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More Info Released About Intel's 'Knights Landing' Processors

June 27, 2014


More information is being revealed about Intel’s (News - Alert) new Xeon Phi processors, code-named “Knights Landing.”

The latest info comes from Intel announcements at the International Supercomputing Conference being held in Leipzig, Germany. It builds on recent rumors and limited prior announcements.

It is known that Knights Landing will replace Intel’s Pentium 1 x86 cores with Silvermont x86 cores. It is powerful, as well. Knights Landing will provide 3 teraflops per second in one processor socket. That is three times the strength of the current chip, Knights Corner.

In addition, Knights Landing will be a “standalone CPU, as opposed to solely being a co-processor card sitting in a PCI (News - Alert)-Express slot,” according to a report from ZDNet.

“The form factor change means Knight's Landing will fit into a wide range [of] workstations and supercomputer clusters, opening up the chip for far broader use than its predecessor,” the report adds.

As a result, Intel, a UNICOM (News - Alert) Engineering client, may increase its share of the high-performance computing [HPC] market. Only 17 of the world’s 500 top supercomputers use Intel's Xeon Phi co-processor. In contrast, some 44 use Nvidia's Tesla GPU-based co-processor boards.

In addition, the new Knights Landing chip will use Omni Scale interconnect fabric. Fudzilla explains Omni Scale is “mysterious.” Yet, Intel has revealed it “would be a scalable future-proof platform that would support everything from PCIe adapters, edge switches, director systems, to Intel’s own silicon photonics and open software tools.”

Intel is predicting more demand for supercomputing, too, with the company projecting its HPC revenues will jump by more than 20 percent a year by 2017.

It appears that the upgraded chip is a move toward the computing sector to build an exascale computing system, as well – which would provide 1,000 times the performance of the world's fastest supercomputer in 2008, ZDNet said. "The race to exascale at the end of the decade is one of the goals we've all got our eye on in the HPC market," Charlie Wuischpard, general manager of HPC at Intel, told ZDNet. “As we head towards exaflop, issues of power consumption, network bandwidth, I/O, memory, resilience and reliability all become large problems to solve.”

It was reported, as well, that Knights Landing will be available in systems in the second half of 2015.

Knights Landing uses a 14 nanometer process node and an integrated on-package memory, Fudzilla said. It also will have 16GB of stacked memory based on Micron’s Hybrid Memory Cube technology, the report adds. For Knights Landing, Intel and Micron will use a variant of HMC designed for Intel’s processor, and is called Multi-Channel DRAM (MCDRAM). Knights Landing will be available in a PCIe card form factor or a socketed form factor, Anand Tech further reported.


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