If you ask the reason why Intel got the craving to design GPUs like NVIDIA and AMD, the answer that most will tell you is gaming. In fact, large amounts of money are moved in the HPC market in the form of large contracts. Enough to create the most complex GPU in history. What is the exploded view of Ponte Vecchio and what does it reveal to us?
Ponte Vecchio or also known as Xe-HPC is the code name for Intel’s GPU for high-performance computing, such as supercomputers and data centers geared towards scientific computing that require not only great speed, but also the capacity to work with high data accuracy. It is an extremely complex hardware made up of different chips from different manufacturers and one of the most complex pieces in history.
That is why Intel proudly shows the design when it can, and to be able to manufacture a chip of such complexity is not easy at all and has required the development of various packaging technologies such as EMIB and Foveros to be able to communicate the different chiplets that are part of this piece. of engineering. Well, we finally know the breakdown of Ponte Vecchio and who makes each of the elements.
This is the exploded view of Intel Ponte Vecchio
The exploded view of Intel Ponte Vecchio regarding who manufactures each piece and under which manufacturing node would be as follows:
- The 47 active parts include 11 EMIBs or silicon bridges and 8 HBM2E memories.
- 2 Base Tiles manufactured under the Intel 7 process.
- The 16 Compute Tiles that include what is the heart of the GPU are manufactured under the 5nm node of TSMC.
- The 8 RAMBO Cache that serve as LLC and to give consistency in memory access to the different pieces have been manufactured under the Intel 7 node.
- Both Xe-Links make use of TSMC’s 7nm node.
What stands out from all this is the use of the TSMC 5nm node for the so-called Compute Tile, which are the ones that include the shader units and, therefore, the center of the computing power. It is very striking that we are not talking about the same node used in the ARC Alchemist that will come out this year and if we take into account that Intel will start using GPU for tiles in its CPUs from Meteor Lake and that ARC Battlemage could be a GPU composed of tiles this leaves us with the following conclusion: Is Ponte Vecchio a disguised Intel DG3 instead of a DG2?
A complex manufacturing GPU
First an overview:
2x Base Tiles: Intel 7
16x Compute Tiles: TSMC N5
8x RAMBO Cache Tiles: Intel 7
2x Xe-Link Tiles: TSMC N7
47 functional tiles + 16 thermal tiles = 63 in total.
— Andreas Schilling (@aschilling) February 21, 2022
The graphics card for high-performance computing is a piece that divides the functionality of 47 different tiles or chiplets that add up to a total of more than 100,000 million transistors. Making such a chip in one piece and with such a number of logic gates and memory cells would be impossible due to manufacturing limitations. That is why Intel has chosen to divide the functionality of the chip into several different chips, a tactic that is being used by all industry participants in the face of the increasing cost of manufacturing processors under the most advanced nodes.
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