Intel Announces Xeon Scalable Processor Family Based On Skylake-SP

AMD is looking to make a big impact on the enterprise market with its upcoming Naples platform. Naples will bring tons of memory bandwidth and up to 32 cores, so many have been wondering what Intel has up its sleeves to counter it. Overall, the blue team still has the fastest IPC and single-threaded performance, so it doesn't have much to fear for now, but if Naples can deliver close to what is being promised, it is going to give the enterprise market a long overdue shakeup.

As we now learn, part of Intel's disruption versus their competition will be underscored with a rebranding, as the company has decided to overhaul the naming scheme for its upcoming Xeons with a bit of metal flavor (not the headbanger kind). Intel's top-end Xeons will become Xeon Platinum, and the trickle-down models will become Xeon Gold, Silver, and Bronze. That's simple enough to understand, but we wish that Xeons had been named like that from the start. 

Intel Xeon Platinum Badge

Today, Xeon model names follow a fairly easy-to-understand format. Take for example the Xeon E5-4640 v4. "E5" in this case means that it is in the middle of Intel's current stack in terms of features and capabilities (there are also E3 and E7), whereas the "4" signifies use in a 4-socket system. Finally, the "v4" represents the architecture -- think "7th generation Core" on the desktop side.

With this change, a model like the one above would become Intel Xeon Gold 4640. Another example from a week ago would be Intel Xeon Platinum 8180. We're not sure at this point if the first number in the naming scheme represents the number of supported sockets like previous models, but we hope so for the sake of reducing confusion as much as possible.

Intel Xeon Scalable Family 10

Ultimately, these name changes fall under what Intel calls a "Scalable Family", and the chips will include cutting-edge tech like AVX-512 instructions, QuickAssist technology, and Volume Management Device (VMD) that will take great advantage of NVMe solid-state drives. The platform will also support complementary processing engines and platform technologies like Intel FPGAs, Xeon Phi accelerators and Silicon Photonics connectivity. 

Intel Xeon Scalable Family 20

Intel's VP and GM of Xeon for Datacenter Marketing Lisa Spelman paints a bright outlook for the new Xeon offering, stating, "We believe the Intel Xeon Processor Scalable family – which is already being embraced by a wide range of cloud providers and leading enterprises around the world – will be a catalyst for organizations to modernize their data centers, offering much greater flexibility and choice in how data center technologies are adopted and deployed, and reducing complexity and test and validation overhead."

Spelman goes on to say that these new Xeons should be making an appearance this summer, which means they should arrive around the time AMD's Naples platform hits. This summer is going to be very, very interesting on the enterprise side of things.