Intel has launched into the market, a new kind of Xeon CPU that has been integrated with FPGA. The new entrants into Intel’s chip sets are designed to be compatible with the standard E5 LGA2011 socket. The integration of FPGA into the chips means that each chip can be customised according to the need of each user.
This makes it a highly sort after product by enterprises and data centre alike given the flexibility of the product. Intel has allowed for greater customisability of the product to compete with Nvidia’s GPGPU accelerators. The blue chip giant is expected to ship the process sometime early next year.
Intel had earlier gobbled up Altera, a FPGA retailer for a staggering sum of $16.7 billion. After the acquisition, came the announcement from Intel in mid-2014 that it is developing a Xeon CPU integrated with FPGA.
FPGA stands for field-programmable gate arrays and is basically a blank chip that can be rewritten and reprogrammed even after being initially programmed by the manufacturer. Unlike the average CPU found on laptops and desktops, which is rigid and can never be reprogrammed, FPGA allows the flexibility to be reprogrammed without compromising on the performance.
The FPGA provides our customers a programmable, high performance coherent acceleration capability to turbo-charge their critical algorithms.
Intel believes that Xeon FPGA can deliver faster performance and adapt to the demands of an organisation that keeps its workloads variable. Using FPGA an organisation can avoid spending unnecessarily on buying new chip sets in the midst of a change and can simply reprogram the existing CPU to adapt to the new requirements.
FPGA are reportedly manufactured by Altera for Intel and are relatively bulkier, which can be regarded as the only disadvantage that comes with these products.
Tough it is early to speculate a price on the product, it won’t come any cheaper than the existing Xeon products. Intel too has kept mum on the pricing and might not disclose it until the product is shipped.