Podcast #521 - Zen 2, 7nm Vega, SSD Vulnerabilities, and more!

Subject: General Tech | November 8, 2018 - 01:54 PM |
Tagged: Zen 2, xeon, Vega, rome, radeon instinct, podcast, MI60, Intel, EPYC, cxl-ap, chiplet, cascade lake, amd, 7nm

PC Perspective Podcast #521 - 11/08/18

Join us this week for discussion on AMD's new Zen 2 architecture, 7nm Vega GPUs, SSD encryption vulnerabilities, and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

Hosts: Jim Tanous, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, Allyn Malventano, Ken Addison, and Sebastian Peak

Peanut Gallery: Alex Lustenberg

Program length: 1:42:27

Podcast topics of discussion:

  1. Week in Review:
  2. Thanks to Casper for supporting our podcast! Save $50 on select mattresses at http://www.casper.com/pcper code pcper
  3. News items of interest:
  4. Picks of the Week:
    1. Jim: N7 Day! Amazon - Origin

Intel unveils Xeon Cascade Lake Advanced Performance Platform

Subject: Processors | November 5, 2018 - 02:00 AM |
Tagged: xeon e-2100, xeon, MCP, Intel, Infinity Fabric, EPYC, cxl-ap, cascade lake, amd, advanced performance

Ahead of the Supercomputing conference next week, Intel has announced a new market segment for Xeons called Cascade Lake Advanced Platform (CXL-AP). This represents a new, higher core count option in the Xeon Scalable family, which currently tops out at 28 cores. 

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Through the use of a multi-chip package (MCP), Intel will now be able to offer up to 48-cores, with 12 DDR4 memory channels per socket. Cascade Lake AP is being targeted at dual socket systems bringing the total core count up to 96-cores.

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Intel's Ultra Path Interconnect (UPI), introduced in Skylake-EP for multi-socket communication, is used to connect both the MCP packages on a single processor together, as well as the two processors in a 2S configuration. 

Given the relative amount of shade that Intel has thrown towards AMD's multi-die design with Epyc, calling it "glued-together," this move to an MCP for a high-end Xeon offering will garner some attention.

When asked about this, Intel says that the issues they previously pointed out with aren't inherently because it's a multi-die design, but rather the quality of the interconnect. By utilizing UPI for the interconnect, Intel claims their MCP design will provide performance consistency not found in other solutions. They were also quick to point out that this is not their first Xeon design utilizing multiple packages.

Intel provided some performance claims against the current 32-core Epyc 7601, of up to 3.4X greater performance in Linpack, and up to 1.3x in Stream Triad.

As usual, whether or not these claims are validated will come down to external testing when people have these new Cascade Lake AP processors in-hand, which is set to be in the first half of 2019.

More details on the entire Cascade Lake family, including Cascade Lake AP, are set to come at next week's Supercomputing conference, so stay tuned for more information as it becomes available!

Source: Intel

Intel unveils updated X-Series HEDT processors, 28-core Xeon for Workstations

Subject: Processors | October 8, 2018 - 11:14 AM |
Tagged: xeon w-3175x, xeon, x299, Intel, i9-9890xe, C621, 9th generation, 28-core

Consumer processors weren't the only Intel products to see an update today, as Intel announced updates to their HEDT lineup, as well as a new platform for their 28-core processor previously announced at Computex.

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First is the Xeon W-3175X, which readers will remember from the now infamous Intel demonstration at Computex, featuring a 5 GHz overclock achieved through the use of a 1HP water chiller.

Today we were introduced to the final product iteration of this 28-core demo, the Xeon W-3175X. Utilizing the same C621 chipset, this processor is essentially a Xeon Platinum 8180 which launched in late 2017 but with an unlocked multiplier and running at higher clock speeds.

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The Xeon W-3175X provides a 600 MHz base clock and a 500 MHz Turbo Boost 2.0 clock advantage over the Xeon Platinum 8180. Along with these clock speed increases comes a TDP increase to 255W, compared to the 205W TDP of the Xeon 8180.

