FPGAs Provide High Bandwidth For Data Center Traffic


Intel has unveiled its Stratix 10 MX FPGA, which it claims is the industry’s first field programmable gate array (FPGA) with integrated High Bandwidth Memory DRAM (HBM2). By integrating HBM2, these FPGAs offer up to 10 times the memory bandwidth when compared with standalone DDR memory solutions. Intel states that these bandwidth capabilities make these FPGAs the essential multi-function accelerators for high-performance computing (HPC), data centers, network functions virtualization (NFV), and broadcast applications that require hardware accelerators to speed-up mass data movements and stream data pipeline frameworks.

Intel Stratix 10 MX FPGAs provide a maximum memory bandwidth of 512 gigabytes per second with the integrated HBM2

The new FPGAs are specially suited for HPC environments, where they address the challenge of compressing and decompressing data before or after mass data movements. HBM2-based FPGAs can compress and accelerate larger data movements compared with stand-alone FPGAs, Intel claimed.

With High Performance Data Analytics (HPDA) environments, streaming data pipeline frameworks like Apache Kafka and Apache Spark Streaming require real-time hardware acceleration. The new FPGAs, according to Intel, can simultaneously read/write data and encrypt/decrypt data in real-time without burdening the host CPU resources.


“To efficiently accelerate these workloads, memory bandwidth needs to keep pace with the explosion in data”, said Reynette Au, vice president of marketing, Intel Programmable Solutions Group. “We designed the Intel Stratix 10 MX family to provide a new class of FPGA-based multi-function data accelerators for HPC and HPDA markets.”

“The FPGAs provide a maximum memory bandwidth of 512 gigabytes per second with the integrated HBM2”. HBM2 vertically stacks DRAM layers using silicon via (TSV) technology. These DRAM layers sit on a base layer that connects to the FPGA using high density micro bumps.

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Intel explained that the FPGAs utilize the firm’s Embedded Multi-Die Interconnect Bridge (EMIB) that speeds communication between FPGA fabric and the DRAM. EMIB works to efficiently integrate HBM2 with a high-performance monolithic FPGA fabric, solving the memory bandwidth bottleneck in a power-efficient manner.

Intel is shipping several Intel Stratix 10 FPGA family variants, including the Intel Stratix 10 GX FPGAs (with 28G transceivers) and the Intel Stratix 10 SX FPGAs (with embedded quad-core ARM processor).

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