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Intel's Xeon Scalable 'Ice Lake-SP' Volume Ramp Delayed to Q1 2021

(Image credit: Intel)

Multiple delays of Intel's 10 nm process technology have affected the company's roadmap in many ways. While the company seems to be on track with its client 10nm CPUs, server processors are a whole different matter as they have different qualification and production cycles. In its Q3 FY2020 conference call, Intel announced that it would have to delay initial shipments of its 3rd Generation Xeon Scalable 'Ice Lake-SP' CPUs to Q1 2021.  

"We and our customers are excited about the upcoming launch of our 3rd Gen Xeon Scalable product, the Ice Lake-SP," said Bob Swan, CEO of Intel, during the company's earnings call with analysts and investors. "We are targeting qualification at the end of Q4 with volume ramp shortly after in Q1." 

Intel once implied that its Xeon Scalable 'Ice Lake-SP' processors would launch in 'the middle of 2020,' but eventually said that the CPUs would ship in the fourth quarter of this year mostly because of delays associated with the ramp of 10 nm products. Back in July, Intel said it would ship its first Ice Lake-SP parts late this year. Yet, for the sake of truth is necessary to note that for a while, Intel has promised Ice Lake-SP's volume ramp in 2021. 

"We are also targeting initial production shipments of our first 10-nanometer-based Xeon Scalable product, Ice Lake, for the end of the year," said Swan.  

This week the company confirmed that it had built pre-PRQ reserves of its Ice Lake-SP parts, which is why its operating margin was down in the third quarter.  

Intel's production release qualification (PRQ) is not a high-volume product launch. Yet PRQ parts are considered sellable as they have passed Intel's qualification requirements: They are produced in high volume, are ready for commercial shipment, and are typically supported by the applicable Intel warranty agreements and customer presentable documentation. At the PRQ stage, Intel's partners have to essentially finalize all their designs and BIOSes to get ready for a commercial launch. 

Essentially, Intel is set to start volume production of its Ice Lake-SP processors in the coming weeks, but it is not going to ramp up manufacturing until Q1 2021 as its partners yet have to pass all their qualification requirements. 

Intel's delay of first commercial Ice Lake-SP shipments to Q1 2021 cannot be considered dramatic or a demonstration that the company's 2nd-Gen 10nm process technology is still not ready for big chips as the company is about to start building Ice Lake-SP PRQ silicon in the coming weeks. But what remains to be seen is how quickly Intel can ramp up production of its next-generation Xeon Scalable parts in Q1 and how quickly its clients will adopt the new CPUs.    

  • JayNor
    also from the cc ... Oracle already signing up for Ice Lake Server chips. These chips move to 8 ch ddr4, move to PCIE4 io and move to a Sunny Cove core that has demonstrated 18% IPC avg gain in the Ice Lake laptop chips.

    "Recently, Oracle announced that they plan to leverage the computing performance of Ice Lake for the next generation of cloud-based, high-performance computing instances within Oracle cloud infrastructure."
    Reply
  • everettfsargent
    "In its Q3 FY2020 conference call, Intel announced that it would have to delay initial shipments of its 3rd Generation Xeon Scalable 'Ice Lake-SP' CPUs to Q1 2021. "

    WRONG!!! :(

    3rd Generation Intel® Xeon® Scalable Processors were already released in Q2'20 ...
    https://ark.intel.com/content/www/us/en/ark/products/series/204098/3rd-generation-intel-xeon-scalable-processors.htmlhttps://ark.intel.com/content/www/us/en/ark/products/codename/189143/cooper-lake.htmlhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cooper_Lake_(microarchitecture)
    Reply
  • mattkiss
    everettfsargent said:
    "In its Q3 FY2020 conference call, Intel announced that it would have to delay initial shipments of its 3rd Generation Xeon Scalable 'Ice Lake-SP' CPUs to Q1 2021. "

    WRONG!!! :(

    3rd Generation Intel® Xeon® Scalable Processors were already released in Q2'20 ...
    https://ark.intel.com/content/www/us/en/ark/products/series/204098/3rd-generation-intel-xeon-scalable-processors.htmlhttps://ark.intel.com/content/www/us/en/ark/products/codename/189143/cooper-lake.htmlhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cooper_Lake_(microarchitecture)

    Those aren't Ice Lake parts, they only have PCIe 3.0 and 6-channel memory.
    Reply
  • everettfsargent
    mattkiss said:
    Those aren't Ice Lake parts, they only have PCIe 3.0 and 6-channel memory.
    Who cares what those parts were as they had a name change upon actual announcement/release to the current name of 3rd Generation Xeon Scalable (Products formerly Cooper Lake). Going to the 10nm process node, means that Intel would be extremely stupid to call those NEW parts 3rd Generation Xeon Scalable (which are currently a 14nm process node and the naming nomenclature has already been used), basic logic suggests that Intel will call these parts ... wait for it ... any minute now ... what is the rush ... ok now ... here we go ... 4th Generation Xeon Scalable (Products formerly Ice Lake). ;)
    Reply
  • everettfsargent
    OK, according to Wikipedia ...
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ice_Lake_(microprocessor)"Ice Lake is Intel's codename for the 10th generation Intel Core mobile processors based on the new Sunny Cove Core microarchitecture. Ice Lake represents an Architecture step in Intel's Process-Architecture-Optimization model. Ice Lake CPUs are sold together with the 14 nm Comet Lake CPUs as Intel's "10th Generation Core" product family."

    So, 3rd generation for Ice Lake, or maybe 10th generation, imho if I were Intel then I would want to ditch any association with 14nm given its rather prolonged history, in fact, I'd give it a whole new name. I am sort of assuming that these would be server parts.
    Reply
  • spongiemaster
    everettfsargent said:
    Going to the 10nm process node, means that Intel would be extremely stupid to call those NEW parts 3rd Generation Xeon Scalable (which are currently a 14nm process node and the naming nomenclature has already been used), basic logic suggests that Intel will call these parts

    Well, Intel isn't using basic logic here. The generation counts are meaningless on the Intel side.

    Intel Launches 3rd-Gen Xeon Scalable CPUs: For 4, 8 Sockets Only
    "Intel is taking a bifurcated approach with the launch of its new third-generation Xeon Scalable processors, releasing 14-nanometer parts first that only target four- and eight-socket servers and then dropping 10nm SKUs for one- and two-socket servers later this year. "
    Reply