Intel this week initiated an end-of-life plan for its Movidius Neural Compute Stick, which is based on the Myriad 2 VPU. The product will be available for another year and Intel will continue to provide technical support for the device for another two years. For developers currently working on products powered by the NCS, Intel suggests developers move over to the more advanced Myriad X-based Neural Compute Stick 2.

The Intel Movidius Neural Compute Stick is based on the Myriad 2 vision compute unit (VPU), and offered up to 100 GFLOPS/1 TOPS compute capacity when it was launched in mid-2017. The USB compute stick was primarily aimed at developers of low-power products that require a compute vision and/or deep learning accelerator, with developers both prototyping on the NCS and in some cases outright using it in production devices. Since then, Intel released a considerably more powerful Myriad X VPU, which offers four times higher TOPS performance and providing a better feature-set. In addition, Intel offers a variety of vision accelerator products based on Myriad-series VPUs as well as Arria-series FPGAs available in various form-factors.

One of the key differences between the Intel NCS and the more advanced solutions like those powered by the Myriad X is that while the former uses Intel’s proprietary Movidius Neural Compute SDK, the latter rely on Intel’s distribution of OpenVINO toolkit, which is compatible with open-source OpenVINO industry-standard software packages.

With new hardware and SDKs available, and the market for AI ASICs as a whole quickly heating up with more powerful competitors, it looks like the market is winding down for the original Movidius NCS. As a result, Intel will cease taking for the hardware on October 30, 2019, and will ship all outstanding orders April 30, 2020. The company will continue to offer technical support for the part till April 30, 2021. As a result, it looks like the Movidius NCS will have a considerably shorter lifespan than the Myriad X (which was also launched in 2017).

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Sources: Intel, Intel

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  • name99 - Monday, May 6, 2019 - link

    I understand the claim that they’re moving to a unified API. What’s unclear is the extent to which this is feasible. From a 10,000 ft level it’s all “throughput” computing, but as you get closer to the metal some patterns work on some hardware and not others.

    In the past none of this would matter, one had some confidence Intel would pull it all off. Now I’m not as confident as you are. It’s a lot of work, in a space where Intel has had little prior experience, with little feedback from partners, and targeting hardware that hasn’t been around long or isn’t even shipping yet.

    Maybe I’m too pessimistic? We’ll see.
  • Ashinjuka - Friday, May 3, 2019 - link

    The headline is using the exact terminology, "discontinued", that is used by Intel themselves in both of the source links at the bottom of the article.
  • willis936 - Friday, May 3, 2019 - link

    This just in: a 2.3 TW photon emission is headed our way from the sun.
  • Lord of the Bored - Saturday, May 4, 2019 - link

    Oh crap! LOOK FOR COVER!
  • nevcairiel - Friday, May 3, 2019 - link

    This isn't anything like a CPU or some other generic component that you can just replace and move on.

    If you developed software against such a device, then this is noteworthy news, since the so-called "replacement" does not offer the same API - which means your software doesn't work. Its a decent time investment to get your software moved over to an entirely different device, with a different API.
  • Ryan Smith - Friday, May 3, 2019 - link

    Thanks for the feedback.

    The problem here is that Intel named the product family and the first product in it the same thing. The stick is outright called the Movidius Compute Stick, and that's the terminology Intel uses in their documentation. Which for that matter, is also outright labeled a Product Discontinuance notice. So Intel really is discontinuing the MCS - they're just not discontinuing the whole family.

    For our part, if it was the entire family being discontinued, then the article title would reflect that, e.g. "Intel Discontinues Movidius Neural Compute Stick Family".

    Still, I do see where you're coming from. So I've altered the title a bit to try to clear things up, even if it's not quite consistent with Intel's naming.

    As for Bulldozer, AMD hasn't discontinued the BD family. They still make Excavator parts and probably will for quite some time to come. But once they do stop and file notice, you'll definitely see an article on AnandTech noting the end of the Bulldozer family.
  • Sahrin - Saturday, May 4, 2019 - link

    bulldozer derived products are still being sold today... :/
  • webdoctors - Friday, May 3, 2019 - link

    Maybe better to say depracated, so folks understand its being replaced/updated with a better version?
  • HStewart - Friday, May 3, 2019 - link

    yes. discontinue sounds like they cancel the product. People said that about Atom - but even the new Lakefeild coming later this year and it had 4 atom derived chips but a future generation along with more powerful Sunny Cove core
  • lmcd - Tuesday, May 7, 2019 - link

    That's a pretty delusional view of Atom, considering that thousands of people on the Atom team lost their jobs and entire product lines were cut.

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