Intel Announces Xeon-W Workstation Processors

Intel Xeon-W Workstation Processors

Intel has released news that it will launch a Xeon-W family of processors, built for the workstation class power users who need a larger core and thread count than normal desktop (i7 and i9) processors.  This seems to be a response by Intel to bridge its current offerings compared to AMD's new Ryzen, Threadripper and Epyc processors.  Given that Intel pushed its normal Xeon series processors out of compatibility with X299 motherboards, this will help keep things back in alignment for workstation users needing more power.


Unlike the E5-1600 (workstation) and E5-2600 (server) series sharing socket and chipset compatiblity, Skylake-X and Xeon-W will share the same socket (LGA2066), but seems to require different chipsets.  This means another line of motherboards will be required to support the Xeon-W family of processors.  The new Xeon-W offers the same level of professional features seen in the Skylake-SP (server class) server lineup, but with the limitation of single socket and quad channel ECC memory.  This includes several features, most importantly up to 18 cores with 36 threads, AVX-512 acceleration, 512GB ECC RDIMM/LRDIMM memory, and dual 512-bit FMAs, all with higher boost clock speeds.


Xeon-W Specifications


Here is the launch model numbers and specifications you can expect on cores/threads and frequencies.


  W-2195 W-2175 W-2155 W-2145 W-2135 W-2133 W-2125 W-2123
Cores 18/36 14/28 10/20 8/16 6/12 6/12 4/8 4/8
Frequency (GHz) 2.3 N/A 3.3 3.7 3.7 3.6 4.0 3.6
Turbo (GHz) 4.3 N/A 4.5 4.5 4.5 3.9 4.5 3.9
L3 (MB) 24.75 19.25 13.75 11 8.25 8.25 8.25 8.25
TDP 140W 140W 140W 140W 140W 140W 120W 120W
Price N/A N/A $1440 USD $1113 USD $835 USD $617 USD $444 USD $294 USD


To simplify things, Intel has been launching a flurry of changes and processor families.  To confuse things further, they decided a rebranding and a renaming was needed.  We would like to break this down for everybody wondering what is what and how do we compare.  Just as it was historically, Pentium G Series, i3, i5 and i7 are all consumer grade, desktop processors for your general usage of browsing, gaming, and office use.  A new family of i9 processors launched this year which provides additional options for HEDT (High End Desktop) users which provides a middle ground between desktop and server grade features.  The i9 family, primarily provides more PCIe lanes and larger core/thread count from 10/20 up to 18/36.  The Xeon-W provides the same benefits of i9 core/thread count except it removes the limitations of pro or server grade features. Finally, in comes the Skylake-SP series which supports multiple sockets and 6 memory channels in addition to all the features Xeon-W supports.


Even trying to keep it simple, it’s confusing and can’t be said without a long winded paragraph.  Obviously we didn’t cover every detail for each processor family market but this is the basis for buying decisions and where to start.  To make things even worse, pricing is all over the place and in our opinion, seems to overlap the processor families.  For example, the chart below doesn’t seem to support the purchase of a i9-7980XE given the capabilities of the Xeon W-2195.


  i9-7980XE Xeon W-2195 Xeon 8180
Platform X299 C422 C620
Socket LGA2066 LGA2066 LGA3647
Cores/Threads 18/36 18/36 28/56
Frequency/Turbo (GHz) 2.6/4.2 2.3/4.3 2.5/3.8
PCIe Lanes 44 48 48
Memory 128GB Quad Channel 512GB Quad Channel 768GB Six Channel
TDP 165W 140W 205W
Price $1999 USD N/A $10009 USD



In comparison to the pricing and features of the new AMD Threadripper, it’s even harder to understand the options and value which Intel has.  If we tried to justify Intel pricing, they do have the history and ecosystem, but I wonder if that’s enough to command twice the price in some segments.  For a quick comparison, see the chart below which includes Xeon-W and Threadripper.  On the plus side, more buying options never hurt and Intel has made great strides to offer competition on all levels of AMD Ryzen, Threadripper and Epyc processors.


  Xeon W-1245 AMD Threadripper 1900x
Platform C422 X399
Socket LGA2066 TR4
Cores/Threads 8/16 8/16
Frequency/Turbo (GHz) 3.7/4.5 3.8/4.0
PCIe Lanes 48 60
Memory 512GB Quad Channel 1TB Quad Channel
L3 Cache 11MB 32MB
TDP 140W 180W
Price $1113 USD $549 USD



Release information for these new Xeon-W family processors has not been provided in this announcement.  Intel expects to launch the 14/18 core series of Xeon-W chips in Q4 but no real dates or expectations have been set or committed to.