Intel Architecture Day 2021 & The Linux State

Written by Michael Larabel in Processors on 19 August 2021. Page 3 of 6. 25 Comments

Sapphire Rapids as the successor to Intel Xeon Scalable "Ice Lake" also received a lot of attention during Architecture Day 2021. Sapphire Rapids will feature Intel's Performance Core (Golden Cove) as talked a bit already in the Alder Lake section given its scalable microarchitecture.

Given Linux dominating in servers and HPC, Intel has already been investing heavily in the Sapphire Rapids bring-up as I have written about in dozens of articles relating to different work happening within the Linux kernel and user-space like GCC and Clang. Most of the Linux support for Sapphire Rapids should already be squared away for upstream with the one area still actively being tackled is with the Advanced Matrix Extensions (AMX).

Also new with Sapphire Rapids is the Data Streaming Accelerator (DSA). That open-source/Linux work has been going on since at least 2019. There has been that Linux bring-up work around DSA though related and unfortunate position is Linux currently disabling ENQCMD. Hopefully those issues will get resolved soon for upstream.

Intel engineers have also been squaring away the CXL subsystem in the kernel with Sapphire Rapids supporting Compress eXpress Link.

There will be Xeon Sapphire Rapids SKUs coming to market with HBM2 memory onboard. This has been another known fact already from prior Linux kernel patches.

We are very excited about all the innovations coming with Sapphire Rapids that is aiming for ramp in Q2'2022. It will be very interesting to see how the Linux performance compares to AMD's EPYC 7004 "Genoa" processors. On the Linux support front, we've seen much more from Intel on Sapphire Rapids than the little bit from AMD about Genoa / Zen 4.

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