Intel Goes After VDI with Crystalwell Xeons

Everyone’s getting a piece of Moohshot to go after VDI…

VDI inaction

At Citrx’s Synergy conference a few days ago Intel announced that it would begin offering new SKUs in its Xeon E3 lineup that incorporate its Crystalwell technology. Crystal Well, as you may recall, is Intel codename for Haswell chips that have a 128 MB L4 Cache that can be used to speed up both graphics and CPU operations. Our friends over at Anandtech managed to get their hands on a mobile version of Crystalwell last year. These new SKUs will be part of the E3-1200v3 product family as CPU-World reported in Febuary.

Frank Soqui of Intel and HP’s Dr. Tom Bradicich were up on stage to show off a new HP Moonshot cartage that was based on these new Crystall Well enabled Xeon E3 parts. They demoed Intel’s Graphics Virtualization technology dubbed Intel GVT which is a group of features that are useful for VDI, DaaS, transcode, and media streaming workloads.

GVT diagram

There are currently three versions of Intel GVT: -d, -s, -g. The –d version is a direct pass-through to the GPU where one virtualized GPU output maps to one GPU. The –s version extends this model by allowing multiple virtual outputs from a single Intel GPU. And the –g version extends this even further by allowing multiple virtual outputs to get time slices of the GPU’s full performance. Intel has promised that more version of GVT are coming in the future.

nvidia ceo

Last November AMD held a very similar even where they showed off an Opteron X-series based Moonshot cartage that was aimed at VDI workloads. While these products are aimed at similar workloads they are really quite different as Intel’s opted to use its large mainstream parts to attack this market while AMD used a Kabini derivative which is small and low power. If there is one thing that is clear, it’s that both x86 vendors think that the VDI market is worth addressing.S|A

The following two tabs change content below.
Thomas Ryan is a freelance technology writer and photographer from Seattle, living in Austin. You can also find his work on SemiAccurate and PCWorld. He has a BA in Geography from the University of Washington with a minor in Urban Design and Planning and specializes in geospatial data science. If you have a hardware performance question or an interesting data set Thomas has you covered.