Intel Xeon 6 Preview: 144 Core Sierra Forest Debuts With 288 To Come

Intel Xeon 6 Series Processors: Expected Performance, Power And SKU Stack

intel xeon 6 tray 2
Nearly everything about the Xeon 6 family is faster, wider, deeper or more capable than previous-gen Xeons. As such, performance is expected to be considerably better across a wide range of workloads.

xeon 6 platform enhancements

Versus 5th Gen Xeon processors (Emerald Rapids) Intel is claiming 2 – 2.3X better performance in AI, HPC and general compute workloads. And if we look back 5 years, performance in more traditional data center workloads like networking and media transcoding, should be approximately 2.6 – 3.4X better.

xeon 6 performance breakdown

Over and above higher performance, however, Xeon 6 processors also allow for much higher density thanks to their increased core counts. As an example, a data center that required 200 racks of servers powered by 2nd Gen Xeon processors, can be consolidated into only 66 racks of Xeon 6 processors. And the Xeon 6 servers would require less energy.

Intel Xeon 6 Processors: Expected Performance

xeon 6 performance vs 2nd gen

xeon 6 performance vs 5th gen

Although we will be running our own benchmarks ASAP, Intel provided some performance comparisons that show how the Xeon 6 6780E 144 core processor stacks up against 2nd and 5th Gen Xeon processors. Versus the 2nd Gen processors, there’s no comparison – the Xeon 6’s newer architecture, higher bandwidth, and modem platform technologies propel it way out in front. Versus the 5th Gen processor, Emerald Rapids’ P-cores score a narrow win in the web workload, but that’s it. And in terms of performance per watt, the Xeon 6 looks much more attractive.

Intel also provided some comparisons between 128 core processors -- the Xeon 6 6756E and AMD XPYC 9534.

xeon 6 performance vs epyc

In this comparison, the Xeon 6 trails in terms of absolute performance in most tests by about 6 – 14%, but performance per watt once again looks superior on the Xeon 6. We should point out that in this comparison the Xeon 6 6756E is a 225 watt part, while the EPYC processor is 280 watts.

xeon 6 power perf per watt

Performance per watt and efficiency were an obvious focus for the Xeon 6 6700E family. What you see here is a comparison of 2 dual-socket servers, one featuring a pair of 64 core 5th Gen Xeon 8592+ processors (350W) and the other a pair of 144 core Xeon 6 6780E processors (330W). With the new Xeon 6 6700E setup, performance scales linearly under load. When operating between 40-60% utilization, where the 5th Gen parts ramp up considerably, the Xeon 6 server consumes approximately 280W less power. At 100% utilization, the delta separating the two platforms shrink to about 125 – 150W, but the new Xeon 6 platform still has a significant advantage, despite offering many more cores.
intel xeon 6 style

Intel Xeon 6: To Be Continued
There’s still a lot more Xeon 6 information coming down the pipeline. We’re testing some chips now and will have our benchmarks results published ASAP, and Intel’s got a multitude of additional processors waiting in the wings. Today it’s all about the E-core exclusive Xeon 6 6700E series, but many additional P-core and E-core based parts will be arriving in the coming months, including everything from a monstrous 288-core behemoth to a modest 16-core SoC.

With the Xeon 6, it’s clear Intel is trying to address as many potential customers as possible. Whether you need massive core counts for web and microservice workloads or the highest performance cores for AI and deep learning, Intel’s got a potential solution. All of the variety, however, may cause some confusion in the marketplace.

intel xeon 6 underside

When all is said and done though, it appears Intel is heading in the right direction with the Xeon 6 family. Performance should be better in the vast majority of workloads, power efficiency and perf-per-watt has been improved, and per-socket core density is vastly increased, with both E-core and P-core based models.

We’ll be sure to keep you informed as additional details regarding the Xeon 6 6900 series hits, but for now stay tuned for some 144-core Xeon 6 6700E benchmarks. They’re coming soon.

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