Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Saturday, July 20, 2024

Intel to Ramp Up ‘Ice Lake’ Chip Production 

Intel Corp. used this week’s virtual CES 2021 event to reassert its dominance of the data center with the formal roll out of its next-generation server chip, the 10nm Xeon Scalable processor that targets AI and HPC workloads.

The third-generation “Ice Lake” family is Intel’s first at the 10nm process node, incorporating a new core architecture that incorporates more processor cores and faster input/output. The new server processor line includes bronze, silver, gold and platinum versions. After months of delays, the chip maker said Monday (Jan. 11) production shipments have begun with volume production ramping up throughout the first quarter of this year.

Ice Lake “represents a strategic part of our data center strategy,” said Navin Shenoy, executive vice president and general manager of Intel’s Data Platforms Group.

“Ice Lake delivers significant increases in core count, performance, integrated AI and security features across a wide variety of workloads,” added Gregory Bryant, Intel’s executive vice president. The AI capability would enable enterprise cloud services such as video analytics, the company said, along with the provisioning of microservices at the network edge.

The introduction of Ice Lake had been delayed as Intel struggled to refine its 10nm process technology. While providing few details this week, Intel has previously described the Ice Lake server processor along with its companion Whitley two-socket server platform. The combination increases the number of DDR4 memory channels to six per CPU.

Meanwhile, the company’s Optane persistent memory is supported with up to 6 TB per socket. The company also disclosed during last November’s SC20 that Ice Lake will deliver higher memory bandwidth.

As reported by sister web site HPCwire, Ice Lake offers an 18-percent performance increase over the previous generation Cascade Lake processor.

Early HPC customers for the Ice Lake server processor include the Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and a branch of Germany’s Max Planck Society.

Oracle (NYSE: ORCL) is also expected to deploy Ice Lake server processors to power its HPC cloud instances.

Intel’s (NASDAQ: INTC) stock rose in early trading on Tuesday (Jan. 12) on news of the Ice Lake production ramp and the release of other processor families.

According to reports, Intel is expected to announce an expanded partnership with foundry giant Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (NYSE: TSM) as it shifts to volume production of the 10nm server processor.

About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 30 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as executive editor of Electronic Engineering Times. Leopold is the author of "Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom" (Purdue University Press, 2016).