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Intel Releases their CXL 1.0 Interconnect Standard

Founders include Intel, Dell, Facebook, Google and Microsoft

Intel Releases their CXL 1.0 Interconnect Standard

Intel Releases their CXL 1.0 Interconnect Standard

High-speed interconnects are of incredible importance to the PC market, both in the consumer landscape and inside the datacenter/enterprise market. PCI Express was starting to hold the industry back, and while PCIe 4.0 is set to arrive in shipping servers and desktop system later this year, several new players have already stepped up to supplant PCI Express as the high-speed connectivity standard of choice. 

Intel, alongside Alibaba, Cisco, Dell EMC, Facebook, Google, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Huawei and Microsoft have teamed up to create the "Compute Express link" (CXL) 1.0 protocol, building upon the PCIe infrastructure to deliver next-generation host-device and device-device performance. 

Even now, CXL has no shortage of competitors, with NVLink, CCIX, GenZ and PCIe 5.0 being set to compete in this space, creating an interface war that could become the computing equivalent of the VHS/Betamax format war.  
 

There are several notable absentees from Intel's CXL standard, including AMD, ARM, Amazon and Nvidia, making the long-term future of CXL far from assured. Intel supporting CXL using the PCIe 5.0 interconnect interface will allow the company to seamlessly support PCIe 5.0 and CXL using the same PCIe connector, a move which mirror's Thunderbolt 3.0's use of the USB Type-C connector, adding a layer of familiarity and inter-compatibility that will help the standard get adopted.   

The Gen-Z standard is said to have a "synergy" with CXL, with the Gen-Z consortium stating that they "look forward to opportunities for future collaboration" with CXL.  
   

    Compute Express Link (CXL) is a new breakthrough high-speed CPU interconnect that enables a high-speed, efficient performance between the CPU and platform enhancements and workload accelerators.

Industry leaders Alibaba, Cisco, Dell EMC, Facebook, Google, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Huawei, Intel Corporation and Microsoft have teamed up to form an open industry standard group to develop technical specifications that facilitate breakthrough performance for emerging usage models while supporting an open ecosystem for data center accelerators and other high-speed enhancements.

Intel Releases their CXL 1.0 Interconnect Standard  

Platform interconnectivity will become increasingly important as hardware continues to get faster and more varied, but it from ultra-fast storage mediums, future graphics processors and FPGA to bespoke compute accelerators for AI and an endless number of niche use cases. 

Moving forward the Compute Express Link consortium hopes to attract more contributors and adopters, making non-x86 processor manufacturers like ARM more than welcome to join. Consortium members will be free to use the CXL IP on any device. The CXL consortium will be officially incorporated later this year in the US. 

You can join the discussion on Intel's CXL 1.0 Interconnect standard on the OC3D Forums

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Most Recent Comments

11-03-2019, 15:39:35

NeverBackDown
So it's the same as PC 5.0?Quote

11-03-2019, 16:55:45

dazbobaby
CXL=Hacking back door given Intel's recent history.Quote

12-03-2019, 06:26:05

tgrech
It's not the same as PCIe5 but its design is led by the same engineer and uses the same physical layer, it's a protocol that works over that physical layer. So essentially, it's Intels proprietary version of CCIX. Obviously, this has a lot less industry support than CCIX and rather tellingly has no support from any other hardware vendor at all (unlike CCIX which was developed by AMD, ARM, Huawei, Mellanox Technologies[Now owned by NVidia despite Intels efforts], Qualcomm and Xilinx, all the hardware leaders in the major industries and has several times more support from "customer" companies).
The main difference we know so far is that CXL is a layer on top of PCIe5's physical fabric while CCIX is a layer on top of PCIe4's physical fabric, but by the time we have shipping CXL hardware we will be at generation 3 of the CCIX spec which will likely bring that in line.

So essentially so far this just seems like an attempt by Intel to grab control over an area no one else really wants them to control (Because of their track record regarding "open" standards, See USB1.0/1.1 & USB3.0 at launch or TB3 now, Intels definition of an open standard doesn't actually line up with anyone elses and hardware vendors often have to bully & threaten Intel into actually opening these platforms up properly) and so far they've not indicated much in the way of additional features to lure anyone else meaningful(Hardware vendors who will make the devices that actually use this) in yet.

It's very possible we will only see Intel add-in boards & devices support this interface, though if they keep it similar enough to CCIX the best case scenario is many hardware vendors will support both.Quote

12-03-2019, 08:55:59

Arne Saknussemm
I remember a kid in primary school who was always off on the sidelines...telling people what to play and how to play...after everyone had already decided what to play and were getting on playing it...ignoring the poor chap totally...

That's Intel CCIX

https://i.imgur.com/JKpvZXy.jpgQuote
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