Intel Bets Big On 10nm And Beyond: Reduces Scope Of Cooper Lake – An Upcoming Xeon Server Platform

Intel has confirmed (via a scoop by ServeTheHome) that they will be drastically reducing the scope of a major upcoming server platform based on the 14nm process. The reason? The company wants to dedicate all its resources to the transition to 10nm. While this news is going to be received with mixed feelings as far as investors are concerned, we feel that this is a step in the right direction as the company needs to rip the figurative band-aid off and move to 10nm post-haste if it wants to defend its market share.

Intel scraps Cooper Lake general availability, bfloat16 restricted to select clients for now

What this essentially means is that Intel will only be providing its Cooper Lake line of 14nm Xeon Scalable processors to large clients that usually deploy 4S and 8S configurations (think Facebook). Availability to the general customer has essentially been terminated. This is something that will likely make a big change in the market dynamics as far as servers go. Here's the catch though, Cooper Lake as a 14nm platform was added as an intermediary before 10nm when it seemed like the delays would mount higher and higher - and therein lies the silver lining.

Depending on how you read this, it means that Intel is fairly confident of delivering on its 10nm promise - the point where they are scrapping the intermediary platform as far as general availability goes.

Unfortunately, however, Cooper Lake was set to introduce bfloat 16 instructions inside the AVX 512 vector units - something that is used readily by machine learning algorithms and could have provided significant speedup to those applications. As far as financials go, the biggest customer for bfloat16, Facebook, will be getting their promised delivery of Cooper Lake. The little guys, on the other hand, will have to wait for 10nm parts to arrive.

Here is the complete disclosure Intel made to ServeTheHome:

  • Intel constantly evaluates our product roadmaps to ensure we are positioned to deliver the best silicon portfolio for data center platforms.
  • Given the continued success of our recent expansion of 2nd Gen Xeon Scalable products, in addition to customer demand for our upcoming 10nm Ice Lake processors, we have decided to narrow the delivery of our Cooper Lake products that best meets our market demand.
  • Intel’s upcoming Cooper Lake processors will be supported on the Cedar Island platform, which supports standard and custom configurations that scale up to 8 sockets.
  • We continue to expect delivery of Cooper Lake starting in the first half of 2020.
  • Customers, including some of the largest AI innovators today, are uniquely interested in Cooper Lake’s enhanced DL Boost technology including the industry’s first inclusion of bfloat16 instruction processing support.  We expect strong demand for the technology and processing capability with certain customer segments and AI usages in the marketplace that support deep learning for training and inference use cases.
  • Intel’s upcoming 10nm Ice Lake processors will be introduced on the upcoming Whitley platform.
  • Intel remains on track for delivery of 10nm Ice Lake CPUs later this year.
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