Intel Confirms Q2'22 Ramp For Xeon Sapphire Rapids As Good News For Their Linux Bring-Up
Written by Michael Larabel in Intel on 29 June 2021 at 10:27 AM EDT. Add A Comment
INTEL --
While Xeon Scalable "Sapphire Rapids" was talked about for launching in late 2021, that was widely expected to be delayed. Intel today proactively confirmed that Sapphire Rapids will now begin production in Q1'2022 with their ramp beginning in Q2'2022.

Lisa Spelman confirmed today in an Intel.com posting about the Q2'2022 ramp and attributing the delay to allow more time for validation prior to the production release. With Sapphire Rapids sporting AMX, DSA, DDR5 memory, CXL, on-package HBM and other big changes over 3rd Gen Xeon Scalable "Ice Lake", it's understandable they want more time to vet things ahead of production. It was anticipated for a while that Sapphire Rapids would slip into 2022.

This delay is also good news for their Linux bring-up. Intel is well known for their rich and stable Linux support at launch especially for server platforms. While for many months Intel has been upstreaming various patches to the kernel, compilers, and related components around Sapphire Rapids, that enablement process isn't over.

In particular, the AMX changes for the Linux kernel haven't yet been upstreamed. I haven't seen them part of any -next pull for Linux 5.14 so more than likely will come later in the year for Linux 5.15~5.16. There is more software ecosystem work in general that can be done around the Advanced Matrix Extensions with the few extra months. Not expecting Sapphire Rapids until at least Q2 also means GCC 12 stable will be out along with LLVM Clang 14.0 by launch with any AMX improvements and other tuning/support for new instructions with Sapphire Rapids too.

Aside from the big AMX work, there still is pending work around the Data Streaming Accelerator and other features. Since Linux 5.12 has been initial CXL 2.0 support but there is still more enablement work happening there with just type-3 memory devices currently being supported.

So while Intel engineers have already been upstreaming Sapphire Rapids work for months, there is more code to land before it will be full-featured and with an extra quarter or two should allow for that to land in meeting the expectations we have come to appreciate out of Intel around their Linux hardware support. If Sapphire Rapids was still on track for EOY2021, there would be more loose ends than normal in their open-source/Linux support. The second quarter ramp for Sapphire Rapids also puts it out around the release of Ubuntu 22.04 LTS rather than 20.04.x and other early 2022 Linux distribution releases.

Stay tuned to Phoronix as more Sapphire Rapids Linux patches appear and new details as a result emerge.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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