Intel already disclosed that it had begun shipments of QVL 4th Generation Xeon Scalable 'Sapphire Rapids' processors to select customers and is sampling these processors with a broad set of clients. However, Intel has not confirmed that its next-generation Xeon W-3400-series CPUs are already in the wild and being tested by third parties. Yet, this appears to be the case, and people are test driving Intel's Xeon W9-3400-series 'Sapphire Rapids' CPUs
Some openly available Linux boot logs already contain mentions of Intel's 56-core Xeon W9-3495 'Sapphire Rapids' processor, as noticed by @InstLatX64. This is hardly surprising as Intel tends to release Xeon W-series processors for workstations based on server silicon shortly after it launches its latest datacenter CPUs that use the same microarchitecture.
Intel's Xeon W-series processors are designed for single-socket workstations (like AMD's Ryzen Threadripper Pro), yet they retain all features and capabilities supported by their server counterparts, including support for massive amounts of memory over eight memory channels. The CPU in question — Intel's Xeon W9-3495 — not only has 56 cores with simultaneous multi-threading clocked at 1.80 GHz and eight DDR5-4800 memory channels, but it also comes with AVX-512 and AMX instructions enabled. Of course, since the information does not come from an official source and involves pre-production hardware, take it with a pinch of salt.
One of the things that strikes the eye with the 56-core Sapphire Rapids processor for desktops is Intel's new naming scheme for Xeon W-series. Previously the company just offered these CPUs with a particular model number without splitting them into classes like it does with desktop CPUs (e.g., i9, i7, i5, i3). However, starting with the next-generation Xeon W-series products, Intel will add classes to the chips, so there will be Xeon W9-3400-series CPUs, Xeon W7-3400-series products, and so on. It is unclear what might be the difference between Xeon W9 and Xeon W7 besides core count and perhaps supported memory configurations as well as the number of active PCIe lanes.
While it is nice to know that Intel's next-generation Xeon W-3400-series 'Sapphire Rapids' workstation-grade CPUs with up to 56 cores are already in the wild, what PC enthusiasts are eager to know is how enthusiast-grade Sapphire Rapids for high-end desktops (HEDT) are doing. Unfortunately, we have no idea. However, since Intel is gradually expanding the availability of Sapphire Rapids samples, there are good chances that someone is already test-driving Sapphire Rapids for HEDTs. Unless, of course, Intel wants to get rid of its HEDT series and offer only workstation-grade CPUs in the future, as AMD did with its Ryzen Threadripper/Threadripper Pro offerings.
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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.