Intel Xeon Platinum 8253 Market Positioning
Thes 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.
Intel Xeon Platinum 8253 v. Intel Alternatives
This is a hard part to place in the lineup. Not because the performance is not as expected. Indeed, performance meets what we would expect from a part with similar specs. Given Intel’s plethora of chip options, the competition a Platinum 8253 faces is largely internal.
We understand that there are application-specific CPUs. As an example, the Intel Xeon Platinum 8256 is a quad-core part, but with much higher clock speeds and larger caches. In use cases where that is important, companies are glad to have low core count high-performance chips due to software licensing costs. With 16 cores, the Platinum 8253 does not fit in that bucket.
Indeed, even the Intel Xeon Gold 6242 offers more performance in 16 cores and at a lower list price than the Platinum 8253. We even tested the Intel Xeon Gold 6242 in quad-socket configurations which means for the majority of the market, the Gold 6242 is a superior choice.
We feel that this would have been an extraordinary part if Intel made it an “M” SKU with higher memory capacity. Then it provides value over the higher clocked and lower cost Xeon Gold 6242.
Only when one needs to scale to 8-socket designs does the Platinum 8253 make sense. Even there, costs are so high that moving to a different SKU is probably a wise choice. Likewise, there is merit in staying with a lower-cost 4-socket platform and getting higher core count and clock speed parts.
Intel Xeon Platinum 8253 v. AMD EPYC Alternatives
We are publishing this review just before the AMD EPYC “Rome” next-generation CPUs will launch. As a result, our comparison data is against the 2017 AMD EPYC “Naples” generation. There, the Intel Xeon Platinum 8253 struggles due to lower clock speeds versus the AMD EPYC parts. Unless you have highly NUMA unaware workloads, the AMD EPYC 7371 is a better buy at almost half the price.
With AMD EPYC “Rome” we cannot publish performance numbers, yet, but we will simply say this. The Intel Xeon Platinum 8253 is not going to be competitive in the market, even in 4-socket designs.
The Intel Xeon Platinum 8253 is not a bad CPU. It works perfectly as intended. We are still going to call it the “worst” Xeon Platinum 8200 SKU because it is too expensive for what it delivers. Even with discounting, the Intel Xeon Gold 6242 is likely the better option at a lower list price. Intel did nothing to help themselves such as adding additional features like higher memory capacity support.
Looking ahead after the new AMD EPYC 7002 series launches, we expect the Intel Xeon Platinum 8253 will need 75-80% discounts to be competitive in the market, perhaps more when platform costs and NUMA domain proliferation is included.