Intel readies 15-core Ivytown server chip

Word first got out about Intel’s 15-core Ivytown chip last December. At the International Solid-State Circuits Conference this week, the chipmaker revealed more about the upcoming server processor—including clock speeds, thermal envelopes, and a launch time frame. PC World has the details.

The site says Ivytown, which will "likely be announced next week," will belong to the Xeon E7 series. It will be aimed at four- and eight-socket servers, and Intel will offer variants clocked from 1.4GHz to 3.8GHz with thermal envelopes between 40W and 150W. Ivytown’s 15 cores will all have Hyper-Threading, meaning each processor will have the ability to juggle up to 30 threads in parallel. There will be 40 on-chip PCI Express lanes, as well.

As PC World points out, AMD already offers 16-core server processors as part of the Opteron 6300 series. AMD recently extended that lineup with a low-power "Warsaw" offering, which has a 2GHz base speed, a 2.5GHz Turbo peak, and a 99W TDP. Other Opteron 6300-series models have 115W or 140W TDPs, and they’re clocked as high as 2.8GHz with Turbo peaks of up to 3.5GHz.

Of course, those AMD chips are fabricated on a 32-nm SOI process. Ivytown will presumably be fabbed using Intel’s 22-nm process with tri-gate transistors. The smaller geometries likely explain at least in part why Intel will be able to cram 15 cores into a 40W thermal envelope.

Comments closed
    • ronch
    • 9 years ago

    I hope Intel doesn’t use ‘Funky Town’ as the codename for some future chip…

    • jihadjoe
    • 9 years ago

    Isn’t EX updated like every other generation?

    The last EX chips are still Nehalem, Sandy only went up to -EP.
    I’d expect the next update to EX will be with Broadwell.

    • ronch
    • 9 years ago

    Nobody needs 16 cores. 15 is just right.

    • ronch
    • 9 years ago

    You want Zero Core? Here you go. Scroll down to the last paragraph.

    [url<]http://www.amd.com/us/products/technologies/gcn/Pages/gcn-architecture.aspx[/url<]

    • ronch
    • 9 years ago

    So many questions. Just be thankful Intel can give you 15 cores. AMD cannot give you 15 cores even if they wanted to, at least not with the Bulldozer architecture. AMD have no choice but to give you 16.

    /s

    • ronch
    • 9 years ago

    [quote<]AMD has nothing in this space.[/quote<] Intel has 15-core processors. AMD has [b<][u<]16-core[/b<][/u<] processors. /sarcasm...... but yeah, 16 is 16.

    • brucethemoose
    • 9 years ago

    Chicken and the egg.

    Devs also don’t want to make that killer “mainstream” app that needs 8+ threads because most CPUs don’t have 8+ threads.

    • Krogoth
    • 9 years ago

    No, it is because there’s no killer app in the mainstream that makes dual-core and quad-core CPUs of yesterday woefully inadequate.

    Until that app comes around. Intel and AMD have no economic incentive to make massive multi-core chips(8 cores+) for the mainstream market.

    • mganai
    • 9 years ago

    Which figures, with the triple QPI.

    • NeelyCam
    • 9 years ago

    THEN WAR IT IS!!1!

    • NeelyCam
    • 9 years ago

    I want one of those 0-core chips. I bet the power consumption is so low that passive cooling is enough.

    I.e., that math is fuzzier than accounting math on earnings results. Why would anyone start counting from zero?

    • mganai
    • 9 years ago

    CPU segments always have several codenames (e. g. Shark Bay for Haswell).

    • mganai
    • 9 years ago

    And so it goes.

    Wait for Haswell-EX and stuff.

    • Klimax
    • 9 years ago

    That would be covered by E5… Intel is simply everywhere. And same goes for per-core licensing for most of loads…

    • dashbarron
    • 9 years ago

    Everything’s waiting for you

    • Wirko
    • 9 years ago

    Core counting starts at 0. Try conting from 0 to 15, you’ll see it’s power-of-two-kosher.

