Intel Xeon Follows AMD EPYC Lead Offering Discounted 1P Only SKUs

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Intel Xeon CLX U Series AMD EPYC Competition Cover
Intel Xeon CLX U Series AMD EPYC Competition Cover

AMD EPYC has been leading the way with its push to show that single processor servers are now a viable alternative. It has an entire “P” series of processors designed to take advantage of this trend. We covered this in AMD EPYC’s Extraordinarily Aggressive Single Socket Mainstream Pricing back in 2017. When Intel briefed the press and sent STH as well as other outlets its SKU list it left a series of processors out. Intel is feeling the pressure from AMD EPYC competition and is launching a series of “U” processors that do not have UPI links and are therefore single socket only parts.

Intel Xeon Gold “U” Series 1P Only SKUs

Checking the Intel ARK list of Intel Xeon Scalable SKUs, one sees a large list of processors. Some we benchmarked in our original 2nd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable Launch Details and Analysis and we discussed in our Second Generation Intel Xeon Scalable SKU List and Value Analysis piece. Here is the listing for the 2nd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processor family on Intel ARK. You will notice that as of April 12, 2019, there are 58 entries. These largely align to Intel’s SKU convention that it published:

Second Generation Intel Xeon Scalable Processors Decoder Ring
Second Generation Intel Xeon Scalable Processors Decoder Ring

At STH, we have learned that Intel is going to be selling U-series Intel Xeon Gold CPUs for the single socket only market to address competition from AMD EPYC. We have learned of two SKUs, potentially more SKUs coming. Thus far, we have confirmed with Intel and a major OEM that at least the three SKUs we have are valid.

Intel Xeon Gold 6212U 24 Cores At $2000

The Intel Xeon Gold 6212U will be a counterpart to the Intel Xeon Platinum 8260 with a 2.4GHz base clock speed and a 3.9GHz turbo clock. Without the UPI links, the Intel Xeon Gold 6212U will still share a 165W TDP. At $2000 for the Intel Xeon Gold 6212U, this is an enormous discount over the Intel Xeon Platinum 8260 at a $4702 list price.

As a comparison, the AMD EPYC 7551P is a 32 core part at around $2200 street price and a 2GHz base to 3GHz clock speed. Intel seems to be positioning these two chips against one another offering higher speed cores and a slightly lower price point.

Intel Xeon Gold 6210U 20 Cores at $1500

At $1500, the Intel Xeon Gold 6210U seems to be based around the Intel Xeon Gold 6248, at just under half the cost. Both are 20 core, 40 thread CPUs with a 2.5GHz base and 3.9GHz turbo clock with 150W TDP.

Intel Xeon Gold 6209U 20 Cores at Around $1000

We do not have exact pricing for this, but we have been told that they should hit in the $1000-$1100 range. Intel Xeon Gold 6209U CPUs mirror the feature set of the Intel Xeon Gold 6230 CPUs with a 2.1GHz base and 3.9GHz turbo clock. Like the Intel Xeon Gold 6230, the Intel Xeon Gold 6209U also features a 125W TDP.

The AMD EPYC 7401P is a 24 core part also with a 2GHz base and 3GHz turbo range, and a higher TDP. This comes in at around $1050 street, although we have been buying them for the STH lab at much lower prices.

Intel is Attacking One of AMD’s Key Value Differentiators

Just to put this in some perspective, here are the dual socket numbers we already published in our launch piece. The Linux Kernel Compile benchmark we use scales well from 1P to 2P in this range.

Intel Xeon Scalable 2P Linux Kernel Compile Benchmark Comparison
Intel Xeon Scalable 2P Linux Kernel Compile Benchmark Comparison

Using the Intel Xeon Platinum 8260 to AMD EPYC 7551 numbers as well as the Intel Xeon Gold 6230 to AMD EPYC 7401 figures, Intel is going to offer leading performance at both ends of the spectrum with its U parts over the AMD “P”-series. John on the STH team has single socket numbers coming next week that will confirm this.

Final Words

We have also confirmed that the SKUs will both support up to 1TB of DDR4-2933 as well as Intel Optane DCPMM. Dual port FMA AVX-512 support will also be included, making them just like the Platinum/ Gold parts that the U series mirrors, save for the scalability brought with

AMD still holds a clear benefit. Its single socket CPUs have more than twice the PCIe connectivity of a single Intel Xeon Gold U series CPU. For form factors like popular 1U 10x NVMe (plus NICs) or 2U 24x NVMe (plus NIC), the AMD EPYC solution still has a clear benefit.

At the same time, Intel did not publicly push this information to the press during its April 2, 2019 launch event in San Francisco. It did not pre-brief the press on this line of AMD-competitive Xeon U series SKUs. Our sense is that these chips may be designed for OEMs like HPE and Dell EMC to use when a customer is pricing “P” series AMD parts against Intel Xeon. We covered what Intel had to do using the Intel Xeon Gold 6100 series in Intel is Serving Major Xeon Discounts to Combat AMD EPYC. This seems to be a direct competitive response to lower the number of “Meet Comps” that Intel and its partners have been going through.

This is what competition looks like, finally.

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Patrick has been running STH since 2009 and covers a wide variety of SME, SMB, and SOHO IT topics. Patrick is a consultant in the technology industry and has worked with numerous large hardware and storage vendors in the Silicon Valley. The goal of STH is simply to help users find some information about server, storage and networking, building blocks. If you have any helpful information please feel free to post on the forums.

11 COMMENTS

  1. EPYC 7XX1P would also hold a memory bandwidth advantage with 8 channels of DDR4-2666 vs 6 channels of DDR4-2933. But maybe if a particular workload had a memory bandwidth bottleneck, it may make more sense to use two processors…

    The naming of these processors is confusing. How does a single processor Gold 6230 get renamed Gold 6209U? It would make more sense to call it 6230U. The same goes for the other SKUs. I guess somebody in marketing decided that these needed to be positioned below the non-U chips.

  2. There’s also no direct match to 7351P for core-based software licensing. Maybe the higher-clocked parts are a better match there??

  3. @Misha Engel
    Eventually 2nd gen Xeon Scalable will have to compete with 2nd gen EPYC, but for now only first gen EPYC is in the market. We were purchasing Dell servers early last year. I would have loved to get some 6415 or 7415s with EPYC CPUs, but Dell didn’t release them until much later, so we were forced to get dual processor Intel systems.

    Intel earned our sale purely based on timing and availability. I doubt we were alone.

  4. @KarelG Yes…been looking at this board and if i can get one of these “U” series xeon chips, it seals the deal.
    Thank you AMD Epyc for better competition than ARM, IBM and all those other has beens!!
    This Epyc Rome version better be great so that Intel is forced to really start lowering their prices…

  5. I will definitely buy one of those. People have to remember that Current generation AMD CPUs are really more like a four socket system on a single chip.

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