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

Rendering

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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. The W-3175X wrests the lead from Threadripper 2990WX in several of these heavily-threaded applications, but the gains are slight in some cases. The slight gains may make a 66% price premium hard to swallow, but pairing that multithreaded heft with Intel's commanding lead in the single-core benchmarks proves to be a potent combination.

The 32C/64T Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX enjoys the core count advantage, but as we've seen in the past, accesses from its remote memory controllers can affect performance in weird ways, depending on the metric. The Windows scheduler only complicates matters. When the 2990WX can really utilize its array of execution resources, though, the performance-to-price ratio is compelling.

Encoding and Compression

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Our compression and decompression tests work directly from system memory, removing storage throughput from the equation. Intel's six-channel memory controller provides more throughput to feed the cores, and paired with Intel's general lead in IPC, the W-3175X doesn't disappoint. Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX stretches its legs in the decompression test, but exhibits its bipolar personality during the compression workload.

y-cruncher, a single- and multi-threaded program that computes pi, is a great test for evaluating AVX-optimized performance. Intel’s Core i9-9980XE employs two 256-bit FMA units per core that operate in parallel, whereas Ryzen's Zen architecture divides 256-bit AVX operations across two 128-bit FMA units per core. Intel's AVX instruction prowess is impressive during both the single- and multi-threaded benchmark, with the slight performance bump in the former likely attributable to the increased mesh and memory frequencies. As expected, we logged the same performance for both W-3175X configurations during the multi-threaded y-cruncher benchmark due to the same all-core 2.7 GHz AVX-512 offset.

While our HandBrake x264 benchmark also leverages AVX instructions, the x265 test has a heavier distribution of the densely-packed instructions. Intel's lineup leads the pack in both configurations.


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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