Leaked Intel Server Roadmap Shows DDR5, PCIe 5.0 in 2021, Granite Rapids in 2022

(Image credit: Huawei)

A leaked roadmap from an April Huawei presentation has revealed that Intel will introduce DDR5 memory and PCI 5.0 with Sapphire Rapids in 2021. The roadmap also confirms Granite Rapids in 2022 and shows that Intel will update Optane Persistent Memory at a yearly cadence. There are also two platforms for Cooper Lake, which goes up to 48 cores.

WikiChip found the roadmap, which came from a Huawei presentation to its partners last month. The roadmap confirms what Intel had shown at its Investor Meeting two weeks ago: Cooper Lake and Ice Lake come in the first half of 2020, followed by Sapphire Rapids in 2021. The company had also announced it had the intention of moving to a roughly yearly release cadence for server chips going forward (faster than the five to seven quarters it used to be). This roadmap confirms that schedule, with Sapphire Rapids launching at the beginning of 2021 already.

(Image credit: Intel)

The new addition is Granite Rapids in 2022 (strictly, this is not a new codename since it has surfaced before). Granite Rapids is also set to launch at the start of the year according to this roadmap. This could possibly be the second product on 7nm, as the first one was disclosed to be an Xe GPGPU (also at the Investor Meeting).

The platforms: Whitley and Eagle Stream

The roadmap gives a few other specs besides the codenames. Last year Intel announced that Cooper Lake (14nm) and Ice Lake-SP (10nm) would share the same platform, Whitley. The biggest news is that Cooper Lake-SP will feature up to 48 cores. Since Cascade Lake-SP is already near the reticle size limit, this is likely accomplished in a similar way as with Cascade Lake-AP, by linking two 28-core Cascade Lake-SP dies together via UPI. Cooper Lake-SP will have four UPI links, up from three with Cascade Lake-SP, support for eight DDR4 memory channels, up from six with Cascade Lake, and still uses PCIe 3.0.

The roadmap shows Cooper Lake-P as a new product family. Cooper Lake-P is meant for quad- and octa-socket servers. It has only up to 26 cores, which is actually down from Cascade Lake-SP. Cooper Lake-P also has two fewer memory channels than Cooper Lake-SP, but more UPI links at six. Cooper Lake-P is part of the Cedar Island platform.

Ice Lake-SP only goes up to 26 cores, too. Intel typically produces three different die for its Xeon family: LCC, HCC and XCC, each with higher core counts than the next. So one possibility is that Intel won’t produce the XCC die for Ice Lake-SP because of 10nm’s yield issues. Ice Lake-SP also has eight-channel DDR4 support, but move the PCIe compatibility up to Gen 4.

Sapphire and Granite Rapids are both part of the Eagle Stream platform. Eagle Stream (or Sapphire Rapids-SP) brings support for eight-channel DDR5 memory and the PCIe 5.0 interconnect. The slide also mentions IAL (Intel Accelerator Link), but Intel has introduced this as the open CXL (Compute Express Link) standard. This aligns with Intel’s statement of bringing CXL to the market in 2021.

Optane Persistent Memory

Cascade Lake launched in April with Apache Pass Optane Persistent Memory (PM), which is based on the DIMM form factor. The slide shows that Intel plans to launch a new generation of Optane PM with every new Xeon Scalable generation. Whitley will feature Barlow Pass, Sapphire Rapids features Crow Pass, and Granite Rapids will have Donahue Pass.