Intel launches 3rd Gen Xeon Scalable ‘Ice Lake’ processors with AI power for data centers

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Intel's Ice Lake chips feature AI performance for edge applications and data centers.
Image: Intel

As the world continues to adopt cloud computing and virtual applications, data centers have become more important than ever. Due to the power consumption of traditional data center hardware, operators are always looking for more efficient ways to get ahead of the curve.

On Tuesday, Intel announced its latest data center platform, the 3rd Gen Xeon Scalable processors. They combine some of the chip giant’s most powerful technology to create a high-performance solution for data centers.

Codenamed Ice Lake, the chips also feature integrated artificial intelligence (AI) and advanced security capabilities.

Welcomed Upgrade

Intel’s Ice Lake chips have been a topic of conversation for some time. Even so, the company has been tight-lipped about its latest processors up until this point. Last August, it offered a few details about the 10nm chips. In November, it said that its 32-core offerings will outperform AMD’s 64-core EPYC processors.

Now, Intel has finally opened the door on what to expect from its 3rd Gen Xeon Scalable processors. In a press release, it says that the chips will deliver 74 percent faster AI performance compared to the previous generation. That’s significant in today’s computing environment since AI applications continue to grow in popularity.

The company notes that Ice Lake chips boast 40 cores per processor and support up to six terabytes of system memory per socket. They also support up to eight channels of DDR4-3200 memory per socket and up to 64 lanes of PCIe Gen4 per socket.

Meanwhile, the chips feature Intel’s Optane memory, enabling them to move, store, and process data at an unmatched level.

Ultimately, these features combine to let Intel’s latest platform deliver a 46 percent performance improvement on popular data center workloads.

Many Applications

The power behind Intel’s new 3rd Gen Xeon Scalable platform means it is well-suited to a wide variety of applications. It’s worth noting that the company has already shipped more than 200,000 units to customers around the world. Intel claims that it has partnered with more than 50 OxM companies, 15 major telecom equipment manufacturers, and 20 HPC labs.

As noted, the Ice Lake chips are ideal for cloud applications. Since Intel’s Xeon platform already powers many of the world’s most influential cloud operations, upgrading to the latest chips will deliver far-reaching improvements.

Meanwhile, the processors have advantages for intelligent edge applications. In its press release, Intel notes that its latest chips “deliver the performance, security, and operational controls required for powerful AI, complex image or video analytics, and consolidated workloads at the intelligent edge.”

Using AI from a data center is one thing. Being able to use it at the edge is dramatically more powerful. It is key to unlocking the technology’s potential in the coming years.

As for Intel’s new 3rd Gen Xeon Scalable platform, things look promising. It will be interesting to see how the platform performs in the real world. Expect it to roll out over the course of this year.

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