Intel's latest Xeon chips based on Skylake due next year

Intel's latest Xeon chips could have more than 22 CPU cores

Intel has moved to a new architecture called Kaby Lake for its PC chips, but it isn't done with the previous generation Skylake yet.

The company will release new Xeon server chips based on Skylake in mid-2017, and they will boast big performance increases, said Barry Davis, general manager for the accelerated workload group at Intel.

The Skylake Xeon chips will go into mainstream servers and could spark a big round of hardware upgrades, Davis said.

Xeon chips aren't as visible as Intel's PC chips but remain extremely popular. Companies like Google, Facebook, and Amazon buy thousands of servers loaded with Xeon chips to power their search, social networking, and artificial intelligence tasks.

The chips are also used in workstations like HP's Z840 or Apple's Mac Pro for high-end engineering and virtual reality applications.

Intel will demonstrate the Skylake-based Xeon for the first time at an artificial intelligence event it's hosting next week in San Francisco.

The chips will succeed the Xeon E5 v4 chips based on the Broadwell architecture, which shipped early this year. The Broadwell-based Xeon chips had up to 22 cores, and the Skylake Xeons may have more.

Intel's mainstream Xeons typically ship in March, so the release of the Skylake chips are slightly delayed. That's perhaps because Intel's trying to make an aggressive push into machine learning, which is making companies rethink the way they analyze data and solve problems. The move toward machine learning is even driving changes in server configurations, with more customers buying servers with graphics processors.

Most of the recent Xeon E5s have shipped to cloud customers, which buy a large variety of Xeon chips, driving chip prices up, said Dean McCarron, principal analyst at Mercury Research.

Intel may be tuning the Skylake Xeons for AI, which demands a different kind of workload, compared to serial cloud tasks in which you get a record, process it, and compile the result. The AI workload is parallel, which is why GPUs have become popular. GPUs excel at parallel processing.

"Given this new workload development, it's likely Intel is tuning Xeon to that. That might mean some changes to software tools and tweaks in the instruction set, " McCarron said.

The new chips will boast advanced processing features that will bring big performance gains to AI tasks, Davis said. One such feature is support for AVX-512, which brings more floating point performance and security features to the chip. AVX-512 is being adapted from Intel's latest supercomputing chip, the 72-core Xeon Phi, which is code-named Knights Landing.

Another feature is on-chip support for Intel OmniPath, a proprietary high-speed interconnect that links servers, storage, networking, and other data-center hardware. OmniPath is key to new data-center designs in which storage and memory are pulled out of servers and put in discrete boxes that are interconnected. That helps cram more storage, memory, and processing into server installations while reducing electric bills.

Also coming next year is a new Intel deep-learning FPGA (field programmable gate array) that can be plugged into servers. The Intel Deep Learning Inference Accelerator is designed to compete with chips like Google's Tensor Processing Unit for inferencing to build more effective deep-learning systems.

The FPGA will come with a complete set of neural networking algorithms and can be used for image recognition and fraud detection. The chip is based on technology developed by Altera, which Intel acquired last year for US$67 billion.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags cpuintel

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Agam Shah

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?