on a DARPA-backed Intelligent Spine Interface project that would use AI to…

Intel’s 10th-gen X-series CPUs include an 18-core model under $1,000

You won't have to spend quite so lavishly to get an 18-core Intel Core X chip in your gaming rig. Intel has offered the first details of its 10th-generation Core X-series chips, and the flagship, 3GHz (4.8GHz turbo) Core i9-10908XE will pack 18 core…

Dell’s six-core XPS 13 laptop goes on sale October 1st

The latest version of Dell's XPS 13 — which is available with 10th-generation Intel Core processors — will go on sale October 1st in North America. It's the first six-core configuration for the system, which will come with Windows 10 or Ubuntu 18.0…

Intel and ESL extend their esports alliance with a $100 million deal

Intel and ESL have been esports buddies for years, but they're deepening that commitment as 2018 winds to a close. The two have extended their partnership with a $100 million deal that will last through 2021. Intel will provide the computing power…

Intel promises big boost to integrated GPU, breaks teraflop barrier

64 little grey boxes means 64 execution units, up from 24.

Enlarge / 64 little grey boxes means 64 execution units, up from 24. (credit: Intel)

Intel is promising a huge improvement to the performance of its integrated GPUs. Its generation 11 (“Gen11″) GPU will more than double the execution units from (usually) 24 to 64, and in so doing boost the number-crunching performance to more than 1 trillion floating point operations per second.

Just as the current Gen9 GPUs, Gen11 is arranged into blocks combining execution units (EUs) with dedicated 3D hardware such as texture samplers. Gen9 parts have up to 8 EUs per block, and the most-common configuration found in Intel’s processors, GT2, has three such blocks for a total of 24 EUs (though there are designs with six or nine blocks, for 48 or 72 EUs). Gen11 has 16 EUs per block and will have configurations with four blocks. It’s all these extra execution units that enable that headlining 1TFLOPS performance figure.

The new GPU will use a tile-based rendering approach, which divides the image into tiles that are all rendered separately. This tends to reduce the amount of memory bandwidth the GPU needs, which is valuable in integrated GPUs, as they lack the high-performance memory found in discrete parts. The Mali GPUs designed by ARM, along with Qualcomm’s Adreno GPUs, both use tile-based rendering, too.

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Intel unveils a new architecture for 2019: Sunny Cove

OK, it's not all that sunny, but it's a nice picture of a cove.

OK, it’s not all that sunny, but it’s a nice picture of a cove. (credit: Neil Williamson)

In 2019, Intel will release Core and Xeon chips built around a new architecture: the chips will add a bunch of new instructions to accelerate certain popular workloads such as cryptography and compression, with the company demonstrating 75-percent improvement in compression performance relative to prior-generation parts.

Since 2015, Intel’s mainstream processors under the Core and Xeon brands have been based around the Skylake architecture. Intel’s original intent was to release Skylake on its 14nm manufacturing process and then follow that up with Cannon Lake on its 10nm process. Cannon Lake would add a handful of new features (it includes more AVX instructions, for example) but otherwise be broadly the same as Skylake.

However, delays in getting its 10nm manufacturing process running effectively forced Intel to stick with 14nm for longer than anticipated. Accordingly, the company followed Skylake (with its maximum of four cores in consumer systems) with Kaby Lake (with higher clock speeds and much greater hardware acceleration of modern video codecs), Coffee Lake (as many as eight cores), and Whiskey Lake (improved integrated chipset). The core Skylake architecture was unchanged across these variations, meaning that while their clock speeds differ, the number of instructions per cycle (IPC) is essentially identical.

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Intel introduces Foveros: 3D die stacking for more than just memory

P1274 is Intel's name for its high performance 10nm process. P1222 is its 22FFL (22nm, FinFET, Low Power) process, which is optimized for much lower current leakage. As well as the Foveros connection between the compute and I/O modules, the product will use conventional stacked Package-on-Package memory.

Enlarge / P1274 is Intel’s name for its high performance 10nm process. P1222 is its 22FFL (22nm, FinFET, Low Power) process, which is optimized for much lower current leakage. As well as the Foveros connection between the compute and I/O modules, the product will use conventional stacked Package-on-Package memory. (credit: Intel)

In 2019, Intel is going to ship chips using a new 3D stacking technology the company is calling Foveros. Foveros allows complex logic dies to be stacked upon one another, providing a much greater ability to mix and match processor components with optimal manufacturing processes.

Package-on-package stacking is already commonplace in the system-on-chip world. Typically, this involves sticking a memory package on top of a processor, with perhaps a few hundred connections between the two. The size and performance of the connections has limited the application of this technique. With Foveros, the interconnect will use etched silicon (just as EMIB does) to enable many more interconnections, running at much greater speeds.

Foveros follows on from Intel’s EMIB (Embedded Multi-die Interconnect Bridge) tech. EMIB is found on the Kaby Lake-G processors that in a single package contain an Intel CPU, AMD GPU, and a chunk of second-generation High Bandwidth Memory (HBM). HBM achieves its high bandwidth by using thousands of interconnects between the GPU and its memory, in comparison to the several hundred used between a GPU and conventional GDDR. The Kaby Lake-G chips use EMIB to provide this connection.

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