Intel Xeon Gold 6240R Benchmarks and Review


Intel Xeon Gold 6240R Market Positioning

These chips are not released in a vacuum instead, they have competition on both the Intel and AMD sides. When you purchase a server and select a CPU, it is important to see the value of a platform versus its competitors. We are going to first discuss Intel v. AMD competition then look to Intel Xeon v. Intel Xeon.

Intel Xeon Gold 6240R v. AMD EPYC

We are going to exclude the Frequency Optimized EPYC and Intel Xeon parts here since the Xeon Gold 6240R is not designed for that market. Here we have the main segments of the AMD EPYC and 2nd Generation Intel Xeon Scalable processors on a $(USD) List per core basis:

AMD EPYC 7002 V 2nd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable Gold 6240R
AMD EPYC 7002 V 2nd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable Gold 6240R

With the price change from the $2445 to $2200, the price per core went from over $100 to just over $90. That is still a long way away from the two closest AMD EPYC competitors the EPYC 7452 and EPYC 7402. Here, the EPYC 7402 offers more performance with the same 24-core count. The AMD EPYC 7452 offers slightly lower pricing but more performance due to its 33% core count bump to 32 cores. Platform costs and deal-specific pricing may make the pricing deltas moot, but based on our testing these CPUs are more competitive in the $1500 range against the EPYC competition than even the $2200 range.

AMD offers a larger memory footprint with up to 4TB in 8-channel DDR4-3200 versus 1TB in 6-channel DDR4-2933. AMD has more PCIe I/O with 64, 96, or 128 PCIe Gen4 lanes per socket compared to Intel’s 48x PCIe Gen3 lanes. Intel has features such as AVX-512 and VNNI instructions (DL Boost) that AMD does not have but are new for 2nd Generation Intel Xeon Scalable. Perhaps the biggest feature Intel has is Optane DCPMM support. We should note here that DCPMM support is limited by memory capacity since the Gold 6240R is not an “L” SKU. Still, if one wants fast storage, DCPMM is a significant option that AMD does not have. If you are not using small DCPMM footprints, nor the new instructions, then AMD is extremely competitive.

To us, it would be very hard to recommend the Gold 6240R over the EPYC 7452 or EPYC 7402 given the list pricing. Intel has a broad portfolio, albeit smaller with SK hynix Acquiring the Intel NAND Storage Business. As a result, we are only looking at CPUs here not deal priced platforms so there is some margin to play with. Also, given the 2nd Gen Xeon platforms are an aging generation of technology still with only PCIe Gen3 support, an advantage is that components such as motherboards, risers, and cables for these Xeon systems are a bit less expensive. The cost of that, of course, is the PCIe Gen4 expansion the EPYCs have, but if cost is a major motivator, that is a benefit.

Intel Xeon Gold 6240R v. Intel Xeon

Intel made a strong competitive move in early 2020 with the Big 2nd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable Refresh altering the competitive landscape. Intel effectively dropped prices across most of its mainstream CPUs.

The challenge here is defining the Intel competition even with the Xeon Refresh. The Xeon Gold 6240R is only around $700 less at list pricing than the Gold 6248R. If software license costs are significant, then the Gold 6248R is a better buy since the list price delta and power delta will be offset by much higher software license costs.

If one truly does not need more performance and is instead focused on cost optimization, then the lower-clocked and lower-power Intel Xeon Gold 5220R starts to make more sense.

We do think that the Xeon Platinum 8260 effectively becomes a tough sell with the Gold 6240R. For high-end 3x UPI link systems, it will make more sense to upgrade to higher-end SKUs and push for per-deal pricing.

This is the challenge for the Intel Xeon Gold 6240R. It is a higher core count SKU with 24 cores at a time when Intel has a maximum of 28 cores per socket. The lower clock and power consumption make it not necessarily the best per-core performance, nor the lowest price per core. As a result, this is trying to hit a sweet spot in the Xeon range for those customers who do not want to take advantage of the lower pricing and better performance from AMD EPYC SKUs in this range.

Final Words

With the recent, and stark, Intel DCG Enterprise segment miss where revenue was down 47%, and in contrast, AMD EPYC share is rising, perhaps the market has already figured this out. The Intel Xeon Gold 6240R is still a great chip. If it was released in 2017 or early 2019 (which one can argue it was with the Platinum 8260), then this would be a killer offering. Instead, as we have seen with the next-generation Intel Xeon Ice Lake CPUs getting delayed, these are SKUs thoroughly caught in the dynamics of the 2021 Intel Ice Pickle.

In Q4 2020 or Q1 2021 if you are a STH reader and the Xeon Gold 6240R is in your configuration, our best advice is to push for significant discounts. All of the systems vendors and both AMD and Intel know the competitive situation the Xeon Gold 6240R finds itself in. These are actually nice CPUs if you are in the market for this sweet spot, however, if you are reading STH you should now be aware of what to discuss in terms of alternative configurations to minimize your TCO with these systems.


  1. Dear Patrick,

    I recently read intel divested their infiniband competitor to a enthusiastic new owner and I still cannot ever remember what it’s called from the first pressers till today and I’m going back of random imaginary network company show booths banging my drum about Cray Slingshot “take my money “ is the only thing my deranged avatar demands.

    Also Fungible needs one expansion slot for my P4 accelerator in which they only need to offer their own cards so long as I get a good quantity of hard cores for P4 ASTs and FORTH like variable registers and optional hard core chessboards (my conception of a nobody in this domain it merely helps me remember the freedom of movement in chess is a good principle for FPGA resource allocation… incidentally I’m convinced that this field is being taught very badly I mean actively contributing to failures in the industry almost as if a spiteful or afraid market participant had been able to infuse all of academia and the entire FPGA world with sabotaging subtle misunderstandings


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.