Intel's Xeon Granite Rapids CPUs Tipped For A Huge L3 Cache Upgrade To 480MB

Intel Xeon Sapphire Rapids news
A recent update to Intel's Software Development Emulator may have inadvertently revealed that the company's upcoming Granite Rapids server CPU comes with 480MB of L3 cache, as spotted by @InstLatX64 on X. 480MB of L3 cache would be by far the most any Intel CPU has ever had, even beating out the 320MB that Emerald Rapids is equipped with. It's yet another sign that Intel is going big with Granite Rapids, perhaps very literally in this case.

There's been a race to pack the latest CPUs with more and more cache. Intel nearly tripled L3 cache going from its Sapphire Rapids chips to Emerald Rapids, while AMD has always packed its chiplet CPUs with plenty of L3 cache since Zen 2, and has added 3D V-Cache chips to boost its cache amount even further. At a 50% bump, Granite Rapids isn't as extreme as Emerald Rapids was generation-to-generation and is still well behind Genoa-X's 1,152MB of L3 cache. Still, a 50% increase is still pretty big, and 480MB is a new record for Intel.

Intel Xeon Emerald Rapids news

Although cache is notorious for being hard to shrink in size and can be relatively expensive to add to a chip, adding more cache is a simple way to increase performance without investing in costly R&D. Emerald Rapids isn't especially different from Sapphire Rapids, but it notably has a ton more L3 cache that definitely seemed to help increase performance in our review.

How Granite Rapids is achieving 50% more cache isn't entirely clear as the leak only reveals the amount of cache, though it seems more likely that Intel is relying on increasing size rather than a 3D-stacked chiplet solution like AMD. The socket for Granite Rapids Xeons is apparently 70% larger than the one for Sapphire and Emerald Rapids, which means Granite Rapids will be pretty big. Granite Rapids is also purportedly rated for 500 watts, compared to 350 watts on both Sapphire and Emerald Rapids. We can almost certainly expect the top-end Granite Rapids chip to be a monster.