Today we have the official announcement of the Intel Xeon Processor Scalable Family. That is the overall branding given to the next generation 2, 4 and 8(+) socket Intel Xeon family that we expect to be formally launched in Q3 2017. We have already seen the Intel Gold and Platinum model list through an Intel Product Change Notification.
New Intel Xeon Processor Scalable Family: Xeon Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze
There are two major changes we can talk a bit about today: what happens to the E5 and E7 lines and feature differentiation.
First, the Intel Xeon E5 and E7 lines will essentially merge into this new structure. As we have seen the E7 line transition to a similar pin count as the E5 generation, the convergence makes sense. In fact, the Intel Xeon E5 V4 and Intel Xeon E7 V4 CPUs share more under the hood than many realize. This change has been coming for some time.
Second, there is going to be a SKU hierarchy for features. We have already seen this happen in other lines. For example, the Intel Atom C2xx8 chips were essentially Intel Atom C2xx0 chips with QuickAssist support. Likewise, Intel Xeon Phi x200 chips can have Omni-Path. Intel Xeon Phi 72xxF parts have the interconnect while 72xx parts do not. Similarly, we expect that there are going to be SKUs enabled with features like QuickAssist, Omni-Path, Optane DIMM support, and etc. We expect these higher-end features to reside in the Intel Xeon Gold and Platinum SKUs.
Next-gen QAT and Omni-Path will be optional integrated features starting with the Intel Xeon Scalable Processor Family. We also expect Intel to limit future technologies like the Intel Optane DIMMs to specific SKUs.
We had an opportunity to ask the company about the models but were told there are no major new announcements at this time.
The new Intel Xeon Processor Scalable Family is coming. We are moving from generations of model numbering stability to the precious metal era of Intel Xeon Platinum, Gold, Silver, Bronze.
In terms of the ecosystem, the new SKUs are going to have a major impact. The IT industry sales teams, as well as customers, are going to need a re-education in terms of the new naming convention. A common sales conversation in the V3/ V4 generation was “we have been buying the E5-2650 V1, then V2, then V3, so now let us get the E5-2650 V4.” The new naming convention is disruptive in that conversation, especially as new features beyond core/ thread/ clock speed drive SKU differences.