Hardware requirements for Xeon Phi Coprocessor hosting system

Hardware requirements for Xeon Phi Coprocessor hosting system


I know that my question is a pretty basic one. But nonetheless I wasn't able do answer this question by myself or the tutorials:

Question: what are the minimum hardware requirements for a Workstation which will be extended with a Xeon Phi coprocessor? Does it work with any Mainboard having an PCIe x16-Slot and sufficient power supply or are only a small number of especially certified Systems allowed to work with this coprocessor?

Thanks in advance for helping me out,

kind regards, Jakob

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Unless you have one of the specific OEM systems which is configured for Intel(c) Xeon Phi(tm), with a compatible BIOS version, there are no guarantees it will work.

So whether a $2600 product will work is a matter of pure luck? Isn't it a standard PCIe device? A list of compatible motherboards and BIOS versions would be very helpful.

You raise a very good point. You would want to purchase the co-processor from an OEM which supports it fully and comply with their list of supported host platform configurations. If my answer is not correct, I trust that more detailed information will be supplied here.

I have been trying for several days now to find out which Boards/Workstations will support the Xeon Phi. Even contacting manufacturers like HP directly didn't answer my questions.
If anyone in this forum was able to run the Xeopn Phi on his/her System, maybe they could tell us their configuration?
I do not want to buy a workstation and hope that the Xeon Phi will work (although due to bureaucratic constraints I have to buy a Workstation now and the Coprocessor later).

Here is some additional information about vendors, including OEMs, supporting the coprocessor. I hope it helps, but note that I am not associated with sales in any way, shape or form.


This list I have already found. It's nice to find out which OEMs will be selling Xeon Phi-Products.
But sadly this list fails a real-life-test, when it comes to find out specific information like which workstation can be upgraded with a Xeon Phi. (This list conains mostly only general links to the OEMs, where practically no information about Xeon Phi compatibility can be found. There are generally no ways there to contact anyone who knows the answers to Xeon Phi-specific questions. Using the normal hotlines was not very successful so far. This is not the fault of intel of course, but it is still annoying). I do not want to contact every single OEM on this list to find out whether there is anyone capable of telling me whether one of their products will be upgradeable.
But I realise I am asking my questions too early. The product is not released yet, so the answers to questions related to upgrading are no general knowledge yet. Although it would have been _very_ nice to have this information beforehand, I will have to risk buying a workstation now and hope to be able to upgrade later.

Hardware Requirements - Preferred Configuration(s) details are contained in the readme-en.txt on the MPSS page: http://software.intel.com/en-us/articles/intel-manycore-platform-softwar.... Perhaps these help. I'm not aware of any other minimal configurations/hw requirements details outside of those listed in the readme.

I'll check around for more information. Being a simple techie, so what I can find may be limited.

I checked around. As you noted, this is something that is out of Intel hands.

OEMs may be unable or unwilling to comment on the compatibility of existing systems with Intel® Xeon Phi™ coprocessors because they are waiting to launch specific systems with the general availability date (January 28th), or because they have not completed validation on those systems yet. There are all the typical issues with supporting a new product, including BIOS compatibility, power supply and cooling specifications.

I was able to find some more detailed hardware specifications for the coprocessor at http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/processors/xeon/xeon-phi-coproces....

There isn't much more I can do.


(I was ill the last few days and therefore did not respond to this topic).
After collecting all this information with your support, I understand that the best way for my case is to buy the officially supported board and assemble the machine myself.
Therefore thank you for helping me out, I truly appreciate your efforts and acknowledge the fact that not everybody would have done that much to get me the answers I hoped to find.

best regards and happy X-mas holidays,

Several OEMs sell working host platforms which are compatible with Intel(c) Xeon Phi(tm) KNC. I have used myself or have customers currently running on SuperMicro, SGI, and Dell, all of which have hundreds or thousands of Sandy Bridge nodes already in service with coprocessors. I doubt there is a public listing of associated BIOS requirements etc. (at least not in advance of full product release) so I still think you would need to consult your OEM.

Asus has one the P9X79-E WS and P9X79 WS

all of the X79 with the WS extension apear to support the phi


Taylor, TimP,

I am in the process of building a workstation for dual Xeon Phi. The motherboard I chose (ASUS P9X79WS) states it has BIOS that supports Intel Xeon Phi (and nVidia Tesla). The question I have is PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 slot requirements. Can the Xeon Phi operate in slot of PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 in mode x8 (though at slower transfer speed)? The motherboard can have two cards at x16 mode, and the initial setup will place the (low end) video card in a PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 mode x4 slot.

Second question is if the Xeon Phi will operate in x8 mode, what is the expected impact (please answer from experience, not speculation).

Jim Dempsey

To answer my own question, in reading Intel® Xeon Phi™ Coprocessor System Software Developers Guide Page 12:

Both x8 and x16 configurations are supported.

Jim Dempsey

For the record, just by reading Newegg reviews, this motherboard is pretty bad, by all standards. I wonder if there is an alternative?

We created a list of compatible motherboards here: http://streamcomputing.eu/blog/2015-08-01/xeon-phi-knights-corner-compat...

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