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Intel starts shipping Stratix 10 DX FPGAs

Intel has announced that it has begun shipments of the Stratix 10 DX field programmable gate arrays (FPGA).

The new FPGAs have been designed to support Intel Ultra Path Interconnect (Intel UPI), PCI-Express (PCIe) Gen4 x16, and a new controller for Intel Optane memory to provide flexible, high performance acceleration. VMware is one of many early access program participants.

Commenting David Moore, Intel VP and General Manager, FPGA and Power Products, Network and Custom Logic Group, said: "Intel Stratix 10 FPGAs are the first designed to combine key features that boost acceleration of workloads in the cloud and enterprise when used with Intel's portfolio of data centre solutions. No other FPGA currently offers this combination of features for server designs based on future select Intel Xeon Scalable processors."

The Stratix 10 DX FPGAs include the option to support select Intel Optane DC persistent memory dual in-line memory modules (DIMMs)1. They increase bandwidth and provide coherent memory expansion and hardware acceleration for upcoming select Intel Xeon Scalable processors.

Data centre customers are using hardware accelerators, like FPGAs, when more computational speed is required from server systems running networking and cloud-based applications such as artificial intelligence training/inferencing or database-related workloads.

The effective performance of hardware accelerators depends heavily on the communications bandwidth and latency between one or more server CPUs, available system memory and any attached accelerator (GPU, FPGA, application-specific standard products, etc.).

By diverting certain tasks to accelerators, more CPU cores become available to work on other higher priority workloads, increasing data centre operator efficiency. Intel’s FPGA-based accelerators provide hardware-assisted performance combined with the flexibility to adapt to multiple workloads.

The UPI interface in combination with future select Intel Xeon Scalable Processors is claimed to deliver 37% lower latency and improve overall system performance via coherent data movement and a theoretical peak transfer rate of 28 GB/second. Memory coherent FPGA interfaces are a part of Intel’s roadmap as it moves toward Compute Express Link availability in 2021.

The PCI-SIG compliant Gen4 x16 interface delivers a theoretical peak data bandwidth of 32 GB/second. Both data centre and non-data centre applications will realize about two times more throughput.

The memory controller supports up to eight Intel Optane DC persistent memory DIMMs per FPGA (up to 4 TB of non-volatile memory).

Other existing Stratix 10 FPGA features include 100 GB/second Ethernet, HBM2 memory stacks and a quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 processor subsystem with peripherals.

Neil Tyler

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