Intel Xe-HPC GPU Status Update: 4 Process Nodes Make 1 Chip

Continuing today’s GPU news from Intel’s Architecture Day presentation, on top of the Xe-LP architecture briefing and Xe-HPG reveal, the company has also offered a brief roadmap update for their flagship sever-level part, Xe-HPC.

Better known by its codename of Ponte Vecchio, much to do has been made about Xe-HPC. The most complex of the Xe parts planned, it is also the cornerstone of the Intel-powered Aurora supercomputer. Xe-HPC is pulling out all of the stops for performance, and to get there Intel is employing every trick in the book, including their new-generation advanced packaging technologies.

The big revelation here is that we finally have some more concrete insight into what manufacturing processes the various tiles will use. The base tile of the GPU will be on Intel’s new 10nm SuperFin process, and the Rambo Cache will be a generation newer still, using Intel’s future 10nm Enhanced SuperFin process. Meanwhile it’s now confirmed that the Xe Link I/O tile, which will be used as part of Intel’s fabric to link together multiple Xe-HPC GPUs, will be built by an external fab.

That leaves the matter of the compute tile, the most performance-critical of the GPU’s parts. With Intel’s 7nm process delayed by at least six months, the company has previously disclosed that they were going to take a “pragmatic” approach and potentially use third-party fabs. And as of their Architecture Day update, they still seem to be undecided about – or at least unwilling to disclose – just what they plan on doing. Instead, the compute die is labeled as “Intel Next Gen & External”.

It’s an unusual disclosure, to say the least, as we’d otherwise expect the compute die to be made on a single process. But with no further commentary from Intel offered, make of that what you will. Perhaps they’re being straightforward, and they will actually use two very different process nodes for the compute die?