Intel Releases their CXL 1.0 Interconnect Standard

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.