Clearwater Forest: up to 17 chips for a single CPU!


Intel’s next generation of server processors, Clearwater Forest, based on E-Core, is already the talk of the town. In fact, we’ve learned that it will incorporate a large number of chips while combining different engraving finesses. This generation is expected for 2025!

Clearwater Forest: 17 dies in one CPU, all with different etchings!

Clearwater ForestWith this generation of processors, Intel will offer its second generation of E-Core-based Xeons. It will succeed Sierra Forest, due to arrive later this year.

For this series, Intel will be offering massive CPUs featuring a large number of dies : up to 17 in all. Among these, we have 12 dedicated to the cores, which will be etched using the Intel 18A process (1.8 nm). In addition, there are three chips comprising the cache, voltage regulation circuits and internal network. In terms of engraving, we’ll be using Intel 3 (3 nm). Finally, two I/O dies will also be present, all with Intel 7 etching.

This describes the maximum configuration reached by these processors. However, the advantage of MCM is modularity and cost optimization. Indeed, if Intel wants to offer smaller CPUs, all it has to do is reduce the number of CPU dies. If you remove enough of them for small configurations, you can even remove an I/O die, or even one or more cache memory dies. All this can be done seamlessly without having to design a new chip, as was the case with monolithic designs.

Intel ribbonFet

Finally, these processors will exploit a new type of transistor: ribbonFet. Broadly speaking, ribbonFet transistors are designed for better voltage control. The result is higher or lower switching speeds, depending on the application, at least compared with the FinFet widely used until now.