Intel to Deliver 72-Core Supercomputer Chip to Workstations

In an attempt to change the workstation game entirely, Intel intends to release their new 72-core supercomputer chip, code-named “Knight’s Landing”, to workstation machines as well as supercomputers.

Typically larger and more expensive than a typical desktop, workstations are typically used for processing-intensive tasks such as high-quality computer generated graphics, film editing and for computations and modelling in the science and engineering fields. Due to these professional applications, they also require more processing power, often using high-end desktop chips or even server chips like Intel’s Xeon. This new Knight’s Landing chip will be based on the Xeon Phi architecture, of which the current generation chips are used in systems such as Tianhe-2, the world’s most powerful supercomputer.

The aim of bringing these powerful chips to workstations as well as supercomputers is an experiment in making supercomputing available to researchers without access to a full-scale supercomputer to run computation on, or to allow writing and testing of code intended for Xeon Phi-based supercomputers before deployment to the supercomputer itself. And while current workstations make use of discrete coprocessors alongside production CPUs in order to supplement their power, Knight’s Landing will run both the main processor and coprocessing units on one chip, in concert, the system will be able to provide over 3 teraflops at peak.

While the idea of 72-cores on a processor may boggle the mind of most PC users used to between 2 and 8 cores, Knight’s Landing runs more like a modern graphics card, of which the top end chips have multiple thousands of single purpose cores. Further, Knight’s Landing possesses 16GB of MCDRAM, of which is claims has 5-times the bandwidth of consumer DDR4 RAM as well as lower power draw and higher density than GDDR5.

Intel will be handling initial distribution of these new workstations themselves, hoping to extend sales of the workstations and maybe even desktop variants through other partner companies. These machines will be far more limited than typical PCs, however due to the chip being highly integrated into the rest of the system and the OS and other tools being pre-loaded by Intel. And while this seems like it could bring a new face to desktop computing, Intel claims that currently the rollout is more of an experiment than an attempt to do so. The ambition is definitely there, though, after the dropping of its Larrabee chip back in 2010. This is just the start, Intel already has plans for the successor to Knight’s Landing, Knight’s Hill.

Could the future be a supercomputer in all of our homes be more real than we think? If Knight’s Landing succeeds in its experimental release, we could be seeing chips of this calibre on the consumer market all-too-soon; an exciting idea for sure!

Locked Kaveri A10-7800 Launched, Features 512 GCN Cores and 65W TDP

AMD has reportedly launched its locked Kaveri APU, the A10-7800, having it show similar specs as the A10-7850K. The only noticeable difference between the latter is that the A10-7800 has its cores locked, having its main advantage seen in the 65W TDP, 30W less than the A10-7850K and A10-7700K.

The A10-7800 is based on the Kaveri architecture, featuring the series’ full shader count as well as the Radeon R7 series architecture, having full 512 GCN 2.0 core count. In terms of CPU performance, the A10-7800 features Steamroller cores divided into two blocks, having support for both AMD’s Mantle API as well as DirectX 11.2 and support for DDR3-1866 MHz. The APU is shown to be clocked at 3.5 GHz, boasting it to 3.9 GHz during Turbo, in addition to the 720 MHz clock GPU-wise.

Comparing with the A10-7850K, the A10-7800 appears to feature a 200 MHz boost on base clock and 100 MHz boost during Turbo, while having its locked cores compensate with the 30W TDP difference. Even so, the chip is a valuable piece for casual gaming, having AMD’s Mantle support to give it a kick as well. Aside from the latter, the price is said to be more attractive, having it set somewhere between $140 and $150.

Thank you WCCFTech for providing us with this information
Images courtesy of WCCFTech

Intel Reveals Details Regarding Intel’s “Knights Landing” Xeon Phi Coprocessor

Intel has announcement the ‘Knights Landing’ Xeon Phi Coprocessor late last year, having released very few details about the lineup back then. As time passes, details are bound to be revealed and Intel is said to start shipping the series next year. This is why Intel apparently has decided to reveal some more details regarding the ‘Knights Landing’ Xeon Phi Coprocessor.

The announcement from last year points to the Knights Landing taking the jump from Intel’s enhanced Premium 1 P54C x86 cores and moving on to the more modern Silvermont x86 cores, significantly increasing the single threaded performance. Furthermore, the cores are said to incorporate AVX units, allowing AVX-512F operations and provide bulk Knight Landing’s compute power.

Intel is said to offer 72 cores in Knight Landing CPUs, with double-precision FP63 performance expected to reach 3 TFLOPS, having the CPUs boasting the 14nm technology. While this is somewhat old news, Intel revealed some more insights at the ISC 2014.

During the conference, Intel stated that the company is required to change the 512-bits and GDDR5 memory present in the current Knights Corner series. This is why Intel and Micron have apparently struck a deal to work on a more advanced memory variant of Hybrid Memory Cube (HMC) with increased bandwidth.

