Intel is planning to launch its dedicated GPU lineup next year across a wide range of markets. These GPUs will be called Xe and the codename of the project is “Arctic Sound”. We expect team blue to launch the first wave of Xe GPUs by mid-2020, most likely at Computex.
As per a report from Videocardz, the company is working on a 7nm GPU lineup called Ponte Vecchio for exascale computing. As such you can expect hundreds or even thousands of individual GPUs working in parallel in a Data Center or an HPC lab.
Exascale computing refers to computing systems capable of at least one exaFLOPS, or a billion billion (i.e. a quintillion) calculations per second. Such capacity represents a thousandfold increase over the first petascale computer that came into operation in 2008.Wikipedia
“Ponte Vecchio” is an old stone bridge in Florence, Italy. Intel seems to have taken after AMD as the company started codenaming its server parts after major Italian cities (Rome, Naples, Genoa). Why these GPUs are named after a bridge: well Ponte Vecchio will leverage Intel’s CXL (Compute Express Link) to synchronize all the graphics processors, hence the name.
Keep in mind that CXL and most likely Ponte Vecchio won’t be used in gaming graphics cards (at least not in the beginning) and will largely be limited to Data Centers and workstations. For now, DX12’s multi-GPU API will have to do regardless of how efficient or inefficient it may be.
According to reports, Intel will unveil the details on a secret project “Aurora” on 17th of November. It will reportedly include:
- Sapphire Rapids Xeon CPUs based on the 7nm Goldencove core
- Ponte Vecchio GPUs also based on the 7nm node
- And lastly Intel’s OneAPI, a new API (for GPUs?)
- Aurora is expected to be launched in 2021
Vecchio is rumored to use the Foveros 3D packaging technology in addition to the CXL interconnect. And more importantly, it has been confirmed that the Xe graphics cards will use HBM memory, something Raja Koduri inadvertently disclosed while talking to a Russian channel.
Lastly, in case you were wondering, these slides also mention the markets Intel’s Xe graphics cards will target. These are: HPC, Deep Learning, Cloud GFX, Media Transcore Analytics, Workstation, Gaming, PC Mobile and Ultra Mobile. Looks like Intel is looking to break into every market from handheld devices to gaming, AI as well as Cloud and Data Center. Let’s see how it plays out.