Intel Xeon W-1290P Power Consumption
We wanted to post a few figures from our testing that show the real selling point of the chips, low power.
- Idle Power (Performance Mode): 39W
- STH 70% Load: 144W
- STH 100% Load: 168W
- Maximum Observed Power (Performance Mode): 184W
Although the TDP does not translate directly to increased power consumption, the Intel Xeon W-1290P we cannot recommend for extremely power-constrained environments like 1A in 110V or 120V rack deployments. You will run the risk of going outside of power limits in that type of hosting. For the low-cost colocation world, you will want to look lower in the stack.
Note these results were taken using a 208V Schneider Electric / APC PDU at 17.7C and 72% RH. Our testing window shown here had a +/- 0.3C and +/- 2% RH variance. You can read more about the differences in 120V or 208V for Servers, Storage, and Network Equipment. On lower-voltage hosting, we would expect slightly higher power consumption.
Intel Xeon W-1290P Market Positioning
Intel has seven launch SKUs in the Xeon W-1200 series if we exclude the embedded options. Of these SKUs, there are two primary families, the “P” and non-“P” SKUs. The “P” series offers higher power and therefore performance. Intel also has a 35W TDP SKU, the Xeon W-1290T which would be great in something like a Lenovo ThinkStation Tiny model. Here, the Xeon W-1290P is the top-end part.
Intel has a pricing strategy that captures value from the higher power/ performance SKUs. Here is what this P-series looks like versus the standard SKUs on a $/core basis.
Looking at a basic cost metric is a bit misleading. If one simply needs a lower core count and lower performance CPU. If you want performance, you want to see how much compute capacity a chip has, and how much that performance costs. Beyond our benchmarks, we can use a cost per clock and thread metric to look at how Intel is pricing the line:
The Intel Xeon W-1290P is not the best value, but there is something very interesting here. Due to the higher TDP and clock speeds, the Xeon W-1290P can actually be thought of as a better value than the Xeon W-1290. As such, and from what we have seen from the TDP impact, we would tell our readers that unless you are extremely thermally/ power limited in your platform, the Xeon W-1290P is our pick over the Xeon W-1290.
While we can see the appeal of the Xeon W-1250P, the other side of this is that these charts are only looking at the CPU side. In the context of a full system, the price/ performance ratio will favor the higher-end parts.
When comparing to AMD EPYC and Xeon Scalable lower-end parts, the bigger impact is at a system level. With more memory channels and PCIe lanes, motherboards are more complex and those motherboards cost more. The Intel Xeon W-1200 series still allows one to utilize lower-cost platforms when we take into account costs beyond the CPU. We showed that the AMD Ryzen series has performance that can compete. AMD does not have the systems relationships in the Xeon W-1200’s segment which will limit its appeal there. Also, the Xeon W-1290P has an iGPU which is not found on the enthusiast Ryzen CPUs so there is a capability gap that will prevent OEMs from using Ryzen for the time being. AMD may close the gap, but it is there. Likewise, the Xeon W-2295 also does not have an iGPU which can be a factor in some applications.
Just to show the change in the market for the past four years pre/post the 2017 arrival of the AMD Ryzen CPU, here is the Xeon X3400, E3-1200, Xeon E-2200, and now the Xeon W-1200 series progression in this segment. For those that think that even with AMD not competing directly in this segment, that there is no impact here is the proof:
While AMD is not competing directly in the sockets of OEM professional workstations to the same degree it is on the enthusiast side, we are still seeing a benefit here. The Xeon W-1290P is derived from the Intel Core line which means that as Intel updates its Core line of CPUs to compete with AMD, we get these faster parts for the professional workstation market.
Overall, with a relatively large core count and TDP increase, we see the benefits of competition in this class of sockets. The Intel Xeon W-1290P brings an enormous generational upgrade which is hard to ignore. Some will balk at the higher TDP, but the industry trend is that chip companies across CPUs, GPUs, FPGAs, and other types of silicon are pushing TDP to increase performance. For Intel, it completely makes sense and there is even an option to de-rate the Xeon W-1290P to 95W if required. Intel has a great upgrade at the same $539 price point with these new chips.