December 19, 2017 // 11:33 a.m.
Intel has officially telegraphed High Bandwidth Memory 2 (HBM2) as a technology to be watched with the launch of the company's first field-programmable gate array (FPGA) accelerator to include HBM2 on-package.
Following its acquisition of Altera in 2015 Intel has been slowly pushing field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) - chips which can have their internal logic connected in a variety of ways using 'gateware' packages, allowing them to carry out application-specific tasks at a greater speed than a general-purpose processor yet swap to a different task when required - as the ideal companions to its x86-based central processors. Last year the company launched the Stratix 10, its first new ARM-based processor since the abandoning of the XScale platform in 2006, and now it's pushing High Bandwidth Memory 2 (HBM2) on-package to differentiate itself from the crowd.
'To efficiently accelerate these [high-performance computing] workloads, memory bandwidth needs to keep pace with the explosion in data,' claims Reynette Au, vice president of marketing for Intel's Programmable Solutions Group, of the launch. 'We designed the Intel Stratix 10 MX family to provide a new class of FPGA-based multi-function data accelerators for HPC and HPDA [High Performance Data Analytics] markets.'
The HBM2 dies on the Stratix 10 MX package offer 512 gigabytes per second (GB/s) of throughput, Intel claims, communicating with the FPGA using an Embedded Multi-Die Interconnect Bridge (EMIB). All models in the family are built on the company's 14nm FinFET production process, with stock-keeping units (SKUs) ranging from the Stratix 10 MX 1100 with 1.092 million logic elements, 370,080 adaptive logic modules, 1.48 million ALM registers, 3.25GB HBM2 and 35Mb (megabits) of eSRAM in a single block to the Stratix 10 MX 2100 with 2.073 million LEs, 702,720 ALMs, 2.81 million ALM registers, 16GB of HBM2, and 90Mb of eSRAM in two blocks. As with previous Stratix launches, each FPGA also includes an Arm die in the form of a quad-core 64-bit Cortex-A53 MPCore system-on-chip central processor.
Pricing for the new parts has yet to be confirmed, with more information available on Altera's website.