The Intel Xeon W-3300 series is out, and it is certainly something to get excited about. Intel has had 28 core processors for some time but with this generation, we get a host of new features along with the potential for higher core counts. With the new parts, we get the Ice Lake generation features for the high-end workstation market.
Intel Xeon W-3300 Series Launched
There are five new Xeon W-3300 series SKUs, but first, let us discuss the key points on what is growing at a platform level.
- 8-channel DDR4-3200 support up from 6-channel DDR4-2933 support ECC memory
- Support for up to 4TB of memory
- High-memory SKU pricing requirement removed
- PCIe Gen4 Support
- 64x PCIe Gen4 lanes versus 48x PCIe Gen3 lanes
- New DLBoost for AI Inference
Chipset/ Platform Support
- Updated chipset to the Intel C621A that is shared with the Ice Lake Xeon series
- Higher TDP up to 270W
- Wider range of cores supported in the socket
Overall, we get a host of new features that were not present in the previous generation Cascade Lake. This is still a monolithic die design and may be the last we see in this segment from Intel. You can read our piece Intel Xeon Ice Lake Edition Marks the Start and End of an Era with a video here where you can learn more about the new Ice Lake generation of processors:
This is effectively the equivalent of an Ice lake server CPU and Intel generally maintains parity with the server and high-end professional workstation parts.
As a quick note here, these are not Intel’s only single-socket-only Ice Lake server CPUs. Intel also has a “U” series which we reviewed and compared to AMD’s offering here: Intel Xeon Gold 6314U v AMD EPYC 7543P the 1S 32-core Options with a video here:
The Intel Xeon W-3365 is a significantly higher clock speed/ TDP part than the Gold 6314U but also at a higher cost. What may be interesting is for VMware 32-core/ socket or Windows licensing schemes, the new CPU could be a very solid solution to optimize core counts along with performance per core. One, of course, loses some of the benefits of having a dual-socket node by going single socket, but in some applications, this may be interesting.
Intel Xeon W-3300 SKUs
In terms of the actual SKUs, we have five new SKUs. Here is the official SKU table:
These are new LGA4189 based processors. LGA4189 has two main variants. One is for Cooper Lake Xeons launched in 2020 that are upgraded Cascade Lake processors and the other is for Ice Lake Xeons launched in 2021. We discussed a bit about the differences in our how to install LGA4189 CPUs piece, but this is an Ice Lake processor, not a Cooper Lake processor.
Just for reference, here is the Xeon W-3200 series launch table from our Intel Xeon W-3200 SKU List and Value Analysis piece.
Intel added 10 more cores to its top-end part but we should also note that the top-end clock speeds are down to 4.0GHz with the W-3300 versus the W-3200 which could turbo up to 4.4GHz. Ice Lake had an IPC uplift but saw a clock speed decrement generally.
One area that may interest many of our readers is also the Intel Xeon W-3335 and Xeon W-3323. These CPUs offer relatively high clock speeds and more TDP headroom with Ice Lake features. They also have very high base clock speeds in the 3.4-3.5GHz range with only 400-600MHz to top-end turbo clocks. Typically we see CPUs with similar profiles deployed for workloads that need high sustained performance over a lower number of cores for per-core licensing purposes.
This is one of those awkward launches for Intel. We reviewed the Lenovo ThinkStation P620 based on the AMD Threadripper Pro 64-core system as well as the AMD Ryzen Threadripper Pro 3975WX and the Threadripper Pro 3955WX solutions earlier this year. Intel is still limited to 38 cores here versus AMD at 64 cores. There are many workstation workloads that are pushing AVX-512 and DL Boost instruction support so for many Intel will have a solid option. A few months ago, AMD did not have much competition in this space. Now, Intel has a legitimate competitor across a wider range of processor options with the Xeon W-3300 series.
As a quick note here, Intel adds a lot of technologies as being supported such as WiFi 6E cards, the Optane P5800X, and so forth. These are PCIe devices so they also operate in other systems. It is part of Intel’s approach to selling platforms rather than processors.