We wrote last month about Intel's plans to overhaul its Xeon lineup, in effect forcing us to forget everything we ever knew about its current model naming convention. When the new Skylake-SP Xeons are released, they'll be separated by a simple medal-based ranking system: Bronze, Silver, Gold, and the baller-sounding "Platinum" edition. Today, we learn about what some of those chips are going to bring to the table.
It looks like the "Intel Xeon Platinum 8176" chip is going to be one to drool over in the server space, as it delivers an impressive 28 cores (56 threads with Intel HyperThreading), which is 4 more cores than the current top-end Xeon offers (E7-8894 v4), though still a few shy from AMD's recently disclosed 32-core Naples server platform, though the company has yet to formally launch the product. But get this, we're already seeing some cameo performance numbers from Intel's new top-end Xeon family...
In a leaked benchmark, featuring the super-popular Cinebench R15, the Platinum 8176 in a dual-socket, dual-CPU configuration scores 6525cb. For comparison's sake, the desktop-targeted Core i7-6900K scores around 1500cb, although that's comparing 16 threads to a staggering 112. Still, the Xeon Platinum 8176 delivers rather explosive performance for its low 2.1GHz clock speed.
Per Intel's announcement at Computex a couple of weeks ago, the top-end desktop SKU for the next-gen enthusiast CPUs is going to be the i9-7980XE, an 18-core / 36-thread chip, which many believe might not have happened if not for the fact that AMD's Ryzen and especially Threadripper will deliver such a powerful punch.
That top-end Core i9-7980XE is set to cost $2,000, which compared to top-end Xeons, can make it look like a bit of a steal. The aforementioned Xeon E7-8894 v4 costs ~$8.9K, so it can be assumed the Platinum 8176 isn't going to change course. That's 56 threads for ~$8.9K with the Xeon, or 36 threads for $2.0K on the desktop - threads that are likely to be faster given the nature of Intel's enthusiast parts.
Of course, it's not always so cut-and-dried to compare Core i7s to Xeons, given their differing target markets, but it is still useful to note what's on the horizon, and where people might be able to get the best bang for the buck. While the Core i9-7980XE is going to be Intel's best desktop SKU at its release, it's going to lack some features required in the enterprise, including of course registered DIMMs for end-to-end error correction.
Perhaps most interesting is the fact that a lower-end Xeon Platinum seems to perform better (see shot above) than the highest-end one, at least according to Cinebench. Where dual 8176 chips scored 6525cb in Cinebench, dual 8168 chips hit 7212cb, despite having fewer threads (96 vs. 112). This is thanks to the different clock speed, 2.7GHz vs. 2.1GHz (both stock, non-Turbo). The smaller of these two chips features less cache, but that's to be expected given the fewer cores.
As the expected launch for these new Xeons is the end of this month or early next, it won't be too much longer before we learn all we need to know about them. That includes how they compare to AMD's EPYC platform, which is also set to launch at around the same time.