    • Flying Fox
    • 9 years ago

    Seems more like an adjective in this case, but hey, the word can be used in multiple forms and contexts!

    I wonder if the man himself will be counter-Krogothed by this?

    • brucethemoose
    • 9 years ago

    You have to make ALOT of money to cover a Xeon E7 in the first place. Alot of companies simply can’t justify $150,000 or more in software+hardware alone, so there’s always a need for cheap alternatives.

    No, the problem with AMD is power efficiency.

    • Klimax
    • 9 years ago

    What room. AMD has nothing in this space. (Just cost of software in target market is more then enough to erase cost of CPU)

    • Klimax
    • 9 years ago

    Only because those consoles have very weak CPU. Nothing good 4/4(worst case 4/8) can’t handle…

    • UnfriendlyFire
    • 9 years ago

    But they were so cost-efficient for gaming, especially when games back around 2010 rarely had quad-core support.

    Two cores for gaming, one core for background stuff.

    Bonus if you could unlock the 4th core.

    • jihadjoe
    • 9 years ago

    To spite lovers of even numbered core counts.

    • Ringofett
    • 9 years ago

    There’s definitely desktop/workstation workloads that’d benefit, so it wouldn’t be all “meh” to the right folks.

    But worth pointing out that you’re right for one reason: Intel has no reason to push > 6 cores in to the workstation range, because AMD has nothing to come close to competing to that, which is sad and a real-world example of how AMD’s failure is hurting consumers… Not that there’s anything that can be done about it. :/

    • blastdoor
    • 9 years ago

    I guess we can look forward to Sandymere, Hasbridge, Nehalwell….

    • Srsly_Bro
    • 9 years ago

    LOL. you’re totally right.

    • Game_boy
    • 9 years ago

    You mean (2^n)-1. Not the same thing.

    • NeelyCam
    • 9 years ago

    ARM A12 was bad enough… but now they have an [i<]A17[/i<]. A friggin' prime number!! It's like they did it intentionally to piss me off

    • GrimDanfango
    • 9 years ago

    One more core, and the world shall have returned to equilibrium.

    • the
    • 9 years ago

    Rather the cores are arranged in a 3 x 5 grid.

    • the
    • 9 years ago

    Since socket G34 uses two dies, a quad socket G34 system has as many hops as an older 8 socket F motherboard. The topologies are virtually identical.

    At one point AMD was rumored to have a single die product for socket G34 and that would have allowed it to easliy scale to 8 sockets. Of course, this product never made it to market.

    • Chrispy_
    • 9 years ago

    3×5 is a better fit for connecting cores to the cache and their bus.

    [url=http://images.anandtech.com/doci/7285/OverviewIVB3dies.png<]This diagram[/url<] explains the dual-cache islands that produce odd numbers (three rows not two) despite it not actually containing any odd-numbered SKUs

    • NeelyCam
    • 9 years ago

    [quote<]Say something contentious![/quote<] If you usually disagree with me, it means you're usually wrong. How about that..?

    • Srsly_Bro
    • 9 years ago

    AMD’s tricore CPUs were pretty terrible iirc.

    • UnfriendlyFire
    • 9 years ago

    AMD used to sell triple-core CPUs.

    Of course people tried to get them to run as quad-cores because AMD didn’t laser-cut the disabled CPU…

    • Srsly_Bro
    • 9 years ago

    Wake me up when CPUs return to 2^(n) and not this silly (2^n)-1 silliness.

    • DancingWind
    • 9 years ago

    if it was single core chip then that would be a problem but on a big ass 15 core frying pan you just might get away with a big air cooler. Its not really about the overall W but about power density. GPUs do it fine because they have lots of ‘cores’ all around the silicon, while cpus struggle because usually there are only a couple of hot spots under load.

