Intel said this week that it would slightly delay high-volume ramp of its 4th Generation Xeon Scalable Sapphire Rapids processor. The new CPUs will still be available this year, but it looks like the company needs some additional time to validate the platform with different designs, components, vendors, and clients.
"With innovation comes a level of complexity, and we see all the customers, OEMs, ODMs, you know the hyperscalers strong demand in that platform validation with us and we delivered the initial SKUs in Q1 that we had planned," said Sandra Rivera, General Manager of Intel's Datacenter and AI Group, at the Bank of America Securities Global Technology Brokers Conference (transcript). "At this point we are building in more platform and product validation time, so we see Sapphire Rapids […] ramp being later in the year than what we had originally forecasted, but the demand is still very high."
Intel's 4th Generation Xeon Scalable Sapphire Rapids processor was originally meant to ship in 2021, but Intel delayed it to early 2022 — eventually moving high-volume availability of the processor to mid-2022. After shipping the initial production release qualification (PRQ) Sapphire Rapids processor models to select customers in Q1, the company moved high-volume availability again, to the second half of this year (which could have been interpreted as July or August). Apparently they're now delayed further, which probably means fall given that Intel's volume ramp will continue into 2023.
"Intel's [3rd Generation Xeon Scalable] Ice Lake for, certainly for 2022 will be the highest volume product as we ramp Sapphire later in this year and then of course throughout 2023," said Rivera.
Select Intel customers will continue to get PRQ Sapphire Rapids processors in the coming months ahead of the high-volume launch. These clients — e.g., operators of hyperscale datacenters — tend to use a lot of CPUs, so Intel will still make quite some money selling its 4th gen Xeon Scalable platform in 2022.
Rivera stressed that while Sapphire Rapids is delayed, its successor Emerald Rapids is still on track for late 2023 — Emerald Rapids will use the same socket as SPR, so its volume ramp should be smoother as Intel's customers will have experience with the platform.
"We know that Emerald Rapids which follows Sapphire [in] the second half of next year, a nice performance bump in terms of the memory, the networking, and the overall performance."