Sapphire Rapids HEDT will create two series: 24-core and 56-core dual-socket

Late last year, Intel released desktop processors Alder Lake. These are the first product to integrate large cores Golden Cove (supplemented by small Atoms in this segment). Large cores Golden Cove however, we are still waiting in the server processors Sapphire Rapids (consisting of four processor tiles with a total of 56 cores) and their derivative for the HEDT segment. Sapphire Rapids and therefore its derivative is also quite delayed. Even if we compare only with the officially published roadmaps (and not the leaked ones), it is basically an annual slide:

Server Xeon Quarter Sapphire Rapids a high-end desktop (HEDT) version should be available. Last year, the servers were expected to come in the second quarter of 2022 and HEDT in the third. It now appears that real distribution for servers will begin sometime in the second half of the year (optimistically in the summer) and will take place at the end of the third quarter (late summer) at HEDT.

But let’s start with terminology. According to the MLID YouTube channel, Intel no longer wants to use the acronym HEDT for this segment (Intel HEDT is marketing dead after years of rolling AMD HEDT / Threadripper) and variants Sapphire Rapids for the HEDT segment (we will keep this designation for now) will not be marked as Sapphire Rapidsbut like Fishhawk Falls (at least the lower one). It has two lines in the plan:

Xeon-W Mainstream Workstation Platform (MWP)

The lower row will not build on two tiles Sapphire Rapids (28 cores), as expected, but on its own monolithic design with 24 large cores / 48 fibers. However, the LGA4677 socket will remain the same as for servers and higher series. ~ 4.5 GHz boost for all cores and ~ 5.2 GHz boost for one core can be expected. TDP could be between 200-300 watts, PL2 limit between 300-400 watts. The four-channel memory controller will support ECC and handle up to 2 TB in hardware, but the 512 GB limit is not excluded. There will be 64 PCIe 5.0 lines. It is possible that the number of AVX units will be reduced, so the performance per core will not reach a high level in AVX operations Sapphire Rapids.

This is the platform that Intel wants to release in the third quarter and deliver in the fourth quarter at the latest. Paradoxically, it has a high chance of impressing unless there is another significant delay.

The older roadmap was presented by Sapphire Rapids HEDT in the second (current) quarter of this year

The reasons are simple: AMD does not currently have the production capacity it would need to cover all segments, so it did not release the classic Threadripper with cores Zen 3, only its “PRO” version. In the segment where Intel is heading with MWP, it is therefore aging Zen 2. Recall that Zen 3 has compared to Zen 2 IPC 19% higher and the core Golden Cove they add another roughly 12%, thus Fishawk Falls / Sapphire Rapids In terms of IPC, MWP is 33% above Zen 2 Threadripper. If we multiply this by at least 10-15% higher bars compared to the old Threadripper, Intel has a chance to beat the 32-core MWP with a 24-core MWP. Zen 2-Threadripper. Which can brighten up in reviews.

On the other hand, there are other facts. The first is that if released at the end of 2022, Intel’s HEDT platform will be rolled over by AMD’s standard platform a year later. At the end of 2023, Zen 5 is expected to bring up to 32 cores in the AM5 socket. Zen 4 will bring IPC ~ 12% above Sunny Covefrom Zen 5 another up to 30% is expected, so Zen 5 with IPC ~ 45% above Golden Cove and some beats on top of that, 16 cores will be enough to overcome the 24-core HEDT / MWP. The 32-core version of the mainstream platform could then be almost twice as powerful as the one-year-old HEDT / MWP. So Intel’s platform may shine, but it doesn’t look like long-term radiation, and retrospectively it will seem like a rather short-sighted investment in terms of performance and price / performance ratio. It could remain interesting in terms of equipment and connectivity (according to price and final parameters).

Xeon-W Expert Workstation Platform (EWP)

However, the hardware is also aimed a bit higher in preparation. In this case, it will really be a tile Sapphire Rapidswhich folds up to 56 cores / 112 fibers Golden Cove. In a way, it is the successor to processors such as the Xeon W-3175x or the competition to the Threadripper PRO.

Intel Sapphire Rapids

The problem is that the processor with a maximum of 56 cores and IPC ~ 12% above Zen 3 will not be significantly more interesting in terms of performance options than 64-core Zen 3. Not to mention that at the time of the release (about which nothing more is known yet) it will already exist Zen 4, so its use in the HEDT segment will only be a matter of time. Threadripper PRO with cores Zen 4 compared to Intel EWP will bring not only ~ 12% higher IPC, but also up to 96 cores, which (simple math) gives performance 92% higher.

Of course, Intel is aware of this, so it decided to set up EWP as a two-socket system. At the expense of consumption and probably also the price, it will be possible to equip the platform with 112 cores / 224 fibers Golden Cove and thus achieve (again calculated using simple mathematics) a performance 4% higher.

Intel MWP therefore appears to be a product with a significantly higher chance of success than EWP, albeit only short-lived (even a 24-core would be enough to outperform it). Zen 4, which AMD probably no longer plans). Mainstream platforms for standard desktop like Meteor Lake a Zen 5 but they “disgustingly roll him” within a year and a day. Power, price / performance ratio and the price itself (both processor and board). 32 – core Zen 2 / Threadripper, however, sees Pat Gelsinger in the rearview mirror.

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