Intel Agilex: 10nm FPGAs with PCIe, DDR5, and CXL

Since Intel purchased Altera for an amazing amount of cash a number of years in the past (Ed: $ 16.7 billion), the FPGA portfolio that has come out is basically a pre-Intel product. At present, nevertheless, that is altering as Intel broadcasts its first totally Intel-developed FPGA primarily based by itself proprietary 10nm Agilex model course of. Launched later this 12 months for sampling, this new product vary presents a mixture of analog, digital, storage, customized I / O and eASIC variants inside a single platform.


For customers accustomed to Intel's FPGA household, the brand new Agilex portfolio is a era improve to the present Stratix 10 household. The brand new Agilex components provide as much as 40% increased efficiency or 40% decrease efficiency, as much as 40 TFLOPs of DSP efficiency and assist for all the most recent and future applied sciences, in response to Intel. This final half turns into necessary because the position of the FPGA evolves right into a general-purpose design platform for an optimized computing platform.

The Agilex FPGA is predicated on related design rules because the Stratix – a central FPGA block with hardened properties and exterior connections to totally different applied sciences, in response to buyer necessities. For these exterior connections, Intel makes use of Embedded Multi-Die Interconnect Bridge (EMIB) expertise, which might be prolonged to different chiplets within the examples given. Intel chiplet proposals embrace excessive bandwidth bandwidth (HBM), subsequent era 112G transceivers, PCIe Gen root complexes, Compute eXpress hyperlink interfaces (by way of PCIe, further CPU cache coherent interconnects and different recognized chiplets / IP by the shopper. As well as, Agilex will assist the Optane DC Persistent Reminiscence from Intel.


One of many main FPGA household updates was the current acquisition of eASIC by Intel. Intel has been working with eASIC for a number of years. Nevertheless, in 2018, the corporate was totally acquired to create further synergies for its programmable product portfolio. With Agilex, the primary section of this imaginative and prescient is to be achieved. Clients searching for quick IP supply can work with Intel's eASIC division for IPL provisioning of chiplets or integration with the FPGA, sooner than the shopper can use Intel's personal product design chain.

The usage of PCIe Gen can be an necessary aspect for Agilex, as prospects can join on to future PCIe host units, in addition to Intel's new Compute eXpress Hyperlink expertise primarily based on PCIe bodily requirements. CXL is Intel's personal cache-coherent connection that competes with GenZ and CCIX (or whoever you ask). Given Intel's feedback on CXL, it’s clear that if PCIe is omnipresent, it intends to make use of its add-in card portfolio for both CXL, PCIe, or each. An enormous matter from Intel these days is switching to discrete graphics that might profit from it. Nevertheless, Agilex could seem like the primary to take Intel's new normal when it's prepared – by that point, Intel has indicated that Agilex helps UPI as its cohesive fundamental connectivity possibility for the cache.


As at all times with the FPGA market, Intel addresses the same old suspects they might use: networking, cloud, embedded, and enterprise. The most recent software examples for FPGAs on this space relate to each edge implementations and networks. Subsequently, we are able to anticipate from Intel case research of the brand new in these areas. AI can be necessary as Intel intends to announce that its Agilex portfolio could have assist for bfloat16 and different low-precision, even as much as INT2, quantity codecs. These are managed by Intel's OneAPI technique, and the corporate states that whereas the FPGA can be utilized for the AI, it ought to compete with Nirvana and Movidius.

One attention-grabbing aspect in our discussions with Agilex about Intel was that the corporate talked about 3D stacking and integration. I requested if this was only a point out of HBM or one thing extra detailed, such because the Foveros expertise the corporate demonstrated in late 2018. Intel stated the 3D integration can be an anticipated growth of the product line, and a foresight into the longer term with Agilex's second era. It is perhaps anticipated that no date was identified when this could occur, however nonetheless attention-grabbing.


Agilex is obtainable in three variants: F, I and M, with the precise assist listed under. Intel Quartus Prime software program will assist these variants from April 2019, and first availability of F Collection units can be out there from Q3 2019.

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