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Intel Infuses CPUs With HBM2E, Sapphire Rapids Incoming

Intel
(Image credit: Intel)

Intel has begun enabling Linux support for on-package HBM2E memory for its CPUs, marking a shift to infusing processors with fast memory onboard. This new development comes on the heels of previous Linux patch submissions to enable support for HBM with its upcoming fourth-gen Xeon Scalable 'Sapphire Rapids' processors, meaning that some of the company's new CPUs will look almost like today's high-end GPUs with beefy slabs of fast memory onboard. The new patches also confirm that Intel's HBM2E controller has the same architecture as its DDR5 memory controller. 

"A future Xeon processor will include in-package HBM (high bandwidth memory)," a description of one of the patches reads. "The in-package HBM memory controller shares the same architecture with the regular DDR memory controller. Add the HBM memory controller devices for EDAC support." 

Intel has an i20nm EDAC Linux driver that's used for error detection and correction reporting. As of June 11, this driver now supports Intel's Xeon Scalable processors with on-package HBM2E memory, reports Phoronix. This enables Linux systems with the latest patches installed to properly use Intel's Sapphire Rapids processors with HBM2E (which is important for those who have samples now). 

Intel enabled support for memory error codes for on-package HBM2E memory late last year. The recent inclusion of full HBM2E support may indicate that Intel is sending samples of such CPUs to various third parties. 

Intel's Sapphire Rapids processors will feature eight DDR5 memory channels. Based on unofficial information, the new Xeon Scalable CPUs will support DDR5-4800 memory and one module per channel (thus offering 307.2 GB/s of bandwidth per socket). Using Samsung's recently introduced 512GB RDIMM modules, Sapphire Rapids' eight channels will support 4TB of memory. Unfortunately, details about HBM2E capacity are currently unclear.