    • fishyuk
    • 9 years ago

    EX is purely Enterprise really, makes no sense for Apple or any Workstations. The Cadence is very much about Enterprise scale up and longevity, even more so with its RAS. It will superceed EP only temporarily, certainly in normal per core and core count perspectives. I.e. for most workstation apps a Haswell EP 2P (or two) would make more sense than an Ivy-Bridge EX 4P.

    • fishyuk
    • 9 years ago

    I guess that might be possible but given how these chips are targeted, i.e. Mission Critical, High Memory, High RAS Power, SPARC and dare I say it Itanium replacement then I don’t think it would make sense. High core count EP, four or two way would be more likely there.

    • mganai
    • 9 years ago

    Apple never used E7 tier cpus for their Pros. Those seem to be the exception, not the rule.

    The E7 price spike is a little weird though. It’s been 3 years since v1 to boot. Moore’s Law doesn’t seem to apply much to this one.

    • paco
    • 9 years ago

    Looking at the 12 core die, it would seem like they are just going to add 1 more core to each one of the 3 “groups” of cores to get 15, as the diagram of the 10 core shows 2 groups of 5. Intel’s design seems pretty good for expansion. We probably won’t get 16 core from Intel until they add a 4th group of processors.

    • chuckula
    • 9 years ago

    The 2650Lv2 has 10 cores at 70 watts with noticeably higher clockspeeds (1.7GHz Base –> 2.1GHz Turbo). (http://ark.intel.com/products/75270/Intel-Xeon-Processor-E5-2650L-v2-25M-Cache-1_70-GHz)

    The 15 core flavor might not come in at 40 watts, but given a reduction in clockspeed and the fact that these chips are expensive (Intel can bin aggressively), I could certainly see a 10 core variant at 40 watts with a reduced clockspeed.

    • UnfriendlyFire
    • 9 years ago

    If I do recall, there was someone who is not well liked on a website for server admins because of his insistence on using consumer components for mission critical servers to save money.

    • chuckula
    • 9 years ago

    It’s also a noun describing an emotion or state of being.
    As used in a sentence: “I am Krogothed at these benchmark results. Wake me up next year.”

    • Flying Fox
    • 9 years ago

    “Krogothed” – now a verb?

    • SuperSpy
    • 9 years ago

    I wonder if developments like this are part of the reasons Apple felt safe with a single socket platform for it’s new Mac Pro line.

    • chuckula
    • 9 years ago

    Ivytown?

    • Star Brood
    • 9 years ago

    Won’t you take me to

    • GrimDanfango
    • 9 years ago

    For once, I feel exactly the same way as Neely.

    This also bothers me. Say something contentious!

    • OneArmedScissor
    • 9 years ago

    I think Intel has that sorted. All quad-cores have turbo, low or high power. i5s keep up in games because HT and increased latency from 2+ MB of L3 per core will likely always have a bit of overhead.

    The hold out seems to be when one $300 i7 supports a software feature, and another $300 i7 doesn’t. I can understand why that would bother people, but it’s also possible they should be looking at Xeons, instead.

    • vargis14
    • 9 years ago

    Humm, I pick the middle picture with core speeds of 4100-4500mhz and a K modle chip with a unlocked multiplier, voltages ETC 🙂 How hard could it be to cool 300 or so watts of heat. If AMD’s 220 watt cpu’s can be cooled pretty easily I do not see a problem. Intel could probably do it with a 275 watt cap. Until we all start pushing the voltage and multipliers up that is.

    And hit the lottery to pay for it since a 10 core 4+ghz 25 MB cache K chip would probably cost $10,000+

    It would need a bunch of raided 1TB SSD’s to feed it data. A nice 32GB ram disk would come in handy for……I dunno but it would be fast:) Since it would probably be a 64GB HTPC/Gaming Rig and work computer 😛

    • brucethemoose
    • 9 years ago

    So $100,000. 8 processors to fill a motherboard is ~$56,000, and the motherboard + a conservative 64-96 sticks of DDR3 (192 is the maximum) + storage + a chassis/1.5kw PSU will certainly push that price to six figures.

