This week at Supercomputing, everyone is getting excited about next generation hardware, not only on x86 but also GPUs, POWER, Arm, FPGAs, and accelerators. The danger of having so many partners trying to get business for their products and discuss future generations of products is that not everything is qualified through the original manufacturers and leaks are made. This is one such leak.

Intel’s major OEM server providers and partners on the Supercomputing show floor were demonstrating their next generation products. Intel’s DC Optane memory is a big part of that for certain OEMs, and as a result they were keen to show the modules on the slow floor as well as the server racks and motherboard designs. While there were no Cascade Lake processors directly visible, which are required for Optane support, on the show floor, many companies were offering demonstrations of what they intend to offer. However, we found one that actually showed the expected timescale in what looks like a confidential presentation that was accidentally put on display. We snapped this photo near the end of the show, so I'm surprised it stayed up that long.

The key part of the image is the launch window, which states that all Cascade Lake-SP processors will be available between the end of Q1 through most of Q2. This is essentially a 'March to May' window, which verifies a similar report we had seen elsewhere. This is well beyond the 2018 time frame Intel announced at its DCI Summit earlier this year, however, it does look like Intel will at least ship for revenue in 2018 with the Early Shipment Program.

The Early Shipment program, using only the larger XCC 28-core models, are shipping from the middle of Q4 2018, which is effectively now. This includes the Intel DC Optane Memory shipping test systems with up to 512GB modules. The company had a full Cascade Lake system at the show filled with normal memory and 128GB Optane modules, albeit without CPUs. These early shipment systems are usually targeted to customers involved in Intel’s Early Sampling Program as well.

The ‘March to May’ window for the full launch as seen on the slide does throw up a few questions as to where Cooper Lake will land later in 2019 (or if it will just ship for revenue in 2019). The new Cascade Lake-SP processors will have additional hardening for architectural attacks such as L1TF and Meltdown Variant 3, although with Intel’s recent reports that it has an increased demand, it may end up being a tough time filling orders (despite selling everything that they make and making record revenues). There is no word on pricing at this time. Given Intel’s previous statements, we expect Cascade Lake-AP to also be launched in this window.

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  • IntelUser2000 - Saturday, November 17, 2018 - link

    Cascade Lake is server-only. And the server-derived HEDT processors.
  • HStewart - Saturday, November 17, 2018 - link

    I completely understand that - I was referring to mobile cousin
  • jjjag - Saturday, November 17, 2018 - link

    Your question gives away your ignorance. A "laptop version" of a big Xeon part? Try again...
  • HStewart - Saturday, November 17, 2018 - link

    That is not what I implying here - I mean taking the architecture enhancements of Cascade Lake and applying it do mobile series. Yes there are mobile Zeon's but the technology is not there to bring that level of cpu technology to the laptop. Time will tell - but one it will likely be possible eliminated to difference between mobile and desktop. Well power technology has change enough so that it can be power in laptop

    I think Rudde answer my question - with the Whiskey Lake processors. I believe Whiskey Lake does have the functionality in improvement with Spectre/Meltdown speaks but some of the other functionality is missing. It likely something new in 2019 - maybe Ice Lake.
  • Kevin G - Sunday, November 18, 2018 - link

    Cannon Lake has AVX-512 and its initial launch window wasn't too far behind that of Sky Lake-SP. Intel's 10 nm production issue has put them years behind schedule.

    Cascade Lake is an errata fixed version of Sky Lake-SP. The Optane DIMM support was initially set to launch with Sky Lake-SP but was pulled at the last minute. Thus with the then known 10 nm issues, Cascade Lake emerged as a stop gap solution for the late 2018 time frame while the 10 nm server part needed time. (I've heard that Cannon Lake-SP was set to be after Sky Lake-SP to follow the regular tick-tock cadence but was pulled off the road map in favor of jumping straight to Ice Lake-SP). Cooper Lake was added to the road map earlier this year to sit between Cascade Lake and Ice Lake-SP

    Instead of Cascade Lake, consumers got Whisky Lake and Amber Lake for mobile and ultra mobile this year. Those didn't exist on their road map until roughly a year ago as well.

    The real question is if the Ice Lake that we are going to be getting is the same chip that Intel initially had planned under the Ice Lake name. So far the early Ice Lake mobile leaks point toward a mediocre increase in IPC, mainly due to a larger L1 data cache, L2 cache and finally bringing AVX-512 to consumers (the rare as hen's teeth Cannon Lake chips really don't count). The sad thing it is that those changes could have been accomplished on 14 nm at the cost of a larger die size. Ditto for Intel new GPU designs which were all based around 10 nm. Given the lag in 10 nm production, they did have the time to back port certain features like the display controller to bring DP 1.3/DP1.4 to the platform.
  • Santoval - Sunday, November 18, 2018 - link

    No, both Cascade and Cooper Lake are -X and -SP only products based on the original Skylake-X design, i.e. with 1 MB L2 cache instead of 256 KB, less L3 cache, a AVX-512 block and some other minor differences. I have no idea if the -AP series will be based on a different design, but it will almost certainly be based on new dies, due to the highly unusual number of its cores (48). I wonder if Intel will design new 24-core dies (and glue two) or 12-core dies (and glue four).

    Mainstream processors (6 to 8 cores, high and mid power) will apparently have to wait for Ice Lake at the end of 2019 (since Cannon Lake was effectively canned), based on Intel's latest roadmap anyway, with the lower power processors being covered by Whiskey Lake (15W) and Amber Lake (5W) until Ice Lake. Intel could yet release an intermediate refresh until Ice Lake, but I strongly doubt they would use the Skylake-X design on their mainstream CPUs.

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