Intel Says Upcoming Data Centre Chip More Than Doubles Efficiency

A data centre, storage, server

Intel says upcoming Sierra Forest data centre chip offers 240 percent efficiency gains over current-generation Xeon, as it looks for comeback

Intel has said its upcoming Sierra Forest data centre chips offer more than double the power-efficiency of its current generation of processors, as the company seeks to regain ground in the data centre market lost to competitors such as AMD and efficiency-focused start-up Ampere Computing.

Santa Clara, California-based Intel said Sierra Forest, its next-generation Xeon server chip, would deliver 240 percent the performance per watt of current-generation chips and 2.5 percent improved rack density in data centres.

At the Hot Chips conference at Sanford University the company emphasised that the upcoming chips remained on track to launch in the first half of next year.

That’s a critical factor following repeated delays to its current Sapphire Rapids server chip, which allowed AMD to make significant market share gains before the chip finally launched early this year.

Intel Image credit Slejven Djurakovic Unsplash
Image credit: Slejven Djurakovic/Unsplash

Revenue drop

Due to such factors Intel last month reported a 15 percent year-on-year revenue decline for its data centre and AI unit in the second quarter, a segment that includes sever CPUs data centre GPUs and artificial intelligence chips.

That was an improvement over the first quarter, when the unit recorded a 39 percent year-on-year decline.

Intel plans to split its server chip lineup for the first time next year, with Sierra Forest sharing the platform with Granite Rapids, a performance-oriented chip that is the direct successor to the current Sapphire Rapids.

The company said Granite Rapids would follow “shortly” after Sierra Forest and would use the same Intel 3 manufacturing process.

Platform split

The chips are designed to be as interchangeable as possible, Intel said, sharing such design elements as sockets and firmware.

Sierra Forest is to be followed by Clearwater Forest in 2025, using a sub-2nm process called Intel 18A.

Intel has previously said it plans to launch an update to Sapphire Rapids called Emerald Rapids in the fourth quarter, using the same Intel 7 manufacturing process.