    • maxxcool
    • 9 years ago

    🙂 Well played..

    • DPete27
    • 9 years ago

    Nice

    • NeelyCam
    • 9 years ago

    [quote<]Disabled circuits are win-win. There are so many features today, nobody wants them all. It keeps costs down and gives us more options.[/quote<] Careful there... tech nerds get all pissed when Intel disables Turbo and/or HT on some parts to offer them cheaper. Tech nerds believe they OWN everything on the die and DEMAND that everything is enabled

    • Grigory
    • 9 years ago

    Maybe Intel wants to start a war on people with OCD.

    • WhatMeWorry
    • 9 years ago

    It’s like Spinal Tap and 11 only in reverse. When Intel wanted that extra thermal saving, they dropped it down to 15.

    • NeelyCam
    • 9 years ago

    A leg and two kidneys. No ARM here

    • NeelyCam
    • 9 years ago

    Non-power-of-2 numbers bother me

    • OneArmedScissor
    • 9 years ago

    I think they’ve all had that a while, but it raises another good point with squillions of cores:

    The Xeon Phi cards are even weirder and really expose a brewing problem. They stopped adding many more cores, even though they could fit 50+ at 32nm.

    Intel publicly stated that it’s actually faster to just have multiple cores working on the same thing, on opposite sides of the chip, than try to shift all the information around lol.

    • OneArmedScissor
    • 9 years ago

    Protip: they have been disabling cores since Core 2, their first monolithic dual-core. :p

    It’s no different than how old Pentiums had cache disabled to make Celerons. The repeating circuits that take up the most space are always first on the chopping block.

    We just don’t see it much in mainstream CPUs today, even with the L3 cache, because it’s now the GPU’s turn. Hence GT1, GT2, GT3, and probably something even less for Celerons and Pentiums.

    That’s also why they all have an integrated GPU by default, and it doesn’t drive the price up. GPUs have a squillion copied and pasted blocks, which makes binning easier.

    Disabled circuits are win-win. There are so many features today, nobody wants them all. It keeps costs down and gives us more options.

    • UnfriendlyFire
    • 9 years ago

    Intel also uses a bi-directional “ring bus” for their +12 core CPUs, citing that having a dedicated connection for each core to the +11 other cores would’ve taken too much die space.

    • OneArmedScissor
    • 9 years ago

    These chips are built at least 4 different ways. It gets a bit unconventional at the higher core counts, because the memory channels and L3 have to be spread out to keep latency down.

    I have not seen a diagram of the 15 core, but here’s a comparison of 6, 10, and 12:

    [url<]http://images.anandtech.com/doci/7285/OverviewIVB3dies.png[/url<] Also, even if it turns out they all have a disabled core by default, don't be too quick to blame "production woes." This is a monstrous chip, like one of Nvidia's Tesla GPUs. By design, those almost always have one block of something disabled. Consider it an extra "buffer" for keeping costs down, not a potential feature that had to be axed due to problems.

    • lycium
    • 9 years ago

    Might be the first time we see Intel disabling cores. Which is good, such snobbery is uneconomical!

    • OneArmedScissor
    • 9 years ago

    Your sarcasm detector is malfunctioning, but I’ll humor you, anyways.

    Compared to the much cheaper 6 – 12 core EX counterparts, it’s not necessarily much of a deal. All of those are available with the very same:

    8 memory channels
    L3 to core ratio
    Additional QPI link
    2, 4, or 8 sockets

    The premium for the 4 and 8 socket versions is actually pretty low.

    The only distinctive feature I see of the 15 core parts is that they all support 1600 MHz RAM, but that’s because all I see are 130 – 155w TDP parts, and lower RAM speeds have lower TDP.