Additionally, Xeon W-3175X will support the same six-channel ECC memory configuration as the Xeon Platinum 8180. Similarly, the Xeon W-3175X will use the LGA3647 socket, currently only found on the Xeon Scalable family of processors.

Given that current lack of LGA3647-based workstation motherboards and the TDP increase over the Xeon Scalable processor, this new Xeon-W part will mean the release of all-new motherboards, a sneak peak of which we saw at Computex. ASUS and Gigabyte are said to be the launch partners, with motherboard options to be available in December alongside the processor.

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On the slightly more reasonable side, we have the refresh of Intel's X-series HEDT processors.

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Topping off with the 18-core i9-9980XE, this lineup looks very familiar to Intel's current HEDT lineup, aside from some clock speed and core count increases.

Instead of starting at a 6-core, 12-thread configuration like the 7th generation, the 9th generation HEDT parts now start at the same 8-core, 16-thread configuration we see with the i9-9900K. Similarly, there are now two 10-core SKUs, the i9-9820X and i9-9900X.

Across the board, we see a 300-400 MHz increase on the base clocks of these new parts compared to the previous generation, as well as a 200-300 MHz to the Turbo Boost 2.0 clock speeds.

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The X-series processors will once again feature a soldered connection between the die and heatspreader for increased thermal performance.

These new X-series processors will continue to use the X299 platform, although we expect to see a few newly revised motherboards based on the X299 chipset from partners as we have for other HEDT launches.

While the new 9th generation consumer CPUs feature a combination of hardware, software, and microcode updates for side-channel attack vulnerabilities like Spectre and Meltdown, both the new X-series CPUs as well as the Xeon W-3175X only feature microcode and software fixes as detailed below:

  • Speculative side channel variant Spectre V2 (Branch Target Injection) = Microcode + Software
  • Speculative side channel variant Meltdown V3 (Rogue Data Cache Load) = Microcode
  • Speculative side channel variant Meltdown V3a (Rogue System Register Read) = Microcode
  • Speculative side channel variant V4 (Speculative Store Bypass) = Microcode + Software
  • Speculative side channel variant L1 Terminal Fault = Microcode + Software
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One of the points that Intel stressed this morning when announcing these new products is the importance of their Mesh architecture as compared to AMD's Infinity Fabric-based solution to core count scaling. 
 
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Intel claims the performance benefits that the unified memory architecture, where all cores can access memory, provides over the Threadripper 2990WX are significant in some applications including Autodesk Maya, Adobe Premiere Pro, and Unreal Engine build times.
 
In general, the announcements of these high-core count processors are relatively tame compared to the updates that Intel's consumer desktop CPUs saw today. AMD has been very aggressive with their second generation Threadripper processors in term of pricing and performance, so it will be interesting to see how these new Intel X-series processors change the HEDT market outlook.
 
As for the 28-core Xeon-W part, it seems odd for Intel to be launching a whole new desktop platform in-order to compete with the likes of the 24 and 32-core second generation Threadripper processors from AMD. 
 
The Xeon W-3175X will be available starting in December, while the new Intel X-series processors will be available in November.
Source: Intel

The coming difficulties of getting Intel Inside your computer

Subject: General Tech | September 27, 2018 - 03:27 PM |
Tagged: Intel, xeon, supply shortage

Two different sources have confirmed there will be a shortage of Intel processors over the coming months, Novatch and Compal Electronics, with no clear end in sight.  This is not necessarily due to the difficulties they've encountered moving to a new fabrication node, but that certainly can't help.  Demand for Xeon processors has climbed quickly and Intel is scrambling to provide supply.  They do suggest they are focusing specifically on Xeon and Core processor production; one might point out that is the vast majority of their business and so of course they are.

This is a huge opportunity for AMD, the EPYC product line is in stock, less expensive and certainly capable of the level of performance that Enterprise requires, let alone SMBs.  A shortage of Core series also opens up an opportunity for system builders to start providing Ryzen based systems for consumers.  Their lower cost GPUs may also see a spike in sales in the coming months if the price of NVIDIA's RTX cards increase beyond their current level. 

