Intel and AMD’s ‘Core Wars’ have stepped up another gear - Intel has revealed its first every 48-core processor. The Intel Xeon Cascade Lake AP series is designed for server processing, moving away from single-chip monolithic designs to a multiple die design.
If this idea is ringing a bell, that’s because it’s exactly the same thing as AMD has been doing with its top-end EPYC processors. At the time when AMD first unveiled its EPYC Naples chips, Intel wrote them off as “repurposed desktop products for servers” that have “inconsistent performance from 4 glued-together desktop dies”. Ahem.
Getting back on track though, up to two chips from the Xeon Cascade Lake Advanced Performance series can be utilised multi-processor motherboards, providing a grand total of 96 cores on a single server. It would appear Intel has gone with a multi-die process in order to avoid the headaches that come with the production of larger monolithic dies.
On paper, this stops all over Intel’s current range of Xeon chips. Its largest current Xeon CPU features 28 cores and 56 threads. Unfortunately, we don’t yet know whether Intel’s Xeon Cascade Lake AP series will be multithreaded or not. If it is, we’re looking at a 48C / 96T chip design, totally 96C/192T on dual-CPU motherboards.
Naturally, these bad boys aren’t intended for consumer use. Intel’s current Xeon 28-core retails for an eye-watering $10,000, and these Cascade Lake chips will likely come in at an even higher price point. They support up to 24 DDR4 RAM modules up to a maximum of 3TB of memory, or paired with AMD’s Optane SSD/RAM hybrid drives to deliver 12TB of system memory. That’s the equivalent of 768 16GB RAM modules.
Intel’s marketing spiel claims a 3.4x performance advantage over AMD EPYC for Linpack and up to 1.3x performance advantage with Stream Triad. Intel also claims a 20% performance gain over its current Xeon parts. Considering Intel’s recent controversies for how it obtains benchmarks, we wouldn’t put much faith in these figures for now though.
It’s all thoroughly useless for gamers of course, but an interesting insight into how the very top-end of the CPU market is currently shaking out for Intel and AMD.
Intel has said the new Xeon AP series will be ready to launch in the first half of 2019, so wallets at the ready.