As spotted by @momomo_us, Intel is preparing its Ponte Vecchio graphics cards for shipment in a reference validation platform (RVP), which are systems used by vendors to begin optimizing hardware and software. According to the listing at the Eurasian Economic Commission, the graphics cards come in three flavors and a standard AIC form factor.
The finer-grained details of the Ponte Vecchio graphics cards are still shrouded in a fog of secrecy, but Intel has shared some of the broader details in several disclosures. We know that the cards, which are designed for exascale computing and will debut in the Aurora Supercomputer at Argonne National Laboratory in 2021, will eventually come armed with the 7nm process. Intel plans to pair six of the cards and HBM with two Sapphire Rapids CPUs in each node with an innovative new Xe Link fabric that uses the CXL interface to tie them to a central Rambo Cache.
This blindingly-complex arrangement uses eight 7nm chiplets with Foveros 3D packaging combined into each GPU, which is then apparently mounted onto a large motherboard. It's easy to imagine that these validation cards, which are listed as pre-alpha in an add-in-card form factor like a standard GPU, will consist of a trimmed-back version with either fewer chiplets, or even a single chiplet.
Reference validation platforms are designed to foster the ecosystem of software developers before the launch of new devices. Given the nature of Intel's new OneAPI programming model, which Intel designed to simplify programming across its GPU, CPU, FPGA, and AI accelerators, they'll be plenty of work on the development side.
Intel splits the Xe Architecture up into three designs that each address different segments: Data center, consumer graphics cards, and AI use-cases (HP); integrated graphics on its processors (LP); and the high-tier Xe HPC for high performance computing, with the latter (Ponte Vecchio) being designed specifically for compute. The consumer version of the Xe Graphics card for gaming will lead the way in 2020, likely on the 10nm process.
It's unknown if the Ponte Vecchio validation cards use Intel's 10nm or 7nm process, with the former probably far more likely in the early stages of development. We do know that Intel's first GPU silicon in its DG1 uses the 10nm process, and the company has already powered on the leading-edge prototypes.
In either case, the listing implies these systems are (or will be) shipping soon, which could mean Intel is moving along on its Ponte Vecchio architecture as planned. That's a good sign given the company's previous attempts at developing its own Larabee GPUs ended without a single productized model, and nagging delays to its 10nm process have hindered its more recent efforts.