With Sapphire Rapids Intel is going to be able to give both lime and sand to companies and government data centers around the world. The architecture works, but the problem is AMD’s EPYC and, although it seems that the distance is shortening, the new Xeons that are coming to market are only a preview of what is to come. And it is that Intel intends to hit AMD on three different scales and in a really short reaction time, but above all, with important novelties, where the one that stands out the most is its 528 Core CPUwhich finally could stay at 334. And no, it is not “blue fantasy”, we explain it.
Go from 56 current cores to 528 cores in a short period of time it sounds like science fiction, but it really isn’t and it has a compelling plot. The first is time, which has been marked as a roadmap for almost a year now. The second is linked to the first, and has to do with the node jump, and finally, we have the third, which comes from the point of view of architecture.
The three attacks that Intel is preparing: Sierra Forest, Granite Rapids-SP and Granite Rapids-WS
The first thing we need to understand with these architectures/products/platforms is Intel’s segmentation. On the desktop we have the best of both worlds, with Alder Lake and Raptor Lake, but in servers and Workstation the options go through other, much more specialized paths. What the blue giant is going to do is diversify.
Therefore, the Granite Rapids families will be based solely on P-Coresthat is, high-performance kernels, while Sierra Forest will choose to do the opposite and include only E-Cores high efficiency, which changes everything.
Intel Sierra Forest: a double attack against AMD and ARM based on 528 Cores
It is undoubtedly the most interesting architecture by concept and by the very numbers it handles. Efficiency is sought, ultra-efficient computing in fact, but above all to combine this with a high density of cores. Although there is talk of several variants, it seems that the most significant will be that of 528 Coreswhich would arrive in 4 Tiles of 128which would actually be 132but it is estimated that they could finally arrive as 512 to boost the frequency a bit and improve the efficiency in scaling the SKUs.
The first version of Sierra Forest would not arrive with this variant of 512 cores, but with another of less depth that would drop to 86 Colors per Tilemaking a total count of 344 cores per CPU. What is intended here is to attack AMD and its Bergamo 4C with up to 128 cores or 256 cores with Zen 5 and at the same time do away with ARM options such as those presented by Ampere.
We will see this next year and thanks to the lithographic node Intel 3, which will be implemented in more products as we will see.
It is the natural continuation of emerald rapids, which in turn is the update of the current Sapphire Rapids. The transition from one to the other is going to be done at a *text muted*ish pace, Intel is in a hurry, so these new Granite Rapids-SP will arrive at the end of this year if everything goes very well with the node (again Intel 3or the old 5 nm EUV) or mid 2024 if there are delays.
Emerald Rapids will arrive in just 6 months as a minor upgrade in number of cores for those who have opted for Sapphire Rapids as a platform, and possibly with a higher RAM speed in its IMC. Focusing on the next step, Granite Rapids-SP, each Tile will house no less than 44 Cores for a maximum of 132 cores in its TOP variant, but there are rumors that it could really be 128 Cores distributed in its 3 Tileswhere one of them would have 44 Cores and the other two 42, disabling 2 per Tile.
There is talk of support for 12 channels of RAM and CXL Gen 2all focused on competing with Zen 5 and its EPYC Turin.
Based on the same principles and same architecture, as it happens with its SP version, these processors will be the successors of the Sapphire Rapids-WS, and apparently, there will be no update in between as it happens with its other variants. It will just skip from one to the other.
Here the Tiles are complete, that is, they will have 44 Cores enabled, giving a maximum core count of 88 for the most powerful version. There are also rumors that Intel could try to push the clocks higher and thus disable one Core of each Tile, resulting in 86 cores instead of 88, we’ll have to wait and see how they finally value it.
The most striking thing is that his BMI would climb up to 6 RAM channels and no 4, very much in line with what AMD plans to do with future Threadripper. There are also rumors that this could be segmented once again between 4 channels and 8 channels, depending on the processor to buy, while the mainstream indicates that Intel would end it with these so-called 6 channels, unifying the entire range and lowering manufacturing costs. .
In any case, given the three architectures, without a doubt the blue giant has put the batteries and has pressed the accelerator based on good, something it needed to do, since AMD is eating up ground by leaps and bounds.