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Neural Network Processors (NNP) - Intel Nervana
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intel nervana inside.png
Developer Intel
Manufacturer Intel, TSMC
Type Neural Processors
Introduction May 23, 2018 (announced)
2019 (launch)
Process 28 nm
0.028 μm
2.8e-5 mm
, 16 nm
0.016 μm
1.6e-5 mm
, 10 nm
0.01 μm
1.0e-5 mm
Technology CMOS
Package PCIe x16 Gen 3 Card, OCP OAM, M.2
Habana HL-Series

Neural Network Processors (NNP) is a family of neural processors designed by Intel Nervana for both inference and training.

The NNP family has been discontinued on January 31, 2019, in favor of the Habana HL series.


Neural network processors (NNP) is a family of neural processors designed by Intel for the acceleration of artificial intelligence workloads. The name and original architecture originated with the Nervana startup prior to its acquisition by Intel in 2016. Although the first product was announced in 2017, it never made it past customer sampling which eventually served as a learning product. Intel eventually productized those chips starting with their second-generation designs in late 2019.

The NNP family comprises two separate series - NNP-I for inference and NNP-T for training. The two series use entirely different architectures. The training chip is a direct descendent of Nervana's original ASIC design. Those chips use the PCIe and OAM form factors that have high TDPs designed for maximum performance at the data center and for workstations. Unlike the NNP-T, NNP-I inference chips are the product of Intel IDC which, architecturally, are very different from the training chips. They use Intel's low-power client SoC has the base SoC and build the AI architecture from there. The inference chips use low-power PCIe, M.2, and ruler form factors designed for servers, workstations, and embedded applications.

On January 31, 2020, Intel announced that it has discontinued the Nervana NNP product line in favor of the unified architecture it has acquired from Habana Labs a month earlier.


Introduction Type Microarchitecture Process
20171 Training Lake Crest 28 nm
2019 Training Spring Crest 16 nm
2019 Inference Spring Hill 10 nm
2020 Training+CPU Knights Crest  ?

1 - Only sampled

Training (NNP-T)[edit]

Lake Crest[edit]

Main article: Lake Crest µarch

The first generation of NNPs were based on the Lake Crest microarchitecture. Manufactured on TSMC's 28 nm process, those chips were never productized. Samples were used for customer feedback and the design mostly served as a software development vehicle for their follow-up design.

T-1000 Series (Spring Crest)[edit]

NNP T-1000
Main article: Spring Crest µarch

Launched in late 2019, second-generation NNP-Ts are branded as the NNP T-1000 series and are the first chips to be productized. Fabricated TSMC's 16 nm process based on the Spring Crest microarchitecture, those chips feature a number of enhancements and refinments over the prior generation including a shift from Flexpoint to Bfloat16 and considerable performance uplift. Intel claims that these chips have about 3-4x the training performance of first generation. All NNP-T 1000 chips come with 32 GiB of four HBM2 stacks in a CoWoS package and come in two form factors: PCIe Gen 3 and an OCP OAM accelerator card.

NNP-T 1400 OAM Module.
  • Proc 16 nm process
  • Mem 32 GiB, HBM2-2400
  • TDP 300-400 W (150-250 W typical power)
  • Perf 108 TOPS (bfloat16)
 List of NNP-T 1000-based Processors
 Main processorPerformance
ModelLaunchedTDPEUsFrequencyHBM2Peak Perf (bfloat16)
NNP-T 130012 November 2019300 W
300,000 mW
0.402 hp
0.3 kW
22950 MHz
0.95 GHz
950,000 kHz
32 GiB
32,768 MiB
33,554,432 KiB
34,359,738,368 B
0.0313 TiB
93.39 TFLOPS
93,390,000,000,000 FLOPS
93,390,000,000 KFLOPS
93,390,000 MFLOPS
93,390 GFLOPS
0.0934 PFLOPS
NNP-T 140012 November 2019375 W
375,000 mW
0.503 hp
0.375 kW
241,100 MHz
1.1 GHz
1,100,000 kHz
32 GiB
32,768 MiB
33,554,432 KiB
34,359,738,368 B
0.0313 TiB
108,000,000,000,000 FLOPS
108,000,000,000 KFLOPS
108,000,000 MFLOPS
108,000 GFLOPS
0.108 PFLOPS
Count: 2

POD Reference Design[edit]

POD Rack

Along with the launch of the NNP-T 1000 series, Intel also introduced the POD reference design. Those systems were intended for large-scale out systems for the processing of very large neural networks. The POD reference design featured 10 racks with 6 nodes per rack. Each of the nodes features eight interconnected OAM cards, producing a system with a total of 480 NNP-Ts.

ai hw summit supermicro ref pod.jpeg

Inference (NNP-I)[edit]

I-1000 Series (Spring Hill)[edit]

NNP I-1000
Main article: Spring Hill µarch

The NNP I-1000 series is Intel's first series of devices designed specifically for the acceleration of inference workloads. Fabricated on Intel's 10 nm process, these chips are based on Spring Hill and incorporate a Sunny Cove core along with twelve specialized inference acceleration engines. The overall SoC design borrows considerable amount of IP from Ice Lake. Those devices come in M.2 and PCIe form factors.

NNP-I Ruler
NNP-I Ruler Chassis.
  • Proc 10 nm process
  • Mem 4x32b LPDDR4x-4200
  • TDP 10-50 W
  • Eff 2.0-4.8 TOPs/W
  • Perf 48-92 TOPS (Int8)
 List of NNP-I-1000-based Processors
 Main processorPerformance
ModelLaunchedTDPEUsPeak Perf (Int8)
NNP-I 110012 November 201912 W
12,000 mW
0.0161 hp
0.012 kW
1250 TOPS
50,000,000,000,000 OPS
50,000,000,000 KOPS
50,000,000 MOPS
50,000 GOPS
0.05 POPS
NNP-I 130012 November 201975 W
75,000 mW
0.101 hp
0.075 kW
24170 TOPS
170,000,000,000,000 OPS
170,000,000,000 KOPS
170,000,000 MOPS
170,000 GOPS
0.17 POPS
Count: 2

Intel also announced NNP-I in an EDSFF (ruler) form factor which was designed to provide the highest compute density possible for inference. Intel hasn't announced specific models. The rulers were planned t come with a 10-35W TDP range. 32 NNP-Is in a ruler form factor can be packed in a single 1U rack.

See also[edit]

designerIntel +
first announcedMay 23, 2018 +
first launched2019 +
full page namenervana/nnp +
instance ofintegrated circuit family +
main designerIntel +
manufacturerIntel + and TSMC +
nameNNP +
packagePCIe x16 Gen 3 Card +, OCP OAM + and M.2 +
process28 nm (0.028 μm, 2.8e-5 mm) +, 16 nm (0.016 μm, 1.6e-5 mm) + and 10 nm (0.01 μm, 1.0e-5 mm) +
technologyCMOS +