New Intel Xeon W CPUs Bring 56 Cores, DDR5 To Workstations
The single-socket Intel Xeon W-3400 and Xeon W-2400 processors will bring up to 56 cores along with support for DDR5, PCIe 5.0 and other new technologies to workstation PCs starting in March. The chipmaker also plans to release new dual-socket Xeon Scalable CPUs and single-socket 13th-gen Core CPUs for the workstation segment, which will make this Intel’s ‘most comprehensive portfolio refresh’ to date for partners, according to one executive.
Intel is promising a “giant leap in performance” with its new wave of Xeon W processors, which will bring up to 56 cores along with support for DDR5, PCIe 5.0 and other new technologies to workstation PCs running content creation, modeling and data science applications.
Announced Wednesday, the single-socket workstation chips consist of the power-hungry Xeon W-3400 series for expert workstations and the less-demanding Xeon W-2400 series for mainstream workstations. Intel also disclosed that dual-socket workstation CPUs from the recently launched fourth-generation Xeon Scalable lineup are coming in addition to single-socket workstation chips from the 13th-gen Intel Core family, which are set to arrive by the end of March.
“This represents our most comprehensive portfolio refresh of our workstation platforms to date, and we hope to kickstart a renaissance in workstation computing,” said Roger Chandler, vice president and general manager of Creator and Workstation Solutions within Intel’s Client Computing Group.
With system availability planned in March, the new Xeon W CPUs will give Intel partners a new refresh opportunity less than two years after the release of the Xeon W-3300 chips in mid-2021. More than 50 system designs are expected from Intel’s OEM and system builder partners, including Dell Technologies, HP, Lenovo, Supermicro, Puget Systems and Velocity Micro.
While Intel did not provide any performance comparisons with AMD’s latest Ryzen Threadripper Pro 5000 processors from last year, the chipmaker is beating its rival to the market with DDR5 and PCIe 5.0 support for purpose-built workstation chips. AMD’s Threadripper Pro 5000 series only supports DDR4 and PCIe 4.0, and the rival has yet to announce its plans for a next-gen workstation chip.
Randy Copeland, CEO of Richmond, Virginia-based Velocity Micro, said his company plans to position new systems with the Xeon W chips as “ultra-performance workstations for users in need of their unique combination of core count and frequency.” He added that some customers are already lined up.
“It’s a great fit in the market, and we’re very impressed with our test results,” he said.
Xeon W-3400, Xeon W-2400 Specs And Features
The new CPUs are based on the Sapphire Rapids microarchitecture powering Intel’s recently launched fourth-generation Xeon Scalable processors, and they also use the same manufacturing process, Intel 7, formerly known as the company’s 10-nanometer SuperFIN process. The new processors use a new naming convention similar to the Intel Core CPUs to identify different tiers of core counts, with w9 representing high-end chips, w7 the higher mid-range, w5 the lower mid-range, and w3 the low-end.
The flagship Xeon-W 3400 chip is the Xeon w9-3495X, which provides 56 cores, 112 threads, a maximum boost frequency of 4.8GHz, a base frequency of 1.9GHz and a 105MB L3 cache at the cost of a 350W base power and $5,889 for recommended customer pricing.
All seven Xeon W-3400 CPUs come with 112 PCIe 5.0 lanes, eight channels of DDR5 error-correcting code memory (up to 4,800 megatransfers per second), and a 4TB memory capacity. Four of the CPUs, including the top three in the stack, are unlocked for overclocking.
The cheapest CPU in the expert lineup is the Xeon-w5-3425, which provides 12 cores, 24 threads, a maximum boost frequency of 4.6GHz, a base frequency of 3.2GHz and 30MB of L3 cache at the cost of a 270W base power and $1,189 pricing.
As for the Xeon W-2400 series, the top chip is the Xeon w7-2495x, which comes with 24 cores, 48 threads, a maximum boost frequency of 4.8GHz, a base frequency of 2.5GHz and a 45MB L3 cache at the cost of a 225W base power and $2,189 for recommended customer pricing.
All eight Xeon W-2400 CPUs come with 64 PCIe 5.0 lanes, four channels of DDR5 error-correcting code memory, and a memory capacity of 2TB. The top four CPUs in the stack are unlocked for overclocking. The top five CPUs support memory bandwidth of up to 4,800 megatransfers per second while the bottom three go up to 4,400 megatransfers per second.
The cheapest CPU in the mainstream lineup is the Xeon w3-2423, which comes with six cores, 12 threads, a maximum boost frequency of 4.2GHz, a base frequency of 2.1GHz, and a 15MB L3 cache at the cost of a 120W base power and $359 for recommended customer pricing.
Both the Xeon W-3400 and Xeon W-2400 processors support several Intel technologies, including the new Intel Data Streaming Accelerator and Intel Advanced Matrix Extensions found in the fourth-gen Xeon Scalable server chips. The chips also come with support for the third generation of Intel Deep Learning Boost as well as Intel Advanced Vector Extensions 512 and Intel Advanced Vector Extensions 2.
As for features important to enterprises, the processors sport Intel vPro security and remote management features as well as the company’s reliability, availability and serviceability technologies.
A Promise Of Big Performance Gains, With An Asterisk
While Intel is promising major performance gains with the new Xeon W chips, it’s making those claims based on comparisons between the latest processors and the 14nm Xeon W-3200 chips released in 2019, not the more recent 10nm Xeon W-3300 CPUs that the company launched in 2021.
When comparing the new flagship 56-core Xeon w9-3495X to the 28-core Xeon W-3275 from 2019, Intel said the former is 28 percent faster for single-threaded performance and 120 percent faster for multi-taking performance, based on internal measurements from the SPECrate 2017-int_base benchmarks.
For content creation, Intel showed a wide spread of performance gains from two generations ago. With Adobe Premiere Pro 23.0, Adobe After Effects 22.4 and Blackmagic Design DaVinci Resolve 18.1, the company said the Xeon w9-3495X is 12 percent, 24 percent, and 10 percent faster than the Xeon W-3275, respectively. But with Maxon Cinema 4D 2023, Chaos vRay 5.01, and Autodesk Maya, the new flagship CPU is 131 percent, 123 percent and 89 percent faster.
In the world of modeling, simulation and visualization, Intel showed a narrower spread of performance improvements, ranging from 20 percent for Autodesk Inventor 2022 and 25 percent for Autodesk AutoCAD 2023 to 36 percent for Autodesk Revit 2022, 42 percent for Dassault Systemes Solidworks 2022 and 74 percent for Bentley MicroStation 10.17.
As for data science applications, Intel claimed the Xeon w9-3495X could execute the NumPy and SciPy Python libraries anywhere from 25 percent to 76 percent faster depending on the parameters used.
“For professional creators, engineers, data scientists and innovators, every improvement we make to the platform can exponentially improve their ability to change the world,” Chandler said. “We can‘t wait to get these platforms into their hands to see what they can do.”