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Intel Sapphire Rapids roadmap: start production in 2022


Intel announced through a blog post this morning that Sapphire Rapids will be put into production in the first quarter of 2022 and mass production will begin in the second quarter of 2022.The revised production schedule is The final Sapphire Rapids roadmap, The company expects that production will start at the end of 2021 and mass production will begin in the first half of 2022.

This still means that these chips will mainly be AMD’s EPYC Milan Processor, but also with 5nm Zen 4 EPYC Genoa The chip will be launched later in 2022. Intel also revealed new details about its Advanced Matrix Extension (AMX) and Data Stream Accelerator (DSA) technology that debuted in Sapphire Rapids.

Intel’s release cadence for its data center products can be a bit tricky-the company usually starts shipping to its largest customers (super-large companies such as Facebook and Amazon) soon after the chips are put into production. Generally, it will be launched after 6 months, which marks the traditional official release, that is, the chip and OEM system are found to be available to the public.

Revised Intel Xeon Sapphire Rapids roadmap
Production/Leading Customers Volume ramp / general availability
Original roadmap 2021 (fourth quarter) First half of 2022
Revised roadmap First quarter of 2022 Second quarter of 2022

As a result, Intel’s new schedule represents a delay in initial production and final silicon availability for its largest customer (they do have samples), but deployment time (that is, the time between first shipment and full listing) is compressed. By shortening the “deployment time” from six months to three months, Intel’s official release is still scheduled in the first half of 2022.

(Image source: Intel Sapphire Rapids old roadmap)

Lisa Spelman, corporate vice president and general manager of Intel Xeon and Memory Division, used Sapphire Rapids’ new technology breadth as the driving force for the timeline adjustment. She said: “In view of the enhanced breadth of Sapphire Rapids, we will add additional verification time beforehand. The production version, which will simplify the deployment process for our customers and partners.”

Sapphire Rapids represents Intel’s first chip using the latest 10-nanometer enhanced SuperFin process, while its Ice Lake predecessors are manufactured on the (now older) 10-nanometer+ node. Given that Intel’s transition to its 10-nanometer process is notoriously difficult, the public’s perception may first focus on the potential problems of the process technology. This is a possibility, but it is very slim. Intel’s Sapphire Rapids chip has been extensively sampled (and leaked), so pre-release/verification chips are available for leading customers. In addition, yield issues usually take more than three months to resolve, so process technology issues seem unlikely.

Spelman’s blog post cites “new enhancements” that need further verification, and also talks about its Advanced Matrix Extensions (AMX) and Data Stream Accelerator (DSA) technologies (more on these technologies below), but does not combine them As a direct reference to postpone the production schedule.

Sapphire Rapids

(Image source: Intel)

Sapphire Rapids is equipped with a large number of new technologies, among which DDR5 and PCIe 5.0 are superior connection enhancements compared to the previous generation components. Sapphire Rapids will represent Intel’s first server chip to support DDR5, so Intel and its hardware/software partners are required to conduct extensive verification at the platform level. In addition, the PCIe 5.0 endpoint ecosystem is still in its early stages, which means that it may be difficult to fully verify new and faster interfaces with actual end-user devices.

Intel also has Sapphire Rapids model with HBM memory It will be available a few months after the main release. These chips will be available for the general market, but given that they are already on a different schedule and may not be part of the first production run, it makes no sense to delay them.


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