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Intel Ice Lake Xeon W to Challenge AMD Threadripper With 38 Cores

Intel 3rd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable Processor
Intel 3rd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable Processor (Image credit: Intel)

Intel recently launched its 3rd Generation Xeon Scalable CPU for data centers, which means that the Xeon W lineup for workstations shouldn't be far behind. Technology provider CompSource has already listed a couple of Intel's looming Ice Lake Xeon W 10nm chips on its online store, pointing to an upcoming core-heavy rival to AMD Ryzen Threadripper chips. 

According to an alleged leaked PowerPoint slide, shared via Twitter in April, Intel's Xeon W-3300 series is expected to sport up to 38 Sunny Cove CPU cores. However, we know that the Ice Lake architecture is capable of up to 40 cores, as seen on the 3rd Generation Xeon Scalable processors. We suspect the chipmaker wants to avoid product cannibalization. 

Intel Ice Lake Xeon W Specifications

ProcessorPriceCores / ThreadsBoost Clock (GHz)Cache (MB)Part Number
Threadripper Pro 3995WX$5,489.9964 / 1284.2256100-100000087WOF
Xeon W-3375*$6,196.3238 / 764.057CD8068904691401
Threadripper Pro 3975WX$2,749.9932 / 644.2128100-100000086WOF
Xeon W-3365*$5,295.97?4.048CD8068904691303
Threadripper Pro 3955WX$1,148.9916 / 324.364100-100000167WOF
Xeon W-3345*$2,930.00?4.036CD8068904691101
Xeon W-3335*$1,465.58?4.024CD8068904708401
Xeon W-3323*$1,071.45?4.021CD8068904708502

*Specifications are unconfirmed.

As spotted via Twitter user momomo_us, CompSource has listed chips from the Xeon W-3300 lineup, starting with the W-3323 at $1,071.45 and topping out at W-3375 for $6,196.32. In comparison to existing Xeon W-3200 (Cascade Lake) family, we're looking at a 36% increase in maximum core count plus all the benefits of the new Ice Lake microarchitecture. In addition to maximizing the amount of cores, Ice Lake also pushes the maximum amount of L3 cache up to 57MB, a 48% uplift in comparison to the Xeon W-3200 series.

Unfortunately, CompSource didn't reveal the complete specifications for the Xeon W-3300 parts. Given, the 57MB L3 cache on the Xeon W-3375, we expect that this is the flagship part and features 38 cores and 76 threads.

CompSource listed the various Xeon W-3300 processors with a maximum boost clock speed of 4 GHz, lending credence to specifications from the alleged Intel PowerPoint slide. 

Xeon W-3300 should be more efficient than Xeon W-3200, since the former leverages Intel's 10nm process node versus the latter's 14nm process node. Note that Intel is utilizing its first-generation 10nm manufacturing process for the Xeon W-3300 processors, which explains the low operating clocks. Clock speeds should improve with subsequent processors that utilize the 10nm SuperFin process node.

There hasn't been any news on the Ice Lake-X (ICL-X) front, meaning Intel may forsake the high-end desktop (HEDT) community for this generation. Lacking an Ice Lake-X lineup, then the Xeon W-3300 series will likely go head-to-head with AMD's Ryzen Threadripper (Pro) 3000 processors that wield Zen 2 cores. Xeon W-3300 offers similar features, such as the 64 PCIe 4.0 lanes on Ryzen Threadripper and eight-channel support on Ryzen Threadripper Pro.

Of course, Xeon W-3300 will struggle to be the best CPU option over Ryzen Threadripper (Pro) when it comes to certain areas. The latter offers up to 64 cores and are cheaper. The process node difference (7nm versus 10nm) also gives AMD's chips an advantage when it comes to clock speeds. The thing is that AMD may unleash its Ryzen Threadripper 5000 chips with Zen 3 cores very soon, making things even harder for the Xeon W-3300 processors.

Xeon W-3300 processors will drop into the new LGA4189 CPU socket and bring many attractive traits to the table. For starters, the core-heavy chips will support up to 64 PCIe 4.0 lanes. There is also rumored support for up to eight channels of DDR4-3200 ECC memory, opening the door to outfitting a single system with up to 4TB of memory.

  • mikewinddale
    Lower clocks and less cache than ThreadRipper Pro?

    Well, then I don't regret just having purchased a ThreadRipper Pro 3955WX.
    Reply
  • rtoaht
    ThreadRipper Pro NEEDs the cache to mitigate its high inter-die communication latency. Ice Lakes latency should be order of magnitude lower due to it being monolithic. So it DOESN'T NEED high cache size to achieve similar or better performance.
    Reply
  • NightHawkRMX
    Some workloads like code compile depend a lot on cache and regardless of if xeon w "doesnt need cache", they will perform worse because of the less cache.
    Reply
  • waltc3
    The "exciting thing" cough about the current AMD/Intel CPU situation is that it almost always involves currently shipping AMD CPUs placed in competition with future-shipping, er-ah...make that "possibly future-shipping" Intel CPUs cough It's the great "hardware versus vaporware" match up....;)
    Reply
  • dave.jeffers
    Zen 3 Threadripper coming in August. That will be the competition, not existing Threadripper on Zen 2.
    Reply
  • JWNoctis
    rtoaht said:
    ThreadRipper Pro NEEDs the cache to mitigate its high inter-die communication latency. Ice Lakes latency should be order of magnitude lower due to it being monolithic. So it DOESN'T NEED high cache size to achieve similar or better performance.
    ...And that is also being partially mitigated with Zen 3 architecture. Someone else did a benchmark late last year when it first came out.

    For workloads needing no more than 8 cores, at least.

    Just like the old wisdom that AMD processors run hotter than Intel for less go, I doubt whether AMD is ever going to live that down.
    Reply
  • TerryLaze
    waltc3 said:
    The "exciting thing" cough about the current AMD/Intel CPU situation is that it almost always involves currently shipping AMD CPUs placed in competition with future-shipping, er-ah...make that "possibly future-shipping" Intel CPUs cough It's the great "hardware versus vaporware" match up....;)
    Funnily enough AMD is the one that has to use technology that hasn't matured enough yet to get an leg up against intel causing them to never have enough CPUs available for any serious customer to prefer them as a provider.
    It's intel's hardware that is always available at high enough numbers and AMD sampling future tech that they might be able to ship in high enough numbers sometime in the future.
    Reply
  • JWNoctis
    TerryLaze said:
    Funnily enough AMD is the one that has to use technology that hasn't matured enough yet to get an leg up against intel causing them to never have enough CPUs available for any serious customer to prefer them as a provider.
    It's intel's hardware that is always available at high enough numbers and AMD sampling future tech that they might be able to ship in high enough numbers sometime in the future.
    Thought most of that is currently due to them being fabless during a global semiconductor shortage, but good point.

    They still do provide credible competition, though - And that's probably good for all involved in the end.
    Reply
  • mdd1963
    mikewinddale said:
    Lower clocks and less cache than ThreadRipper Pro?

    Well, then I don't regret just having purchased a ThreadRipper Pro 3955WX.

    If your workloads and hardware configuration needed the added PCI-e lanes and/or memory bandwidth over the 5950X, then you are set!
    Reply
  • mdd1963
    Intel's new $6k+ offerings called 'core-heavy' .... at 38 cores? well, 38 cores is certainly more than 32, granted, but, compared to 64 cores...'core-heavy' seems...optimistic. :)
    Reply