Intel Announces Movidius Myriad X VPU, Featuring ‘Neural Compute Engine’
Today, Intel subsidiary Movidius is announcing the Movidius Myriad X vision processing unit (VPU), a low-power system-on-chip (SoC) intended for deep learning and AI acceleration in vision-based devices such as drones, smart cameras, and VR/AR headsets. This follows up on last month’s launch of the Myriad 2 powered Movidius Neural Compute Stick. As for the Myriad 2, the Myriad X will coexist alongside its predecessor, which was first announced in 2014. Movidius states that the Myriad X will offer ten times the performance of the Myriad 2 in deep neural network (DNN) inferencing within the same power envelope, while the Myriad 2 will remain a lower performance option.
Under the hood, the Myriad X SoC features what Movidius is calling a Neural Compute Engine, an on-chip DNN accelerator. With it, Movidius states that the Myriad X can achieve over one trillion operations per second (TOPS) of peak DNN inferencing throughput, in the backdrop of the Myriad X’s theoretical 4+ TOPS compute capability.
In addition, the Myriad X has four more C-programmable 128-bit VLIW vector processors and configurable MIPI lanes from the Myriad 2, as well as expanded 2.5 MB on-chip memory and more fixed-function imaging/vision accelerators. Like the ones found in the Myriad 2, the Myriad X’s vector units are proprietary SHAVE processors optimized for computer vision workloads. The Myriad X also supports the latest LPDDR4. In an accompanying launch video, Movidius locates the Myriad X functions on a stylized dieshot.
Another new function in the Myriad X is 4K hardware encoding, with 4K at 30 Hz (H.264/H.265) and 60 Hz (M/JPEG) supported. Interface-wise, the Myriad X brings USB 3.1 and PCIe 3.0 support, both new to the Myriad VPU family. All this is done within the same ~2W power envelope as the Myriad 2.
While specifics were not disclosed, the Myriad X VPU comes with an SDK that includes a neural network compiler and “a specialized FLIC framework with a plug-in approach to developing application pipelines.” In any case, like the Myriad 2, the Myriad X will be programmable via the Myriad Development Kit (MDK). At this time, there were no details about the reference kit hardware.
As mentioned earlier, the Myriad 2 will not be replaced by the Myriad X. Last January, the Myriad 2 was described as costing under $10; based on the presumably higher cost process and additional hardware features, the Myriad X will likely command a higher price for the higher performance.