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Intel launches Xeon Scalable CPUs

Just a few weeks ago, we saw AMD bring competition back to the server market with the launch of the EPYC CPU platform. Since then, Intel had been quiet on the Xeon front, until today, with the launch of Xeon SP, based on the new Skylake-SP architecture. ‘SP’ in this instance stands for ‘scalable platform’, Intel also says that its new Skylake-based Xeons offer a 1.65 times performance boost compared to Broadwell-based Xeons.

Xeon SP will offer up to 28 cores per socket, support for up to 6 TB of system memory and a performance advantage over the previous generation. In comparison, EPYC offers up to 32 cores per socket, though Intel says that its new 28-core Xeon SP can deliver 28 percent faster performance compared to AMD’s 32-core EPYC 7601.

With these new Xeons, Intel has a new ‘mesh architecture’, which is what helped squeeze out more performance. Switching to Mesh has allowed for lower latency and high bandwidth between cores, memory and I/O controllers by aligning everything more efficiently. on-chip cache banks, memory controllers, I/O controllers and cores are aligned in rows/columns with wires and switches connecting them at each intersection. This improves efficiency and performance by creating more direct paths for draw calls to follow. Think of it like a well optimised highway system.

There are several Xeon Scalable Processors on the way, with the Xeon Platinum sitting at the very top, followed by Xeon Gold, Silver and Bronze. Here is the lineup:

Xeon Bronze (3100 Series) Xeon Silver (4100 Series) Xeon Gold (5100 Series) Xeon Gold (6100 Series Xeon Platinum (8100 Series)
Highest Core Count Supported 8 12 14 22 28
Highest Clock Speed Supported 1.7 GHz (8C/85W) 2.2 GHz (10C/85W) 3.6 GHz (4C/105W) 3.4 GHz (6C/115W) 3.6GHz (4C/105W)
CPU Sockets Supported Up to 2 Up to 2 Up to 4 Up to 4 Up to 8
Max Memory Speed 2133 MHz 2400 Mhz 2400 MHz 2666 MHz 2666 MHz
Highest Memory Capacity per Socket 768 GB 768 GB 768 GB 768 GB, 1.5TB 768 GB, 1.5 TB

KitGuru Says: It looks like Intel had a Xeon upgrade ready to go to combat AMD’s EPYC launch. Competition in the datacenter world is definitely heating up. 

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