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    Intel’s Ice Lake Xeon comes out swinging at AMD’s Epyc Milan

    Enlarge / Thirty-six particular person fashions of Ice Lake Xeon Scalable processor launch as we speak, with instant retail availability anticipated from main system distributors, together with Supermicro, HPE, and Dell.

    Intel launched a brand new batch of third-generation Xeon server processors as we speak. Significantly, these are Ice Lake processors—that means Intel’s 10 nm course of, not the more and more outdated 14 nm course of that almost all of Intel’s lineup has been caught on for a few years now.

    Today’s choice features a staggering 36 separate SKUs, starting from 8-core Xeon Silver 4309Y all the best way as much as 40-core Xeon Platinum 8380.

    Gen-on-gen efficiency enchancment

    There’s no query that as we speak’s Ice Lake Xeons are a major, badly wanted enchancment to Intel’s server lineup. Similarly to Intel’s Ice Lake pocket book components, clock speeds are down from the older 14 nm components—however IPC is up greater than sufficient to compensate, and in contrast to the Ice Lake pocket book components, these Xeons typically boast extra cores than the final generations do, reasonably than fewer.

    We have not had the possibility to go hands-on with as we speak’s Ice Lake Xeons ourselves, however Anandtech did. Comparing as we speak’s 40-core Xeon 8380 to 2019’s 28-core Xeon 8280, single-threaded checks typically come out 3 to fifteen % in favor of the newer era—and multi-threaded checks favor the newer half by a whopping 54 to 65 %.

    This, in fact, ignores the elephant within the room—Intel’s precise competitors, which comes within the type of AMD Epyc processors. As large an enchancment as Xeon 8380 is, it is nonetheless not sufficient to catch as much as Epyc Milan, and even the older Epyc Rome.

    Epyc 7662, 75F3, 7742, 7713, and 7763 all beat the 8380 handily in each integer and floating level multi-threaded metrics. Epyc 75F3 and 7763 beat it in single-threaded metrics as properly, with 75F3 doing so by a reasonably large margin.

    Feature and effectivity enhancements

    With the brand new Ice Lake Xeons nonetheless lagging considerably behind AMD (and Ampere, an Arm-based server processor), Intel’s advertising and marketing technique essentially focuses on Intel-only options and particular use circumstances reasonably than sheer muscle.

    Features just like the AVX-512 prolonged instruction set, Software Guard Extensions (SGX), and Optane DC Persistent Memory are solely discovered on Intel methods—they usually can signify main efficiency enhancements and even make-or-break requirements for workloads particularly tailor-made to them.

    The new era of Xeon brings help for PCIe 4, 4TiB of DRAM (up from 1TiB), a brand new 512GiB SGX Enclave—and a lower cost. The 40-core Xeon 8380 is “solely” $8,100, in comparison with the 28-core Xeon 8280 at $10,100.

    Xeon Platinum 8380 does surrender one characteristic as in comparison with 8280—fewer particular person sockets. You can construct an 8380 system in both single-socket or dual-socket variants, whereas 8280 supported 4- and 8-socket platforms as properly.

    Although 8380’s general TDP is up—270 W, in comparison with 8280’s 205 W—the brand new half remains to be extra environment friendly general, at 6.75 W/core to 8280’s 7.3 W/core. The improve in effectivity turns into much more apparent when evaluating SPECint or SPECfp scores per watt.

    Availability

    Between the restricted availability of first-generation Ice Lake pocket book CPUs and restricted availability of earlier batches of third-generation Xeon Scalable, we undoubtedly had availability issues about this latest batch of Ice Lake Xeons.

    We spoke to Supermicro Senior VP Vik Malyala concerning the new methods, and he advised us that Supermicro will be capable of ship new Ice Lake-based servers in ample amount to satisfy demand.

    Industry analysts at Trendforce agree, claiming that new Ice Lake CPUs will possible account for 40 % of Intel’s whole CPU shipments within the fourth quarter of 2021. Trendforce additionally notes that regardless of AMD’s commanding efficiency and under-load energy effectivity benefits, Intel retains a 92 % market share within the x86 server section.

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