Intel adds driver support for VPUs on its Meteor Lake processors
Phoronix reported that Intel has released a new Linux operating system driver who understands VPU support for meteor lake CPUs. VPU, commonly known as Versatile processing unit is a new technology that will be presented on the 14th generation Intel processors.
What is VPU?
VPU stands for Versatile processing unit. This is an AI integration that was rumored to be included in 14th Gen Intel processors last year. It helps boost AI performance, acting similar to Apple’s neural link. Being tethered to the die itself, expect a massive increase in deep learning performance.
Meteor Lake will receive an integrated VPU accelerator. It’s similar to the Apple M1’s Neural for speech recognition, language models, and possibly many applications when Meteor Lake launches.
— Moore’s Law is Dead
Consider VPU as NVIDIA Tensor Cores. Although this is not an apples to apples comparison, it does give an idea of what Intel plans. From what I can gather, Intel is not aiming for more powerful cores, but rather a division of labor between multiple cores. The Gracemont cores used in Alder Lake boosted performance massively as an example.
To put this into perspective, Moore’s law is dead set an excellent example. Suppose you look 4K netflix late at night and your connection is throttled due to heavy traffic. Your laptop (with the neural engine) can effectively scale this video from say 1080p at 4K. Consider it a glorified form of DLSS which works on almost everything. You can look this video of Moore’s law is dead for a better explanation.
This new driver supporting VPU was fired under GPLv2. Michel Larabel of Phoronix mentions that the userspace stack will use “Intel oneAPI Level Zero API and OpenVINO”.
Intel plans to release the VPU code in open source format in Q3 2022.
Intel has surprised everyone with new additions every generation. It seems that after receiving a lot of criticism for being stuck on the same node, Intel is aiming for a new direction and it’s nice to see them fighting back. Box AMD react to this new addition from team blue?