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"In a warning to customers on Thursday, Novatech said that the shortage has been caused by high demand for Intel's Xeon data centre microprocessors, which Intel has chosen to prioritise over consumer and business PC demands."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Inquirer

Podcast #509 - Threadripper 2950X/2990WX, Multiple QLC SSDs, and more!

Subject: General Tech | August 16, 2018 - 03:16 PM |
Tagged: xeon, video, Turning, Threadripper, ssd, Samsung, QLC, podcast, PA32UC, nvidia, nand, L1TF, Intel, DOOM Eternal, asus, amd, 660p, 2990wx, 2950x

PC Perspective Podcast #509 - 08/16/18

Join us this week for discussion on Modded Thinkpads, EVGA SuperNOVA PSUs, and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, Allyn Malventano

Peanut Gallery: Ken Addison, Alex Lustenberg

Program length: 1:35:10

Podcast topics of discussion:
  1. There is no 3
  2. Week in Review:
  3. News items of interest:
  4. Other stuff
  5. Picks of the Week:
  6. Closing/outro
 
 
Source:

Intel Shows Latest Xeon Roadmap at Data Centric Innovation Summit

Subject: Processors | August 8, 2018 - 07:39 PM |
Tagged: xeon, intel DL boost, Intel, ice lake, dcg, data centric, cooper lake, cascade lake

Today at Intel's Data Center Group's Data-Centric Innovation Summit, they provided a peek into the future of Xeon processors.

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Coming later this year are the oft-rumored Cascade Lake Xeons. In addition to supporting Optane DC Persistent memory, Cascade Lake will offer hardware-based mitigations for Spectre/Meltdown vulnerabilities.  

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Intel Deep Learning Boost will also make its first appearance in the Cascade Lake products. In its first iteration, DL Boost will provide a vector neural network instruction set (VNNI) based on AVX-512 for faster inference acceleration. Intel is working to add VNNI to industry standard deep learning frameworks like TensorFlow and Caffe.

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Next, in late 2019, we have the Cooper Lake architecture. Still based on 14nm technology, Cooper Lake will expand upon Intel DL Boost and add support for the BFloat16 data type, which provides the same level of precision as double precision (32-bit) floating points, but in a smaller (16-bit) data size. 

In 2020, after Cooper Lake, comes Ice Lake – the first 10nm-based Xeon. While details are sparse about what improvements Ice Lake will bring architecturally, Intel has said that it will be compatible with Cooper Lake platforms, giving users an upgrade path.

Source: Intel

Banning Talos worship might be worth it, POWER9 still lags behind

Subject: Processors | July 6, 2018 - 03:16 PM |
Tagged: IBM, power9, talos 2, EPYC, xeon

Phoronix were recently given access to three servers running three different POWER9 Talos II configurations and compared them to EPYC and Xeon.  On paper these systems look amazing, thanks to the architecture supporting four threads per core; they tested  a dual 4-core Talos II system, a Talos II Lite with a single 22-core CPU and a Talos II with dual 18-core processors with thread counts of 32, 88, and 144 respectively. 

There were certainly usage scenarios where the dual 18 core system could outpace even the EPYC 7601 but could not surpass the dual Xeon Gold 6138 system.  The review covers a fair amount of benchmarks and configurations but doesn't begin to scratch the surface of wide variety of server configurations you need to consider before abandoning POWER9 altogether but the key metric, performance per dollar, shows these architecture solidly in the middle of the pack.

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"Back in April we were able to run some IBM POWER9 benchmarks with remote access to the open-source friendly Talos II systems by Raptor Computer Systems. We were recently allowed remote access again to a few different configurations of this libre hardware with three different POWER9 processor combinations. Here are those latest benchmarks compared to Intel Xeon and AMD EPYC server processors."

Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:

Processors

Source: Phoronix

Intel Pushes Xeon to the Edge With Refreshed Skylake-Based Xeon D SoCs

Subject: Processors | February 7, 2018 - 09:01 AM |
Tagged: Xeon D, xeon, servers, networking, micro server, Intel, edge computing, augmented reality, ai

Intel announced a major refresh of its Xeon D System on a Chip processors aimed at high density servers that bring the power of the datacenter as close to end user devices and sensors as possible to reduce TCO and application latency. The new Xeon D 2100-series SoCs are built on Intel’s 14nm process technology and feature the company’s new mesh architecture (gone are the days of the ring bus). According to Intel the new chips are squarely aimed at “edge computing” and offer up 2.9-times the network performance, 2.8-times the storage performance, and 1.6-times the compute performance of the previous generation Xeon D-1500 series.

Intel New Xeon D-2100.png

Intel has managed to pack up to 18 Skylake-based processing cores, Quick Assist Technology co-processing (for things like hardware accelerated encryption/decryption), four DDR4 memory channels addressing up to 512 GB of DDR4 2666 MHz ECC RDIMMs, four Intel 10 Gigabit Ethernet controllers, 32 lanes of PCI-E 3.0, and 20 lanes of flexible high speed I/O that includes up to 14 lanes of SATA 3.0, four USB 3.0 ports, or 20 lanes of PCI-E. Of course, the SoCs support Intel’s Management Engine, hardware virtualization, HyperThreading, Turbo Boost 2.0, and AVX-512 instructions with 1 FMA (fuse-multiply-add) as well..

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Suffice it to say, there is a lot going on here with these new chips which represent a big step up in capabilities (and TDPs) further bridging the gap between the Xeon E3 v5 family and Xeon E5 family and the new Xeon Scalable Processors. Xeon D is aimed at datacenters where power and space are limited and while the soldered SoCs are single socket (1P) setups, high density is achieved by filling racks with as many single processor Mini ITX boards as possible. Xeon D does not quite match the per-core clockspeeds of the “proper” Xeons but has significantly more cores than Xeon E3 and much lower TDPs and cost than Xeon E5. It’s many lower clocked and lower power cores excel at burstable tasks such as serving up websites where many threads may be generated and maintained for long periods of time but not need a lot of processing power and when new page requests do come in the cores are able to turbo boost to meet demand. For example, Facebook is using Xeon D processors to serve up its front end websites in its Yosemite OpenRack servers where each server rack holds 192 Xeon D 1540 SoCs (four Xeon D boards per 1U sleds) for 1,536 Broadwell cores. Other applications include edge routers, network security appliances, self-driving vehicles, and augmented reality processing clusters. The autonomous vehicles use case is perhaps the best example of just what the heck edge computing is. Rather than fighting the laws of physics to transfer sensor data back to a datacenter for processing to be sent back to the car to in time for it to safely act on the processed information, the idea of edge computing is to bring most of the processing, networking, and storage power as close as possible to both the input sensors and the device (and human) that relies on accurate and timely data to make decisions.

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As far as specifications, Intel’s new Xeon D lineup includes 14 processor models broken up into three main categories. The Edge Server and Cloud SKUs include eight, twelve, and eighteen core options with TDPs ranging from 65W to 90W. Interestingly, the 18 core Xeon D does not feature the integrated 10 GbE networking the lower end models have though it supports higher DDR4 memory frequencies. The two remaining classes of Xeon D SoCs are “Network Edge and Storage” and “Integrated Intel Quick Assist Technology” SKUs. These are roughly similar with two eight core, one 12 core, and one 16 core processor (the former also has a quad core that isn’t present in the latter category) though there is a big differentiator in clockspeeds. It seems customers will have to choose between core clockspeeds or Quick Assist acceleration (up to 100 Gbps) as the chips that do have QAT are clocked much lower than the chips without the co-processor hardware which makes sense because they have similar TDPs so clocks needed to be sacrificed to maintain the same core count. Thanks to the updated architecture, Intel is encroaching a bit on the per-core clockspeeds of the Xeon E3 and Xeon E5s though when turbo boost comes into play the Xeon Ds can’t compete.

