Intel's Ice Lake-SP with 36 Cores Spotted: More Than Advertised

(Image credit: Intel)

An inadvertently-published Geekbench score indicates that Intel's upcoming Ice Lake-SP processors may have more cores than Intel advertises today. At least one server vendor is already testing engineering samples of such chips that appear to come with 36 cores that run at a pretty decent frequency. 

When Intel recently gave a glimpse at its upcoming 3rd generation Xeon Scalable 'Ice Lake-SP' processor, it demonstrated some preliminary performance expectations using a 32-core Xeon Platinum CPU, implying this would be the company's flagship offering. Apparently that isn't the case, and the chip giant has processors with more cores. 

Someone with access to Asustek's Y4R-A1-ASUS-G1 server has posted Geekbench 5 scores of the machine discovered by Leakbench/Twitter. The system is powered by two 36-core Intel Family 6 Model 106 Stepping 5 processors (which happen to be the Ice Lake-SP) equipped with 512 GB of DDR4 memory. 

(Image credit: Future)

According to the GeekBench submission, the 36-core Ice Lake-SP processor features a 1.25MB L2 cache per core (45MB in total), a 54MB unified L3 cache, and a base frequency of 3.60 GHz. If the system reported the base frequency correctly, then the 36-core Ice Lake-SP can actually hit pretty decent clocks. To put the number into context, AMD's 32-core AMD EPYC 7002-series can run at 2.90 GHz base and up to 3.40 GHz boost frequency. However, it is possible that the system might report the CPU clock speed incorrectly. 

As far as the actual Geekbench 5 score is concerned, the system hit 946 single-core points and a 35812 multi-core score, which is not particularly high. Perhaps this is because the CPUs are operating at a relatively low frequency, which is common with engineering samples. 

At present, Intel's customers are qualifying their platforms using production release qualification (PRQ) Ice Lake-SP processors. The CPUs use the final silicon and are even considered sellable as they have passed Intel's qualification requirements. Intel iplans to initiate high-volume shipments of its new Ice Lake-SP in the first quarter of 2021. 

Anton Shilov
Freelance News Writer

Anton Shilov is a Freelance News Writer at Tom’s Hardware US. Over the past couple of decades, he has covered everything from CPUs and GPUs to supercomputers and from modern process technologies and latest fab tools to high-tech industry trends.

  • PCWarrior
    It will probably top out at 48 or 56 cores. The biggest question however is whether Intel will introduce Icelake Xeon W cpus for the workstation which will eventually trickle down to the HEDT space as Icelake X. Absolutely no rumours about that so far. The alternative would be to offer a Rocketlake X HEDT lineup with 10-18cores. But we have no rumours about that either.

    So what Intel will be doing in the HEDT space in 2021? Nothing again? They have already launched absolutely nothing in 2020. Not to mention that what we got in 2019 and 2018 were merely refreshes of what they first launched in 2017. And sure they launched the W-3175X in Q4 2018/Q1 2019 but even counting that it's still already 2 years since something new in the super-high end, targetted at enthousiasts, was launched.