Intel Cannon Lake Could Bring AVX-512 Mainstream

/ 3 years ago

Cannon Lake

Since before the Core series, Intel has alternated process node and architecture improvements. With each new architecture, there were often major changes and new instruction sets. One such instruction set is the new AVX series. After introducing a new set of AVX instructions with each new architecture, Intel held back with Skylake. According to new information, AVX-512 will finally come with Cannon Lake.

AVX first arrived with Sandy Bridge while AVX 2 arrived with Haswell. Before Skylake launched, the expectation was that it would get AVX-512 at launch. Unfortunately, Intel decided to hold back AVX-512 for consumers. AVX-512 arrived only with Core X Skylake-X HEDT processors, and on Xeon Skylake-W and Skylake-SP. Mainstream Skylake did not get the upgrade and neither did Kaby Lake as well.

Cannon Lake AVX-512 Leapfrogs Skylake-SP

For Cannon Lake, Intel documents point to AVX-512 being included. The new instructions are AVX512F, AVX512CD, AVX512DQ, AVX512BW, and AVX512VL, along with AVX512_IFMA and AVX512_VBMI commands. This brings Cannon Lake up and past the Skylake SP standard. At this point, it is still unclear if all Cannon Lake CPUs will get AVX-512. For instance, low-end ULV mobile processors may still lose out.

With AVX-512, somewhat common operations like encoding, rendering and cryptography should get a good performance boost. As consumers increasingly value security and become content creators, this extra performance will be nice to have. It will be interesting to see if Zen 2 from AMD will also support AVX-512 as well or if it will come later. Either way, it looks like Cannon Lake will be a good improvement for IPC and performance.

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