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What Partners Should Know About Intel's New Xeon CPUs

A roundup at what Intel partners should know about the semiconductor giant’s two latest families of Xeon server CPUs, including core counts, memory support, new features and supporting OEMs.

Intel on Monday announced two products in its Xeon server processor lineup, one focused on high-performance computing and artificial intelligence uses while the other is targeting entry-level servers.

Intel's product refresh for server CPUs comes after the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company said nearly two weeks ago that it will prioritize production of Core and Xeon processors amid continuing supply issues that will hit entry-level CPUs and Internet of Things components the hardest.

[Related: AMD Stock Price Nosedives As Channel Graphics Sales Slow Down]

While the company is still dealing with supply issues, it hasn't stopped Intel's continuing growth in the server market. For the third quarter, the company's Data Center Group grew 26 percent year-over-year to $6.1 billion, contributing to a total of $19.1 billion in revenue that period.

One of the chips announced Monday is Intel's long-awaited Xeon Cascade Lake CPU, which the company teased with a few details during its Data-Centric Innovation Summit in August.

Here's what partners should know about Intel's new Xeon products.

Cascade Lake Advanced Performance Targets AI, HPC

Intel is targeting artificial intelligence, high-performance computing and infrastructure-as-a-service workloads with its newest family of high-end Xeon CPUs, called Cascade Lake Advanced Performance.

Cascade Lake AP, designed for two-socket servers, packs up to 48 cores per CPU and 12 channels of DDR4 memory per socket, which gives the processor more memory channels than any other CPU, according to Intel. The company said the Cascade Lake AP can outperform AMD's 32-core EPYC 7601 dual processor, with one benchmark showing a 3.4x performance gain and another showing a 1.3x gain.

Cascade Lake AP also provides a meaningful performance upgrade from previous Xeon chips, Intel said, with separate benchmarks showing performance gains of 1.21x and 1.83x, respectively, against the Xeon Scalable 8180 processor. The new CPU also improves AI and deep learning inference by 17x images per second over the same 8180 processor.

As the company has previously detailed, the Cascade Lake CPUs will be based on Intel's current 14-nanometer manufacturing process, can take advantage of its new Intel Optane DC Persistent Memory and will include some hardware mitigations for the Spectre, Meltdown and L1 Terminal Fault exploits.

Intel said Cascade Lake AP will be released in the first half of 2019.

Xeon E-2100 Targets SMBs, Cloud Providers

The Intel Xeon E-2100 series is a new family of single-socket CPUs that the company said is meant for small- and medium-sized businesses, as well as cloud service providers.

The processor family is designed for entry-level servers, according to Intel, but it "has applicability across all computing segments requiring enhanced data protections for the most sensitive workloads."

The Xeon E-2100 packs up to 6 cores, up to 12 threads and up to 64GB of DDR4, with the capability to support as much as 128GB with a BIOS update due out in the first quarter 2019. The company said the CPU provides up to 1.48x in performance gains over 2014's Xeon E3-1226.

The new family of CPUs also supports Intel Software Guard Extensions for increased security, up to 40 lanes of PCI Express lanes, Intel Optane memory and Intel Hyper-Threading Technology.

Xeon E-2100 is available now, with OEM support from ASUS, Dell EMC, Fujitsu, Gigabyte, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Lenovo, OVH, QCT, Supermicro, Tyan and ASRock.

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