Today, Intel is pulling the wraps off its newest lineup of Xeon processors bound for professional workstations. The company is announcing two product lines dubbed Xeon W-3400 and W-2400. The 3400 series are for “experts” and carry a TDP of 350W. The 2400 CPUs are labeled “mainstream” and have a 225W TDP. One new “feature” is Intel is segregating them into classes as it does for its consumer CPUs. The 3400 series includes W9, W7, and W5 variants. The 2400 class gets W7, W5, and W3 SKUs. These CPUs will bridge the gap between its consumer and the data center versions of Sapphire Rapids. However, they are not HEDT CPUs like Intel used to offer with the Core X lineup of yore.
The W-3400 and 2400 series share certain technologies but differ everywhere else. Both families offer Intel TurboBoost Max 3.0 and Intel SmartCache (up to 105MB). They all support AVX-512 and offer Advanced Matrix Extensions (AMX). Beyond that, the specs are radically different. As the flagship series, the 3400 line offers up to 56 CPU cores. Up to 4TB of 4800MT/s DDR5 memory with ECC is supported across up to eight memory channels. There are also up to 112 PCIe 5.0 lanes and support for Wi-Fi 6e as well. The W9 chip has 56 cores, the W7 offers 28, and the W5 has 16.
This family includes seven CPUs: two W9, three W7, and two W5. Pricing ranges from $1,189 for the 12-core, 24-thread base CPU to $5,889 for the flagship 56-core W9-3495X. TDPs range from 350W to 270W, so these CPUs require substantial cooling.
The W-2400 series is a bit more modest across the spec sheet. These CPUs offer 64 PCIe 5.0 lanes to the CPU compared with the 3400’s 112 lanes. They support the same 4800MT/s DDR5 memory as their siblings but only allow up to 2TB instead of 4TB. The memory channels have been reduced from eight to four as well. The top-tier W7 CPU offers 24 unlocked cores, with the W5 chip sporting up to 16 cores. The baseline W3 version features an eight-core design. This lineup includes eight CPUs: two W7, and three for both W5 and W3. Pricing starts at just $359 for the six-core, 12-thread CPU and goes up to $2,189 for the 24-core, 48-thread model.
As far as performance goes, Intel says its flagship 56-core processor is leaps ahead of its predecessor. The company claims it’s up to 28% faster in single-threaded workloads and 120% in multi-threaded tasks. Those numbers are from a comparison between the 56-core Sapphire Rapids CPU and the 28-core Cascade Lake W-3275. Naturally, the performance delta depends on various factors, including the application used. Also, a handful of the CPUs in both families offer unlocked multipliers, but not all of them.
These CPUs are decidedly different from the company’s 4th Gen Sapphire Rapids Xeon Scalable CPUs for data centers and servers. They all feature reduced core counts and lack the pay-as-you-go accelerator options. They are expected to battle AMD’s upcoming Zen 4 Threadripper CPUs, which are yet to be announced. It’s rumored AMD will also be launching two product lines similar to what Intel is doing. One will be similar to a HEDT setup, like Intel’s 2400 series, and the other will be workstation-grade, like the 3400 series. Rumors suggest AMD could go as high as 96-cores and 192-threads, the same as its Epyc Genoa line.
These new Sapphire Rapids Xeon CPUs will be available from Intel’s partners starting today. You can pre-order one now, and system availability begins in March. Note that Intel’s pricing is just “suggested,” so it may vary depending on which partner is selling it.
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