Intel’s Arctic Sound-M Server Accelerator To Land Mid-2022 With Hardware AV1 Encoding

Rounding out Intel’s direct GPU-related bulletins from this morning as a part of the corporate’s annual investor assembly, Intel has confirmed that the corporate can be on the point of ship a extra conventional GPU-based accelerator card for server use a bit later this yr. Dubbed Arctic Sound-M, the forthcoming accelerator is being aimed particularly on the media encoding and analytics market, with Intel planning to take full benefit of what must be the primary server accelerator with {hardware} AV1 video encoding. Arctic Sound-M is anticipated to launch in the midst of this.

The announcement of Arctic Sound-M follows a busy, and in the end sidetracked set of plans for Intel’s unique GPU server {hardware}. The firm initially commissioned their Xe-HP sequence of GPUs to anchor the normal server market, however Xe-HP was canceled in November of last year. Intel didn’t surrender on the server market, however exterior of the distinctive Ponte Vecchio design for the HPC market, they did again away from utilizing fairly a lot devoted server silicon.

In the place of these unique merchandise, which have been codenamed Arctic Sound, Intel is as a substitute coming to market with Arctic Sound-M. Given the investor-focused nature of in the present day’s presentation, Intel isn’t publishing a lot in the way in which of technical particulars for his or her forthcoming server accelerator, however we will infer from their teaser movies that that is an Alchemist (Xe-HPC half), as we will clearly see the bigger Alchemist die mounted on a single-slot card in Intel’s teaser video. This is in step with the Xe-HP cancellation announcement, as on the time, Intel’s GPU frontman, Raja Koduri indicated that we’d see server merchandise based mostly on Xe-HPG as a substitute.

Arctic Sound-M, in flip, is being positioned as a server accelerator card for the media market, with Intel calling it a “media and analytics supercomputer”. Accordingly, Intel is putting particularly heavy emphasis on the media processing capabilities of the cardboard, each with regard to whole throughput and in codecs supported. In explicit, Intel expects that Arctic Sound-M would be the first accelerator card launched with {hardware} AV1 encoding help, giving the corporate an edge with bandwidth-sensitive prospects who’re prepared to make use of the next-generation video codec.

Interestingly, this additionally implies that {hardware} AV1 encoding is a local characteristic of (at the very least) the big Alchemist die. Though given the potential worth of the primary {hardware} AV1 encoder, it stays to be seen whether or not Intel will allow it on their shopper Arc playing cards, or depart it restricted to their server card.

Meanwhile when it comes to compute efficiency for media analytics/AI inference, Intel is quoting a determine of 150 TOPS for INT8. There aren’t a ton of nice comparisons right here when it comes to competing {hardware}, however the closest comparability when it comes to card dimension and use circumstances could be NVIDIA’s A2 accelerator, the place on paper, the Arctic Sound-M would ship virtually 4x the inference efficiency. It goes with out saying that the proof is within the pudding for a brand new product like Intel’s GPUs, but when they will ship on these efficiency figures, then Arctic Sound-M would be capable to safely occupy a really particular area of interest within the bigger server accelerator market.

Past that, like the remainder of Intel’s Arc(tic) merchandise, anticipate to listen to extra particulars a bit later this yr.

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