Intel Xeon W-3175X Review: Ultimate Performance at the Ultimate Price

Overclocking, Power, Temps and Efficency

Overclocking and Thermals

We connected the second EVGA power supply for our overclocking testing, but after attaining a reasonable overclock for a water-cooled system and measuring power consumption, we determined that the extra PSU wasn't necessary. We're told it really becomes a requirement for systems that push higher frequencies via exotic cooling solutions like water chillers and liquid nitrogen.

The Xeon W-3175X was surprisingly easy to overclock through Intel's eXtreme Tuning Utility, though we prefer to overclock in the BIOS.

An all-core 4.6 GHz overclock delivered a nice balance of performance and thermal output under our EKWB cooling system. AVX-based workloads did overwhelm the thermal solution, so we dialed in AVX offsets that throttled back to the stock 3.1 GHz during those taxing workloads. Temperatures rarely exceeded 75°C in either case.

We dialed in a 1.9V VCCIN and 1.17V Vcore to stabilize our 4.6 GHz overclock, then bumped up the VCCSA and VCCIO to 1.3V to help stabilize our memory overclock. We topped out at DDR4-3200 with the Corsair Vengeance RGB sticks. We also bumped the mesh frequency up to 3.2 GHz (1.3V Vmesh) to give us an extra performance boost via lower cache latencies.

Plotting temperatures revealed that we rarely exceeded 80°C during our AIDA stress test with AVX disabled. Switching over to an AVX-enabled Prime95 stress test pushed our thermals up to ~88°C, though the CPU merely ran at its stock 3.1 GHz AVX frequency. We did experiment with clock rates as high as 3.6 GHz in AVX-enabled apps. However, that pushed the processor up to 110°C within a few moments, tripping its thermal throttling algorithms.

It's noteworthy that we were able to attain a higher overclock with the W-3175X than we've seen from some of Intel's other HEDT models with fewer cores, like the Core i9-9980XE. The Xeon W-3175X's larger heat spreader likely helps to alleviate thermal density issues that constrain cooling efforts on the smaller chips. Still, solder TIM would have been a welcome addition.

Power Consumption

Power consumption measurements are always a bit tricky. But as long as your 12V supply (EPS) readings, motherboard power supply sensor values, and voltage transformer losses plausibly coincide, everything is fine. Therefore, we're using pure package power to avoid possible influences from our motherboard. Results from the PWM controller are very reliable if you take them as averages over a few minutes.

The Dominus Extreme does present power measurement challenges, however. In order to sidestep the CPU's power limits, Asus offers a secondary power reporting option in the BIOS. Intel's recommended setting (default) reports current by dividing the value by 1.25x, meaning that we have to multiply the power values we receive from the sensor loop by 1.25x to calculate the final value. Overclocking requires a 4x divider, meaning the software reports 1/4 the actual power consumed to avoid tripping the chip's internal protection mechanisms. Simply multiplying the output by four gives us the correct value.

We expected high power consumption from the Xeon W-3175X, and Intel's workstation flagship didn't disappoint. At stock settings, we recorded 318W from an AVX-optimized workload at 3.1 GHz and 319W in a stress test that didn't use AVX instructions.

Those numbers skyrocketed when we began overclocking. At 4.6 GHz, we observed 676W during an SSE-optimized stress test and 792W with AVX instructions in play, despite the AVX offset.

As with the Skylake-X processors we already reviewed, current has a big impact on both performance and heat. It's even possible to generate higher performance scores in threaded benchmarks like Cinebench by using a higher VCCIN voltage setting (at a given frequency).

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32 comments
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  • rantoc
    Shame i don't live on the north-pole where this cpu could be fully utilized - As a space heater and cpu ;)
  • shrapnel_indie
    317373 said:
    Shame i don't live on the north-pole where this cpu could be fully utilized - As a space heater and cpu ;)


    With this current polar vortex.... you might not need to live at one of the poles to take advantage of the space heater qualities.
  • jimmysmitty
    As impressive as it is that Intel can match or beat more cores with less Intel really needs to get pricing in check. Its hard to justify this CPU when its cost is nearly double but the performance is not always double.

    I like Intels platform but man they really have to come back down to earth and start competing with AMD from a price perspective as well.
  • rschiwal
    I've always been an AMD fan. For my gaming and Blender use it's Ryzen all the way! you can't beat the performance/cost ratio, but as a system administrator, I would recommend a Dell server with this processor as a core server in business infrastructure. Xeon is a known commodity. I would love to see Threadripper servers in non-critical operations until I know how dependable they are, but they are the new hotness. In business, you are looking for a dependable tractor, not a flashy sports car.
  • salgado18
    317373 said:
    Shame i don't live on the north-pole where this cpu could be fully utilized - As a space heater and cpu ;)


    *fortunatelly. One Blender run would melt the entire polar cap.
  • bloodroses
    330834 said:
    317373 said:
    Shame i don't live on the north-pole where this cpu could be fully utilized - As a space heater and cpu ;)
    With this current polar vortex.... you might not need to live at one of the poles to take advantage of the space heater qualities.


