Intel touts latest Xeon processor for scaling 5G networks


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Intel launched its latest datacenter platform in the form of the 3rd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processors.

The Santa Clara, California-based chipmaker said that the processors deliver a 46% performance increase on datacenter workloads. The server chips with integrated AI will power cloud-native datacenters and applications such as 5G networks, cryptography, drug discovery, and confidential computing. For 5G, the new chips deliver on average 62% more performance on network and 5G workloads.

In an online briefing, Intel executive vice president Navin Shenoy said Intel has added advanced security with Intel Software Guard Extension and Intel Crypto Acceleration. Intel has shipped more than 200,000 chips for revenue in the first quarter, and Intel has more than 250 design wins for the chips with 50 partners, 15 telecom equipment and communications firms, and 20 high-performance computing labs.

AT&T said it is seeing 1.9 times higher throughput and 33% more memory capacity with the combo of the Intel Xeon Scalable processors and Intel Optane Persistent Memory, so the network can serve the same number of subscribers at higher resolution or a greater number of subscribers at the same resolution. Verizon and Vodafone also said they’re using the new Xeons. With the chips, Intel said communication service providers can increase 5G user plane function performance by up to 42%.

The chip uses Intel’s 10-nanometer manufacturing process (equivalent to the 7-nanometer process of rivals based on nomenclature), and it delivers up to 40 cores per processor and up to 2.65 times higher average performance gain compared to five-year-old systems.

Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger said in an online briefing that the past year companies have been forced to undertake a warp-speed cloudification of infrastructure to serve remote workforces, and he said the new processors have flexible architecture for advanced security and built-in AI to handle processing from the edge to the cloud.

“Technology is like magic,” he said. “It has the power to improve the lives of every person on the planet. It’s a new day at Intel. We are no longer just the CPU company.”

Above: Intel Xeon

Image Credit: Intel

He said Intel combines software, silicon, and manufacturing to differentiate itself from rivals. The company will operate internal factories, strategically use foundry services to make Intel chips with the help of outside contract manufacturers, and offer its own foundry services to others.

“With a backdrop of fierce competition, Intel is leading with its strengths with its 3rd Gen Xeon processors,” said Patrick Moorhead, an analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, in a message to VentureBeat. “The company is offering a platform approach to provide its partners solutions incorporating CPUs, storage, memory, FPGAs and networking ASICs. This is in addition to its ability to leverage resources for co-marketing and co-development. I also believe the company is differentiated with its on-chip ML inference and cryptographic capabilities versus its closest competitors.”

The latest hardware and software optimizations deliver 74% faster AI performance compared with the prior generation and provide up to 1.5
times higher performance across a broad mix of 20 popular AI workloads versus AMD Epyc 7763 and up to 1.3 times higher performance on a broad mix of 20 popular AI workloads versus Nvidia A100 GPU, Intel said.

Above: Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger touts the latest Intel Xeon Scalable processors.

Shenoy said its security-focused SGX protects sensitive code and data with the smallest potential attack surface within the system. It is now available on two-socket Xeon Scalable processors with enclaves that can isolate and process up to a terabyte of code and data to support the demands of mainstream workloads.

And Shenoy said Intel Crypto Acceleration delivers performance across a variety of important cryptographic algorithms. Businesses that run encryption-intensive workloads, such as online retailers who process millions of customer transactions per day, can leverage this protection without impacting user response times or overall system performance.

Intel said that more than 800 of the world’s cloud service providers run on Intel Xeon Scalable processors, and all of the largest cloud service providers are planning to offer cloud services in 2021 powered by the newest chips. HP Enterprise said it has launched new computers across eight different models with the new Xeons, and it uses AMD’s latest Epyc processors as well.


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