The new chip which mixes its Xeon processors with Altera’s programmable chips will end up being sent to Intel’s biggest customers.
Diane Bryant, senior vice president of Intel’s Data Centre Group, speaking at the Structure Conference in San Francisco said the chip has been on the drawing board for more than a year – before Intel bought Altera.
For those who came in late Altera makes field programmable gate arrays, or FPGAs, which are chips that can be reprogrammed after manufacturing.
Such chips have been used in specialty applications, but were not typically used in the servers that run gigantic data centres. Intel’s estimates that FGPAs will run a third of data centre servers by the year 2020.
“Combining Xeon with FPGAs, gives Intel a more powerful and programmable chip that can plug into existing Xeon slots, said Bryant.
Early recipients of the chips will be the “Super 7” companies that run the biggest data centres in the world and by virtue of their size they get access to Intel’s technology earlier than the rest of the universe. Intel’s Super 7 are Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Alibaba, Baidu, and Tencent.
The new chips will help Intel customers such as Microsoft and PayPal run search and transaction algorithms that are highly customizable and that change rapidly.