    I know what you mean. I live in Michigan and was greeted to -6 F outside this morning. :( I'm just glad this is only supposed to stay for a day or 2.
  • logainofhades
    More ridiculous pricing from team blue. You could build a couple of threadripper systems, for the cost of this single Intel system.
  • jimmysmitty
    59887 said:
    More ridiculous pricing from team blue. You could build a couple of threadripper systems, for the cost of this single Intel system.


    The issue is the market this is geared towards. That market doesn't see the same way we do. As another user said they will stick with what has worked until TR can be proven to work as well and support the same.

    I agree the pricing is a bit insane though and Intel needs to get on the same level but I doubt they will until AMD truly threatens them. I mean look at the results. Its a 28 core chip thats performing on the same level and sometimes beating a 32 core chip.
  • dorsai
    The vast majority of corporate IT departments will not care at all about the unlocked multiplier...most have strict policies about overclocking being a no go...so there's no reason to boost the rating of this chip because of it. Outside of a few key exceptions most of the test results would never justify the price associated with migration to the w-3173x platform...indeed I would guess that few of these processors will ever be bought outside of corporate IT shops with the deep pockets to purchase them. This chip is destined to be nothing but a niche product exemplifying both what Intel can do when pushed to it...and a lesson in cost vs performance economics
  • Brian_R170
    If the system has the potential to earn you tens of thousands of dollars more than a competing system, then spending an extra $3K is a no-brainer. Of course, you have evaluate your choices 100% objectively, which isn't always easy to do without actually purchasing and using them, so Dorsai is likely correct that the vast majority will end up medium/large corporations. However, the few that do end up with reviewers and enthusiasts will undoubtedly garner the most attention.
  • TCA_ChinChin
    This product seems pretty weirdly positioned at least for current times. I feel like everyone that can afford one and can justify the price tag would probably have tasks that better suite an actual Xeon rather than this chip. Overlooking is not needed in most areas and power draw is also more important than pure performance in many other. Cool premium piece from Intel for the dedicated enthusiast though.
  • Karadjgne
    Pixar and Disney. You don't buy just 1 cpu, you outfit entire departments with them. Talk about a cash-cow...
  • spdragoo
    1489542 said:
    The vast majority of corporate IT departments will not care at all about the unlocked multiplier...most have strict policies about overclocking being a no go...so there's no reason to boost the rating of this chip because of it. Outside of a few key exceptions most of the test results would never justify the price associated with migration to the w-3173x platform...indeed I would guess that few of these processors will ever be bought outside of corporate IT shops with the deep pockets to purchase them. This chip is destined to be nothing but a niche product exemplifying both what Intel can do when pushed to it...and a lesson in cost vs performance economics


    Definitely agree with that. And especially when you look at the price-per-performance graphs, there's very little there to appeal to a corporation from an acquisition cost perspective -- paying nearly double the cost per system to get only a 5-10% improvement is not an efficient use of corporate assets.

    And that especially becomes important when you have things like this in the review:
    Quote:
    The W-3175X also comes with a 4.3 GHz dual-core boost that provides snappy performance in lightly-threaded apps, like web browsers and mundane office applications. The second-gen Threadripper processors have made great strides in this area, but they still can’t match Intel’s frequency and IPC throughput advantage.


    Anyone, especially a business, considering this Xeon for their system is not concerned about dual-core 4.6GHz performance...& if that's their primary concern, they're going to save even more money by purchasing Core i3 (or even i5) systems (or even consider Ryzen 3/5/7 systems).

    As for gamers...with the Intel i9-9980X system not only outperforming it, but in the OCd tests outperforming the Xeon at a lower clock speed ,while saving nearly $1,000 on your system, it truly becomes a no-brainer as to which system would have the (current) "ultimate" gaming CPU.
  • logainofhades
    1011591 said:
    Pixar and Disney. You don't buy just 1 cpu, you outfit entire departments with them. Talk about a cash-cow...


    Fox is using Threadripper, apparently, for their VFX.
  • BulkZerker
    "Pixar and Disney. You don't buy just 1 cpu, you outfit entire departments with them. Talk about a cash-cow..."

