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

VRMark, 3DMark, AotS: Escalation and Dawn of War III

Unfortunately, Intel hasn’t sampled its other Xeon W processors. With that said, they largely mirror the capabilities and performance of our line-up's Skylake-X models, with the primary difference being reduced timings to accommodate ECC memory and locked multipliers.

We tested the Ryzen Threadripper processors in Game Mode, per AMD's suggestion, halving (or quartering) available execution cores. Company representatives tell us this facilitates optimal performance in games. Any mention of PBO in the charts indicates that we used AMD’s Precision Boost Overdrive, an automatic overclocking feature that wrings out maximum performance based upon our platform's power delivery and cooling capabilities.

Gaming performance is measured at 1920 x 1080, minimizing graphics bottlenecks. Naturally, as you step up to higher resolutions, the differences between processors shrink.

VRMark, 3DMark

We aren't big fans of using synthetic benchmarks to measure performance, but 3DMark's DX11 and DX12 CPU tests provide useful insight into the amount of horsepower available to game engines.

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Xeon W-3175X trails Intel's 18C/36T Core i9-9980XE at stock settings in the DX11 test, and overclocking to 4.6 GHz doesn't reel in the Core i9-9980XE at 4.4 GHz. This benchmark typically scales well with core count, and given the W-3175X's 10 extra cores and 200 MHz-higher clock rate, those results don't align with our expectations. We'll see that same trend repeat in several other game benchmarks.

Intel's new mesh architecture does cause performance regressions compared to some previous-generation models, but both of these processors feature the same design. However, as on-chip interconnects scale they can suffer from higher latency as a result, and a mesh is no exception. Simply put, a larger mesh can lead to higher cache and memory latency under certain conditions.

Preliminary tests indicate a latency advantage of up to 10ns favoring the -9980XE over Intel's much larger W-3175X. As we learned from the Threadripper processors, games are exceedingly sensitive to memory and cache latency. We also have to wonder if today's game and benchmark engines are fully optimized for the many-core era. We theorize that mesh latency, or a lack of software optimization for prodigious core counts, could be the source of the disparity.

AMD's Ryzen Threadripper chips land quite a ways down our charts. With that said, we did test in AMD's recommended Game Mode.

Intel’s processors take the lead in VRMark, largely due to their impressive per-core (a mixture of frequency and IPC) performance. The tuned W-3175X fares better in this benchmark, essentially tying the Core i9-9980XE. 

Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation

Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation is a computationally intense title that normally scales well with thread count.

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It isn't surprising to see the W-3175X excel in our Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation benchmark given its generally solid optimization for threading and the chip's hefty allotment of 28 cores. But again, it scores a near-tie with the less complex Core i9-9980XE in spite of its higher frequency and core count. 

Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War III

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The Intel Core i9-9900K takes a commanding lead, while AMD's Ryzen Threadripper 2970WX with PBO active competes readily against Intel's high-end desktop CPUs.

In stock form, the W-3175X trails other chips with higher stock frequencies. Overclocking propels the CPU into third place behind the tuned Core i9-9980XE, though.


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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 ;)
    Reply
  • shrapnel_indie
    21725395 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.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • salgado18
    21725395 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.
    Reply
  • bloodroses
    21725522 said:
    21725395 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.
    Reply
  • logainofhades
    More ridiculous pricing from team blue. You could build a couple of threadripper systems, for the cost of this single Intel system.
    Reply
  • jimmysmitty
    21725843 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.
    Reply
  • 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
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply