Intel is outing a lot of data points at today’s analyst day, some of which are known, others new. SemiAccurate has brought you the code names but the new specifics are worth paying attention to.
We will kick this off by saying that there are always new updates revealed during a presentation of this size so stay tuned for updates. That said the first big bang is the name of Sierra Forest’s successor, Clearwater Forest. Who knew? Clearwater Forest is a name so memorable we revealed it twice, whoops.
Intel’s latest CPU roadmap
Intel also tightened up the timing on Sierra Forest calling it 1H/2024 and it is still on Intel 7+nm/3, sort of. More on that in another story though, same for Granite Rapids. Speaking of which, Granite is now 2024, “(closely following Sierra Forest)”. Let us decode the PR-speak for you. If you say 1H that means Q2 because if you could say Q1 you would, or possibly ‘early’. Sierra is 1H so think mid-2024 not CES.
The curious bit is that Granite closely follows it, so lets say <1Q leter but not in 1H. So that puts Granite in 2H/2024 but early in 2H. If it was 1H, Intel would have said so but they didn’t so… In any case if this is a hard launch, this is a good sign for Intel on the process front. It shows the discipline Pat is forcing down some unwilling throats is paying dividends. Things like this plus data we can’t talk about is why SemiAccurate is positive on Intel’s mid-/long term prospects.
Moving back to Clearwater Forest, for the first time Intel is saying it is on 18a/5+nm. There is a reason that this device is not 20a but like Granite that is a topic for another article. Sierra is said to be in house, the silicon healthy, and now sports up to 144 cores. This is potentially a good sign for the 7nm generation of processes, if Intel is confident enough to message the full core count at this point rather than the 128 + 16 spare nomenclature of old, that is telling. Or could be, wait for Clearwater to hit the streets before you celebrate.
Moving back to Granite there is another tidbit that Intel revealed, it has over 1.5TBps of memory bandwidth in a 2 socket system. If you do the math that equates to DDR5/8800 which doesn’t exist nor will it when Granite launches. If you go back through my Twitter history and find the tweet from a year or so ago I couldn’t find to link for this story, you might get a clue. First one to send me the link wins nothing other than a shout out if I update the story.
Intel’s updated overall roadmap
Granite and Sierra are both sampling, Clearwater is running, and to take a hard left turn, Gaudi 3 has taped in. To make matters more off topic, Intel claims Alter… Intel is going release 15 new FPGAs this year and the next gen FPGAs are called, “Next Gen FPGAs”! Wow.
On the demo side, Intel is going to show off a 48 core Sapphire Rapids CPU beating a 48c Genoa by 4x in AI workloads. The take home message here is that even a 96c Genoa would be trounced by Sapphire in AI. While true this takes a fair bit of software work and optimizations, something which few will put the effort into doing. SemiAccurate doesn’t think this will sway many people to buy Intel over AMD but it does bring a large measure of flexibility into datacenters if needed. CPU specific accelerators don’t change the game, anyone with heavy AI workloads is going to go with a bespoke accelerator but this doesn’t hurt. …Unless Intel plays their normal pricing/SKU games in which case it very well could.
So that’s about it for our initial take on Intel’s analyst day. There aren’t really any products that SemiAccurate wasn’t expecting, nor are there any big bangs but there are a lot of important clarifications. If we had to distill it down to a single message, it would be that despite the doom and gloom surrounding Intel’s financials of late, the bottom up changes management is making are the correct ones. Execution is looking to be on track and things are moving in an upward direct albeit from a pretty awful starting point. Lets see how well this roadmap is stuck to, that is the key bit.S|A
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