Newly published images may reveal that Intel's forthcoming Sapphire Rapids CPU might feature roughly 72-80 cores, considerably more cores than initially thought.
Hardware blogger YuuKi_AnS, known for various leaks, has published pictures of what is claimed to be Intel's Sapphire Rapid chiplets. This time around he removed the dies from the substrate and exposed their flip side. To great surprise, this reveals a 4×5 group of similar elements which are believed to be Sapphire Rapids' CPU cores. With each chiplet carrying 20 dies (or die candidates, specifically), higher-end Sapphire Rapids processors could have as many as 80 cores, whereas lower-end chips would of course feature fewer cores.
Previously it was reported that Intel's Sapphire Rapids will come with up to 56 Golden Cove cores, based on a slide that presumably came from Intel. That 56-core Sapphire Rapids CPU was claimed to have a TDP of 350W.
The disassembled Intel Sapphire Rapids sample is exactly the same CPU that was first pictured in February, more than three months ago, so it is not a new sample or an old sample, but the very sample that was obtained from an Intel partner either early in 2021 or late in 2020.
According to market rumors, Intel supplied its Sapphire Rapids samples with 28 enabled cores, and many believed that the company activated only half of the cores that its chiplet physically had (i.e., 7 out of 14). As it transpires, Intel's Sapphire Rapids features 20 cores per chiplet, which theoretically allows Intel to build SPR processors with up to 80 cores. Meanwhile, 56-core CPUs will have six redundant cores per chiplet, which is way too many. By contrast, two redundant cores per chiplet would enable 72-core CPUs.
Keep in mind that Intel has never confirmed the number of cores it plans for its Sapphire Rapids processors, and plans could always change. So take all this server silicon speculation with a few multi-core grains of salt.