    *Laughs in GPU accelerated rendering*
  • emeralds1000000
    149725 said:
    59887 said:
    More ridiculous pricing from team blue. You could build a couple of threadripper systems, for the cost of this single Intel system.
    The issue is the market this is geared towards. That market doesn't see the same way we do. As another user said they will stick with what has worked until TR can be proven to work as well and support the same. I agree the pricing is a bit insane though and Intel needs to get on the same level but I doubt they will until AMD truly threatens them. I mean look at the results. Its a 28 core chip thats performing on the same level and sometimes beating a 32 core chip.


    28 cores outperforming 32 cores ? so what ? it is just 4 cores difference and they ask for 4 times the price with the $1500 motherboard included.

    I dont see this product going anywhere ... and I dont see who will buy it.

    for professional work and data centers , no one overclock. and for gaming it gives no advantage at all.
  • Avikbellic911
    Looks good but the power draw...boi thats too much
  • cryoburner
    1920539 said:
    Multi-Threaded rendering workloads have long been the absolute strength of the Threadripper lineup, but Intel's W-3175X steps in and upsets the balance.

    At least for any multithreaded application that can divide rendering across networked systems, which should apply to most rendering software, Threadripper still seems to be the real winner here. The $1200 24-core Threadripper 2970WX appears to offer close to 80% of this CPU's rendering performance, and you could likely build two systems around that processor for a similar total cost as a single 28-core Xeon W-3175X system, and get significantly more performance with rendering/encoding tasks divided between the two. It would actually be interesting to see an article comparing the performance of one of these 28-core Xeons versus two Threadripper systems set up as a render farm.
  • kinggremlin
    582021 said:
    1920539 said:
    Multi-Threaded rendering workloads have long been the absolute strength of the Threadripper lineup, but Intel's W-3175X steps in and upsets the balance.
    At least for any multithreaded application that can divide rendering across networked systems, which should apply to most rendering software, Threadripper still seems to be the real winner here. The $1200 24-core Threadripper 2970WX appears to offer close to 80% of this CPU's rendering performance, and you could likely build two systems around that processor for a similar total cost as a single 28-core Xeon W-3175X system, and get significantly more performance with rendering/encoding tasks divided between the two. It would actually be interesting to see an article comparing the performance of one of these 28-core Xeons versus two Threadripper systems set up as a render farm.


    As others have mentioned, you're not likely to see one of these in a single CPU workstation. You're going to see hundreds or thousands of them in render farms. 2 threadripper systems will take twice the rack mount space of one Xeon system along with additional networking equipment as well as setup costs, maintenance with twice as many parts that can fail, etc. Two threadripper systems will use significantly more power than a stock speed Xeon system requiring significant more cooling in the server rooms. People on message boards always focus on the initial cost of the hardware in the system itself, which is valid for a personal computer. It often means little compared to the lifetime operating costs of a server within a farm.
  • TJ Hooker
    @kinggremlin I agree with the rack space and equipment argument, but not the power/cooling. Given that a single 2990WX seems to offer better perf/W, whether you have 1 or 100 of them isn't going to change that. Sure, 2 threadripper systems would use a fair bit more than a single Xeon, but it would similarly perform a fair bit better too (looking at the rendering results). If you were to compare some number of threadripper systems that uses a given amount of power (or cooling) and compare the rendering performance to some other number of Xeon systems that use the same total power, you'd get more performance from the former.
  • ktolo
    "The Xeon W-3175X has 18 physical cores with Hyper-Threading technology, allowing it to operate on 56 threads at the same time."

    I spotted something amiss Paul. 28 cores.
  • logainofhades
    Performance per watt, and price/performance, Threadripper wins out. If you absolutely do not have the space for multiple systems, yea the Xeon here makes sense. Beyond that, no. As was stated at CES, and I mentioned earlier, Fox is using Threadripper now, for their VFX. I would say if it's good enough for them, it's good enough for anyone else, for those questioning dependability. Intel really needs to get their pricing under control, or it's going to be a bad year for them. The 9900k and 9900kf being the same MSRP, as an example of their very apparent greed. They sat on top too long, and think they are untouchable.
  • RememberThe5th
    This is new nuclear reactor, RIP FX 9590!
  • joeblowsmynose
    2031729 said:
    Looks good but the power draw...boi thats too much


    I think you are only supposed to complain about power consumption on AMD parts, Intel gets a free ride on this metric, it seems ... ;)

    But more seriously ... 800watts is a tad bit insane ... that is literally space heater territory. Time to replace all the FX9590 memes with this part.

    I wonder if there will be a 64 core Threadripper based on Epyc along soon that'll make this part obsolete at that price, except to those who feel a strong need to OC server processors ...