    If there are actually lower TDP 15 core parts, they likely have the same RAM speeds at the same TDP as the others. With 8 channels, that’s going to weigh in heavily.

    • Sargent Duck
    • 9 years ago

    I was going to ask that exact same question. Why not 16?

    • fishyuk
    • 9 years ago

    IvyTown? Eh?

    I’ve only ever heard this referred to as Ivy-Bridge EX unless there has been some rather odd last minute branding changes but that doesn’t fit with how Intel does code names unless Noddy has got in on the action…..

    And I can’t give pre-release details but lets just say that if there is a 40W part it would be highly unlikely to have 15 cores…. Put it this way there is a 60W EP and it certainly doesn’t have 12 cores, it has half to hit that wattage.

    • sonofsanta
    • 9 years ago

    Genuine question: why 15 cores, not nice, binary-neat 16? Is it binning due to wafer production woes?

    • ClickClick5
    • 9 years ago

    [quote<]even 6 core parts are often meh, especially at games[/quote<] Until now/soon. It is no secret that game devs tailor their engines and games for the consoles, and with simultaneous multithreading being the big push button for this generation, you can bet games will finally start using more than 2-3 cores at their full potential. Playing Skyrim last night only took 27% of my i7. So when games start to really, consistently demand more cores, will Intel be ready for us? Or will we all be gaming on 16 core ARMs in six years?

    • chuckula
    • 9 years ago

    [quote<]For the low, low price of only $7,000! [/quote<] When I'm looking for servers to hook into a multi-million dollar storage pool, $7K/socket for the CPU just became a bargain. Oh, and considering the price of RAM to run these puppies, you should be redirecting any outrage at price toward the RAM manufactures since you'll spend a CRAPTON more on RAM to fully equip these boxes than you will on the CPUs.

    • OneArmedScissor
    • 9 years ago

    As far as I can tell, socket F was the last to support 8 sockets, which topped out at 6 cores.

    I’m not aware of any socket G34 line that supported more than 4 sockets, which encompasses all of the dual-die K10.5, Bulldozer, and Piledriver lines.

    • ronch
    • 9 years ago

    You can bet these things will cost an arm, a leg and a kidney, but at least it affords AMD some wiggle room down below, and of course, for Intel it means raking it in.

    • OneArmedScissor
    • 9 years ago

    For the low, low price of only $7,000!

    I’m not sure where they’re getting 3.8 GHz. I see 2.8 GHz for 15 cores, but they top out at 3.4 GHz for 6 cores.

    While a hypothetical Ivy Bridge E that’s just expanded from 6 cores to 15 might have a 155w TDP at a lower clock speed, that’s not what this is.

    There’s 37.5MB of L3 cache, and possibly more memory channels. Woweezoweewee!

    • chuckula
    • 9 years ago

    [quote<]So our question, will this hit the desktop?[/quote<] Not in 15 cores variants! For most desktop workloads these chips would be Krogothed anyway [even 6 core parts are often meh, especially at games], and they would cost a fortune in the desktop price range. In servers, the price of the CPU is often a rounding error when you factor in total system cost, so they will do extremely well there. You *might* see these in workstations although the next step down Xeon Ivy Bridge-E parts are already at 12 cores in systems like the Mac Pro, so that area is already pretty well covered.

    • ClickClick5
    • 9 years ago

    So our question, will this hit the desktop? Or shall we just sit with our HT 4 core parts and pay way too much for a 6 core and beyond?

    • chuckula
    • 9 years ago

    40 / 15 = 2.67 W/core for thermal dissipation purposes (that also ammortizes in the huge L3 and uncore components).

    • Elsoze
    • 9 years ago

    [quote<]15 cores into a 40W thermal envelope[/quote<] Not gonna lie, that's pretty sexy.

    • chuckula
    • 9 years ago

    Does anyone know if AMD is still in the 8-socket space? I know that the current Opterons do 2 and 4 socket configurations, but I’m not sure how big they are in the 8+ socket space.

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