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Leo Says Ep.50 – Intel Hot ‘n’ Spicy!

Today we are back and pleased to hit the 50-episode milestone for Leo Says! In this Half-Century special, Leo is one again looking closely at Intel and the latest news surrounding the company. There's more discussion about Xe GPUs, Ponte Vecchio, and a look ahead to both Alder Lake and Tiger Lake CPUs…

Watch the video via our VIMEO Channel (Below) or over on YouTube at 2160p HERE


00:00 Video Start
00:13 Leo is in a party mood
01:23 Intel has 6 pillars of technology (no really they do).
01:46 Brushing under the carpet
02:52 What has Intel wanted to talk about?
05:18 Intel Graphics!
08:25 Tiger Lake

Leo's notes:

Leo Says 50 – Intel, Hot and Spicy

Intel recently held an Architecture Day and soon after that Raja delivered an address at Hot Chips 2020 which was held as a virtual event this year. So yes, I paid money to hear Raja talk! Intel sent a gift box to those of us who signed up for Hot Chips and while it was a generous gesture it seemed like a bold move to associate Intel’s name with ‘Real Hot’. On a separate note I recently had a birthday and Techtesters kindly sent me cake and alcohol which was damn gracious of them.

Intel has Six Pillars of Technology which are: Software, Security, Interconnect, Memory, XPU Architecture and Process & Packaging

Judging by documents I have seen, Intel is unsure whether they will hang on to the Aurora design win and are now talking about how they will ‘…deliver the technology foundation for the Aurora supercomputer, which is designed specifically for the convergence of artificial intelligence and high-performance computing at extreme computing scale.’ My best guess is that Aurora will ship with graphics from another vendor that may later be swapped out for Ponte Vecchio.

Intel has grand plans for the future that involve clever packaging that stitches chips together and stacks them as high as you like. There will be no need to worry about process technology and Moore’s Law will continue to live as they pack more transistors into millimetres cubed, rather than millimetres squared. Perhaps it will work and perhaps not but there can be little doubt that 2020 is ending on a dismal note for Intel.

Intel confirmed that Alder Lake, launching in H2 2021, is a hybrid with big Sunny Cove and little Gracemont cores. That sounds like a laptop processor to me and I have to wonder whether 12th Gen Alder Lake-S on the desktop with a new LGA1700 motherboard will make any sense.

It was noticeable that Intel did not talk about 11th Gen Rocket Lake which is launching later this year on the current LGA1200 socket. This CPU is due to deliver PCIe Gen 4 while the core count drops from 10 to 8. Perhaps Intel will push the all-core Turbo beyond 5GHz but how can this 8-core CPU possibly match AMD Zen 3?

Intel XE-LP is in production as DG1 and shipping later this year. We first expect to see Xe graphics in Tiger Lake which is due to be launched in the very near future. Intel announced their  Xe-HP graphics are sampling to data centre customers. These are very high power GPUs that may or may not cause sleepless nights for Nvidia. Xe-LP and Xe-HP use Intel 10nm SuperFin but we expect the Xe-HPG gaming graphics chip will be built by TSMC.

Incidentally, Nvidia RTX 3090 is rumoured to be a triple slot design that pulls 250W for the GPU and 330W-350W for the graphics card as a whole. Don’t expect to see Ampere GPUs coming from TSMC this year as the first Amperes are all rumoured to be Samsung chips.

Intel Tiger Lake will use Willow Cove cores on a 10nmSF process – the SF stands for SuperFin transistors. By the look of it the ‘new’ Willow Cove cores in Tiger Lake are very similar to Sunny Cove (found in Ice Lake) except they use SuperFin which enables them run at a proper clock speed. That is clearly welcome however the rumour is that the change from Sunny Cove to Willow Cove requires 30 percent more power.

If that is true it take a considerable amount of shine off 10nm SuperFin and that will mark the end of a particularly grim 2020 for Intel.

KitGuru says: Be sure to let us know your thoughts and if you agree (or disagree) with Leo. Love him, or hate him – he says it, cause he means it!

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