Intel announces 14nm Knights Landing processor in Xeon Phi update
Intel will deliver a 14nm standalone CPU as the next generation of its Xeon Phi many integrated core (MIC) supercomputing platform. The firm disclosed details at the International Semiconductor Conference (ISC 2103) in Leipzig, where it also unveiled new 7100, 3100 and 5100 families of its current Xeon Phi Coprocessor lineup.
Codenamed Knights Landing, the next generation Xeon Phi will be produced on a 14nm process technology, according to Dr Rajeeb Hazra, vice president of Intel's data centre and connected systems group.
It is unclear whether this will be Intel's first 14nm chip, as the company declined to indicate an availability date for the product. An update of Intel's mainstream Core chips codenamed Broadwell was expected to debut on 14nm later this year, but recent press coverage has suggested this may be delayed until sometime in 2014.
However, Hazra did disclose that Knights Landing will be able to operate as a CPU in its own right, while the current Xeon Phi products are designed as PCI Express coprocessors that work in concert with standard Intel CPUs.
"The most significant aspect of where this takes innovation forward is that it is no longer simply a PCI Express coprocessor. It is also a standalone CPU," he said.
The reason for this move is that using a coprocessor to offload the processing burden is "unnatural" for programmers to code for, according to Hazra.
"They simply want the ability to take what they do on a single CPU today but have much more pervasive threading and parallelism and vectorisation going on. And that is what we will be doing in the next generation Xeon Phi processor," he added.
Knights Landing will also feature integrated on-package memory, in an attempt to boost performance by moving the memory as close as possible to the processor instead of using GDDR5 memory chips, as the current Xeon Phi coprocessors do.
Intel's presentation also demonstrated that future processors would integrate an on-chip fabric controller, pushing communic