Intel turns to 3D stacking to reboot its chip roadmap

Eric Abent - Dec 12, 2018, 9:26 am CDT
Intel turns to 3D stacking to reboot its chip roadmap

During an event it called “Architecture Day” this week, Intel prepared us for what’s coming up in 2019. The company had a lot of announcements to make, and one of the most exciting is a new 3D packaging method for CPUs that it’s calling Foveros. Beyond Foveros, we also heard some impressive claims about next generation integrated graphics and, of course, we received a codename for its next CPU architecture.

“Foveros paves the way for devices and systems combining high-performance, high-density and low-power silicon process technologies,” Intel said in a statement today. As the company describes it, Foveros will be a way for designers to stack various IP blocks on top of one another. For instance, Intel envisions a CPU where things like I/O and SRAM are separated into individual chiplets and built into the base die, with logic chiplets then stacked on top.

Essentially, 3D stacking is a way to squeeze more power out of our CPUs. We won’t be seeing the first Foveros products until the second half of 2019, so we’ve got a while to wait for its arrival. Intel says that the first Foveros product will stack a 10nm compute-stacked chiplet on top of a 22FFL base die.

Next we come to the reveal of Sunny Cove, the codename for Intel’s next CPU microarchitecture. The company didn’t really give specifics during Architecture Day, but it did say that the goals of Sunny Cove are to “execute more operations in parallel” and introduce new algorithms to reduce latency. We’ve got plenty of time to learn more, as these new CPUs won’t be out until sometime next year.

Finally, Intel revealed its generation 11 integrated graphics, which it claims can achieve more that 1 TFLOPS of performance thanks to doubling the number of execution units over generation 9. We’ll see generation 11 integrated graphics launch with Intel’s 10nm processors next year.

While you typically don’t see integrated graphics recommended for things like gaming, these gen-11 GPUs should indeed be a lot more capable in that area. For those who nevertheless anticipate needing more graphics power, Intel reassured that its own discreet GPU is still coming at some point in 2020. There’s plenty more to learn about Intel’s new products in the coming months, so stay tuned.

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