A pair of prototype Intel Xeon Platinum 8468 Sapphire Rapids 48 core server processors were recently tested in Geekbench 5, as shared by @BenchLeaks on Twitter. They featured some impressive performance figures, matching AMD's best of the best twin EPYC 64-core configuration in the same benchmark - and these chips aren't even the flagship 56-core variants.
The Sapphire Rapids system shared was equipped with twin Xeon Platinum 8468 CPUs featuring a total of 96 cores and 192 threads. The two chips combined outputted a single-threaded score of 1,257 points, and a mlti-threaded score of 74,586 points.
One of the highest performing dual AMD EPYC processor configurations we could find on Geekbench 5 for comparison features twin AMD EPYC 7763 processors with a combined core count of 128 cores and 256 threads. The two chips hit 1249 points in the single-threaded test and 75,539 in the multi-threaded test.
This results in a difference of 1% in both the single and multi-core for both platforms, essentially tieing them with equal performance. But, if we look at the individual performance of each core during the multi-threaded workload, Intel is 23% faster per core compared to AMD.
This is important to note because single-threaded benchmarks only tell you the maximum performance of an individual core when all the other cores are idle, allowing that single core to use excess power and thermal reserves. As a result, individual core performance under load shows us what per core performance looks like under maximum load.
But it's worth noting that Geekbench 5 is not a particularly useful benchmark for real-world performance results. So take this data with a grain of salt. On the flip side, Geekbench can at least give us a general idea of Sapphire Rapids' performance.
A Quick Recap on Sapphire Rapids and Its Delays
Sapphire Rapids is Intel's upcoming server architecture, designed to replace Intel's current 14nm Cascade Lake Xeon lineup. As a result, Sapphire Rapids will feature some serious upgrades, including Intel's cutting-edge Golden Cove cores running on the Intel 7 (10nm Enhanced SuperFin) node - just like Intel's current Alder Lake parts.
Like Alder Lake, PCIe 5.0 and DDR5 will be supported (with some parts sporting HBM compatibility). However, unlike Alder Lake, it will not support efficiency cores. From what we know, Sapphire Rapids will sport a maximum of 56 cores. But thanks to multi-socketed motherboards, core counts can go up to 112 or more. Sapphire Rapids will also sport additional features like AMX, and Intel DSA, which will be exclusive to its server architecture.
Unfortunately, Sapphire Rapids has allegedly turned into a bug-infested nightmare for Intel, with multiple delays setting back the platform's release window. Originally, Sapphire Rapids was intended to face off against AMD's Zen 3 EPYC Milan processors (like the ones we showed off in this article), but thanks to a whopping 500 bugs found in the microarchitecture, the launch window has moved to early 2023.
This means Sapphire Rapids will need to contend with current Zen 3 parts and AMD's future Zen 4 EPYC processors codenamed Genoa in 2023. Thankfully, it appears Intel's future server architecture can at least hang with AMD's Zen 3 competitors and outperform it by a modest amount. But there's no telling how it will perform against AMD's future Zen 4 architecture, which is already releasing in the form of Ryzen 7000.
That doesn't count AMD increasing vote counts either.
Intel of course has optimization co-processors that make up the gap in some workloads, but less effective for virtualization platforms. So it depends.
All I can say is competition is a great thing.