Leaked Intel Xeon Roadmap Spells Out Ice Lake-X Plans For 2021
Intel's mixed experiences with transitioning to a 10nm process in the server, workstation and desktop space have been well documented over the past 18 months, but it appears that there may finally be light at the end of the tunnel for company dubbed Chipzilla. A new Xeon roadmap for 2020-22 has leaked via Videocardz.com, documenting Intel's intentions for the coming 18-month period in the professional space that includes both Ice Lake and Sapphire Rapids designs.
Featured in the roadmap are three major Xeon hardware categories: Dense, for AI/HPC/Compute servers; Mainstream, for more general purpose workloads with up to dual-socket solutions; and the value-oriented Entry segment. Each are currently catered to by a selection of 14nm Cascade Lake processors as part of the Intel Xeon Scalable and Advanced families. The roadmap delineates 'Shipping' lines with a green highlight. Products in the 'In Development', 'Planning | Next Gen' and 'Concept' phases are highlighted blue, purple and orange respectively.
In the Dense category, Walker Pass servers will persist through until 2022 as their highest end platform, but Buchanan Pass blades for the HPC and AI market will be replaced by Tennessee Pass solutions based around the Ice Lake X Xeon Scalable Processor family in 2021. It appears they are planning a rapid transition thereafter to Sapphire Rapids, particularly to implement PCIe 5.0 support in late 2021/early 2022.
2021 should also see a transition of Intel's mainstream segment to Ice Lake X and later Sapphire Rapids, with much more flexible platforms that support up to 32 DIMMS, 16 Non-Volatile Memory DIMMs and 8 PCIe Slots. 4-Socket solutions in 2021 will include the Cooper Lake platform announced in June, with a single-socket high-IO platform based on either Ice Lake or Sapphire Rapids also in the Concept stage.
The Entry segment should swiftly transition to a new processor design in 2021, but not 10nm. Rocket Lake processors will be part of Intel's Xeon E 'Tatlow' platform, which will be a professional/workstation variant of the 14nm Rocket Lake consumer chips also on the calender for early 2021. They will support dual-channel memory, potentially PCIe 4.0, and push the processor TDP up to 95W (from 80W).
Whitley meanwhile will supplant Sawtooth Pass and Mystic Pass Intel Scalable Processor platforms, utilising processors based on the Ice Lake architecture. These chips might also form the basis for Intel's 2021-22 enthusiast consumer desktop platform.
The roadmap makes no mention of Intel's plans for the mainstream consumer desktop segment into 2021, but a recent blog post by the Intel VP and GM of Client Computing Group Desktop, Workstations and Gaming reiterated that 'Rocket Lake' 11th Gen Core processors will arrive in 2021 and feature PCIe 4.0 alongside other updates.
So, if Intel appeared to be under the cosh in 2020, they certainly have plans to rectify the matter next year.