Intel Xeon D-2100 SKU Information.png

The flagship Xeon D 2191 offers up two more cores (four additional threads) versus the previous Broadwell-based flagship Xeon D 1577 as well as higher clockspeeds at 1.6 GHz base versus 1.3 GHz and 2.2 GHz turbo versus 2.1 GHz turbo. The Xeon D 2191 does lack the integrated networking though. Looking at the two 16 core refreshed Xeon Ds compared to the 16 core Xeon D 1577, Intel has managed to increase clocks significantly (up to 2.2 GHz base and 3.0 GHz boost versus 1.3 GHz base and 2.10 GHz boost), double the number of memory channels and network controllers, and increase the maximum amount of memory from 128 GB to 512 GB. All those increases did come at the cost of TDP though which went from 45W to 100W.

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Xeon D has always been an interesting platform both for enthusiasts running VM labs and home servers and big data enterprise clients building and serving up the 'next big thing' built on the astonishing amounts of data people create and consume on a daily basis. (Intel estimates a single self driving car would generate as much as 4TB of data per day while the average person in 2020 will generate 1.5 GB of data per day and VR recordings such as NFL True View will generate up to 3TB a minute!) With Intel ramping up both the core count, per-core performance, and I/O the platform is starting to not only bridge the gap between single socket Xeon E3 and dual socket Xeon E5 but to claim a place of its own in the fast-growing server market.

I am looking forward to seeing how Intel's partners and the enthusiast community take advantage of the new chips and what new projects they will enable. It is also going to be interesting to see the responses from AMD (e.g. Snowy Owl and to a lesser extent Great Horned Owl at the low and niche ends as it has fewer CPU cores but a built in GPU) and the various ARM partners (Qualcomm Centriq, X-Gene, Ampere, ect.*) as they vie for this growth market space with higher powered SoC options in 2018 and beyond.

Also read:

*Note that X-Gene and Ampere are both backed by the Carlyle Group now with MACOM having sold X-Gene to Project Denver Holdings and the ex-Intel employee led Ampere being backed by the Carlyle Group.

Source: Intel

All I want for Christmas ... is an Intel firmware patch

Subject: General Tech | November 24, 2017 - 01:22 PM |
Tagged: Intel, 7th generation core, 6th generation core, 8th generation core, apollo lake, xeon, security

The issue with Intel's processors is widespread and a fix will not be available for some time yet.  The flaws in their security features are present in 6-8th gen Core chips, as well as a variety of Xeons, Celerons and Apollo Lake CPUs which accounts for a wide variety of systems, from gaming machines to NAS devices.  All suffer from the vulnerability which allows compromised code to run a system invisibly, as it will be executed below the OS on the actual chip.  From what The Register gleaned from various manufacturers, only Dell will release a patch before 2018 and even that will only offer a solution for a very limited number of machines.  The end of 2017 is going to be a little too interesting for many sysadmins.

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"As Intel admitted on Monday, multiple flaws in its Management Engine, Server Platform Services, and Trusted Execution Engine make it possible to run code that operating systems – and therefore sysadmins and users – just can't see."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

Benchmarking a beast of a box, a dual Xeon Scalable Gold Server

Subject: Systems | August 30, 2017 - 03:42 PM |
Tagged: linux, xeon, Xeon Gold 6138, dual cpu, LGA-3647, Intel

The core counts and amount of RAM on enthusiast systems is growing quickly, especially with Threadripper, but we won't be seeing a system quite like this one under our desks in the near future.  The server which Phoronix tested sports dual Xeon Gold 6138 for a total of 40 physical cores and 80 threads, with each CPU having 48GB of RAM for a total of 96GB of DDR4-2666.  Not only did Phoronix run this system through a variety of tests, they did so on eight different Linux distros.   Can any benchmark push this thing to its limits?  Was there a clear winner for the OS?  Find out in the full review.

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"While we routinely run various Linux distribution / operating system comparisons at Phoronix, they tend to be done on desktop class hardware and the occasional servers. This is our look at the most interesting enterprise-focused Linux distribution comparison to date as we see how Intel's Xeon Scalable platform compares on different GNU/Linux distributions when using the Tyan GT24E-B7106 paired with two Dual Xeon Gold 6138 processors."

Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:

Systems

 

Source: Phoronix