Also, Intel and Micron are said to be working on a Multi-Channel DRAM (MCDRAM) specially designed for Intel’s processors, having a custom interface best suited for Knights Landing. This is said to help scale its memory support up to 16 GB if RAM while offering up to 500 GB/s memory bandwidth, a 50% increased compared to Knights Corner’s GDDR5.

The second change made to Knights Landing is said to include replacing the True Scale Fabric with Omni Scale Fabric in order to offer better performance compared to the current fabric solution. Though Intel is currently keeping this information on a down-low, traditional Xeon processors are said to benefit from this fabric change in the future as well.

Lastly, compared to Intel’s Knights Corner series, the Knights landing will be available both in PCIe and socketed form factor, mainly thanks to the MCDRAM technology. This is said to allow the CPU to be installed alongside Xeon processors on specific motherboards. The company has also emphasised that the Knights Landing version will be able to communicate directly with other CPUs with the help of Quick Patch Interconnect, compared to current PCIe interface.

In addition to the latter, having the Knights Landing socketed would also allow it to benefit from the Xeon’s NUMA capabilities, being able to share memory and memory spaces with the Xeon CPUs. Also, Knights Landing is said to be binary compatible with Haswell CPUs, having the company considering writing programs once and running them across both types of processors.

Intel is expected to start shipping the Knights Landing Xeon Psi Coprocessor somewhere around Q2 2015, having the company already lining up its first Knights Landing supercomputer deals with National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center with around 9300 Knights Landing nodes.

Thank you Anandtech for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Anandtech

16 Cores CPU With Integrated PCIe 3.0 Controller Reportedly In Development By AMD

There are reports that a document published by AMD reveals some new information on their upcoming CPUs. It seems that AMD is working on a new 16-core processor, and that is a true 16 cores, thus not a an 12 CPU cores and 4 GPU cores combo or anything. And no it is not the existing AMD Opteron 6200 Series either. This is something new. Obviously such a processor would see a launch in the server segment first hence we think the processor will be a Opteron. The developer documents list the 16-Core CPU under the Family 15h Models 30h – 3fh.

This 16-core processor is said to have a full Uncore, which is a terminology for the functions of a microprocessor that are not in the Core like QPI controllers, L3 cache, on-die memory controller and so on. The PCI Express and SPI are typically merged into the chipset, not the Uncore.

Official information is not yet currently available on what technology or the family of the CPU cores are architected on, but the Family 15h Models 30h – 3fh indicate Steamroller CPU cores as previously released in AMD’s Kaveri APUs.

Thank you Guru3D for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Guru3D

Nvidia GeForce GTX 780 3GB Graphics Card Review

It’s that time of year again where NVIDIA have a new series of cards in the pipelines and as we have seen running up to today, the number of rumours and leaks that have been flying about are as profound as ever. For some this leads to pure confusion as to what is to be seen and what is complete rubbish, and for people like myself it leads to pure frustration as I know all the true facts and figures, meaning that when I see the rumours and false facts floating around I can do nothing but sit and wait until the NDA lifts to put a number of these claims to rest with the real specifications and performance figures behind the new cards.

So here we have it, the GTX 780 – the first in the new line of Kepler based 700 series cards and before we get too far into the nitty gritty of what’s new in the 700 series, I want to make the following fact clear and true – the GTX 780 CANNOT be flashed in any way to effectively turn it into Titan. There are a number of reasons for this; first off, whilst both cards share the same GK110 core, the 780 has far less CUDA cores, is a different revision of the core chip and has less texture units on-board. On top of this, there is also half the amount of video memory and a number of components in the power region of the PCB are missing as the 780 does not require these as opposed to Titan.

Point out of the way, NVIDIA’s new 700 series cards are here to replace the ever popular 600 series, although they are not a re-hash and re-brand of 6xx cards as some may presume. Whilst the GK110 cores may be featured on both 600 and 700 series cards, they will have subtle variances to them, mainly on the front of CUDA core count and texture filters and so forth.

So what is the 780 in relation to the 600 series cards. Whilst it may look like Titan, it is a slightly lower performing card. Titan is more geared towards users with multiple high resolution displays and thus the higher 6GB of GDDR5 memory that it encompasses. The 780 whilst still home to 3GB of GDDR5 is more aimed at users who are going to be gaming on a single screen at high resolutions with all the settings turned to 11. Over its predecessor, the GTX 680, the 780 has 50% more CUDA cores with a count of 2034, 50% more memory, up to 3GB from 2GB and overall a 34% increase in performance. Interestingly enough, GTX 580 users who upgrade to a 780 will see a whopping 70% gain in performance between the two cards and a 25-30% gain can also be found over AMD’s 7970.