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Intel to Customize High-End Processors
11/20/2013

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Intel has already integrated onto its CPUs math coprocessors, memory controllers, graphics, I/O controllers, and now in-package memory with Knights Landing. Next will be high-speed switches, optical fabrics, next-generation storage, and 3D stacked memory CPUs. (Source: Intel)
Intel has already integrated onto its CPUs math coprocessors, memory controllers, graphics, I/O controllers, and now in-package memory with Knights Landing. Next will be high-speed switches, optical fabrics, next-generation storage, and 3D stacked memory CPUs.
(Source: Intel)

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R_Colin_Johnson
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Knights Landing in 14nm
R_Colin_Johnson   11/20/2013 10:40:07 AM
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One thing I forgot to mention is that the next-generation Xeon Phi will be implemented in Intel's 14-nanometer process technology--which should shrink the die even though the whole package may stay the same size or even grow depending on how many memory die are added is alongside the processor.

rick merritt
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Re: Knights Landing in 14nm
rick merritt   11/20/2013 11:12:58 AM
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It will be interesting to see if Intel uses the 2.5-D approach Xilinx pioneered or...

R_Colin_Johnson
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Re: Knights Landing in 14nm
R_Colin_Johnson   11/20/2013 11:15:41 AM
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I asked them specifically if they would use a 2.5-D silicon interposer, but all they would say is that it will be "high bandwidth".

krisi
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Re: Knights Landing in 14nm
krisi   11/20/2013 11:38:20 AM
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Colin, something is not adding up for me...in teh title you say "customize", that menas to me many different versions for different applications, customers, etc...but then you add "highest integration" which implies one die that can do many things...kind of contrary to "customization"...I must be missing something here...Kris

R_Colin_Johnson
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Re: Knights Landing in 14nm
R_Colin_Johnson   11/20/2013 11:41:51 AM
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Intel claims to be doing both--integration of more functions, but offering customizable versions to key customers.

LarryM99
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Re: Knights Landing in 14nm
LarryM99   11/20/2013 5:51:19 PM
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I have to wonder who those key customers might be and how much of the market they would involve. I know that hard-core PC gamers like to overclock their systems, but this would potentially go well beyond that. Is the Intel architecture really modular enough to support a chinese menu approach to CPU design? What kind of volume would be required to qualify as a "key" customer? And finally, what are the implications for the software tool chain to the modifications?

R_Colin_Johnson
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Re: Knights Landing in 14nm
R_Colin_Johnson   11/20/2013 6:14:10 PM
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@LarryM99

Good questions all, but I don't think many answers will be available until next year when we get some examples. To hazard a guess, I'd say Google, Amazon and the like are buying Xeons in suffiencent quantity to be a "key" customer. Also some supercomputers use a lot of cores all by themselves, such as Milky Way which just won the Top500 with over three million cores.

Sheetal.Pandey
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Re: Knights Landing in 14nm
Sheetal.Pandey   11/21/2013 12:55:03 PM
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Customizing high end processors is a good move from Intel. With increasing demands from datacenters like facebook, twitter and other sites the need for custmization has increased.

R_Colin_Johnson
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Re: Knights Landing in 14nm
R_Colin_Johnson   11/21/2013 2:30:53 PM
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Yes, its a matter of do it, or somebody else will!

Sanjib.A
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Re: Knights Landing in 14nm
Sanjib.A   11/25/2013 10:32:00 PM
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Thinking about Intel's customer, I guess IBM also would be a prominent name...isn't it? Since IBM claims to be the largest Cloud service provider and coming up with Big Data Analysis in a big way, I don't see a reason why Intel would not think about IBM as one of their key customers. What do you think?

R_Colin_Johnson
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Re: Knights Landing in 14nm
R_Colin_Johnson   11/26/2013 11:09:17 AM
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@Sanjob.A I don't see a reason why Intel would not think about IBM as one of their key customers. What do you think?

Absolutely. IBM, of course, has both x86 servers and its own POWER-8 based servers which it "customizes" itself.

prax_#1
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impact on ARM
prax_#1   11/22/2013 7:21:06 AM
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Colin, any insights on how this change in business model shall impact ARM's server dreams as ARM claims one advantage that OEMs get by adopting ARM servers is that servers can be customized as per the requirements?  

R_Colin_Johnson
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Re: impact on ARM
R_Colin_Johnson   11/25/2013 1:54:44 PM
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Hard to compare to ARM's customization efforts, since there are few details available from Intel on just how its customizaiton program will work, but the possibilities include adding additional features like specialized accelerators, tweaking existing features like higher clock rates more bandwidth, customizing using its own IP blocks or adding external IP from the customer.

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