Intel Extends 40 Percent To 50 Percent Price Cuts To New Xeon W Workstation CPUs

'The channel has the opportunity to talk to customers about dramatically better technology at a reachable price point,' one Intel partner says of the chipmaker's big price cuts for its new Xeon W workstation processors.


After confirming deep price cuts for its next-generation Core i9 X-series processors, Intel is offering similar price cuts to its new Xeon W workstation CPUs, slashing them by up to nearly 50 percent.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company announced the Xeon W-2000 processors Monday, saying they will launch alongside the new X-series processors in November and provide price cuts of roughly 40 percent to 50 percent for products with more than six cores over the previous Xeon W generation.

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These processors are aimed at "mission-critical" applications in commercial environments, particularly those that can benefit from enterprise-level capabilities like vPro, Intel's collection of hardware-enabled manageability features, and error-correcting code memory, according to Frank Soqui, vice president and general manager of Intel's Desktop, Workstation and Channel Group.

"When you think of these platforms, there are three vectors of performance that we're focusing on: uncompromised frequency, the right balance of cores and then instruction set architecture improvements," he said.

At the top of the stack, the recommended customer pricing for Intel's Xeon W-2295 is $1,333 for 18 cores, 36 threads, a base clock frequency of 3.0GHz and a turbo boost frequency of 4.8GHz. Meanwhile, the previous generation Xeon W-2195 has a recommended pricing of $2,553 for the same number of cores but lower base and boost clock frequencies.

That amounts to a 48 percent lower price for a processor that is 11 percent faster for 4K video editing as well as 10 percent faster for 3-D architecture rendering and game development compiling compared with the previous generation, according to preliminary data provided by Intel.

The new Xeon W processors, which range from four to 18 cores, support up to 1 TB of memory capacity, two times more than the previous generation, and up to 72 PCIe 3.0 lanes on a platform level. They also support Intel Optane SSDs and Intel Turbo Boost Max Technology 3.0.

In addition, the Xeon W chips come with Deep Learning Boost, a new set of processor instructions first introduced in Intel's second-generation Xeon Scalable processors that accelerate artificial intelligence applications like image tagging, motion tracking and image enhancement. Compared with the previous generation, the new processors can process 2.2 times more images per second, thanks to the feature.

Soqui said that the new processors will create a new refresh opportunity for partners, especially those with customers who have three-year-old workstations, which is typically how old the systems are when users are ready to upgrade to a new workstation.

"The refresh rate for people in this category is about three years, which is much shorter than anything you're seeing on some of the mainstream desktop side of things," he said.

That means even better performance gains when comparing the new Xeon W processors to the three-year-old Xeon E5-4600 workstation processors. For 4K video editing, the new processors see a 97 percent performance improvement while 3-D architecture rending and game development compiling sees a two-fold performance gain. Deep Learning Boost, on the other hand, allows the new processors to handle 16.1 times more images per second.

Randy Copeland, CEO of Velocity Micro, a Richmond, Va.-based system builder that sells Intel- and AMD-based PCs and workstations, said the pricing for the new Xeon W pricing is "greatly improved."

"We skipped that SKU because from a value proposition it didn't make economic sense for us," he said, adding that Velocity Micro is evaluating the new Xeon W processors.

Copeland said he expects Intel's new pricing structure will help drive a new refresh opportunity, especially for those with aging Mac Pros.

"The channel has the opportunity to talk to customers about dramatically better technology at a reachable price point," he said. "We've been taking baby steps in performance for quite a few years, and now we're taking leaps at affordable prices, so that's spurring the refresh cycle more than it has in the past four or five years."

Beyond Intel's flagship Xeon W-2295, the other processors received the following price cuts from the previous generation: Xeon W-2275 (43 percent to $1,112), Xeon W-2255 (46 percent to $778), Xeon W-2245 (40 percent to $667) and Xeon W-2235 (34 percent to $555). The prices for the Xeon W-2225 and Xeon W-2223 are unchanged from the previous generation. The Xeon W-2265 does not have a comparable processor from the previous generation, based on Intel's list of processors.