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You don't need no STEEENKING GPU, says Intel

Xeon E3-1500 v5 plans to 4k-up video and VDI, even more so with 3D Xpoint

By Simon Sharwood, 1 Jun 2016

Intel's again trying to make the argument that integrated graphics trump dedicated graphics processing units, by cooking a new Xeon tuned to processing video.

Chipzilla's been here before: its Iris Pro graphics made it into last year's Xeons.

This year's Xeon E3-1500 v5 is pitched at those who want to stream 4K video. It's therefore claimed that just one of the CPUs will be able to chomp on 4K video and deliver two real-time HEVC streams at 30 frame-per-seconds, or “up to 18 AVC streams” for 1080p video at 30FPS.

Or to put in another way: compressing 4K video to make it fit for streaming needs half the resources of a very hefty server.

It's a good thing, then, that Intel said the 4K market is still pretty immature, driven mostly by stuff punters shoot themselves. But of course there's plenty more to come. Which is where Chipzilla says its non-volatile 3D Xpoint comes in as apparently faster memory will mean rendering jobs that today take thirty-odd hours can now be crammed into ten. What RAM do dedicated GPUs use again?

Intel launched the CPU at Computex, the Taiwanese trade show that emphasises consumer tech. Video is an easier way to explain the E3 than applications like desktop virtualisation (VDI), so Intel's led with video-crunching prowess. But VDI is definitely on Intel's mind. Diane M. Bryant, Intel's executive vice president and general manager of Chipzilla's Data Center Group told The Register the new Xeon out-performs GPU-powered VDI.

Bryant didn't quote tests, so we'll take that one with a grain of salt for now.

But we are certain that VMware and Citrix have both, of late, struck up relationships with NVIDIA to use its GPUs for VDI rigs that bring graphics-intensive applications wherever they need to go.

But last week Citrix announced Iris Pro support for Xen Server, in part to do better VDI. Citrix knew the E3-1500 v5 was on the way at the time of that announcement but timing meant it couldn't crow about what it would mean for VDI. It can now, and VMware surely won't be far behind, as Intel's given both a new way to chase the graphics-intensive virtual desktop market both covet while also giving users the chance to consider VDI in smaller, denser, rigs. ®

The Register - Independent news and views for the tech community. Part of Situation Publishing