While AMD has cornered Intel in the consumer CPU market, the server market was largely off-limits, with EPYC accounting for less than 20 percent of the server market share. Intel evidently doesn’t want a repeat show to happen with the server market, where most of its revenue comes from.
However, competition from AMD isn’t the only factor that goes into Intel’s pricing decisions. Because the server market is predominantly made up of enterprise clients, older platforms are supported and available for a considerable amount of time. Price cuts and product discontinuations don’t take place as regularly as they do in the consumer market.
Today, Intel announced the consolidation of its extended memory Xeon Scalable CPU line. Only the standard and high memory configurations will be available going forward. The high config has now been priced to match the outgoing medium config. Exactly how much memory are we talking about in these server configurations, though? The “standard” memory configuration goes up to 1.5 TB (!?) of RAM, while the “high” is in excess of 4.5 TB.
|Memory Support||Markup Before Cuts||Markup After Cuts|
|M-Series (Medium Memory Support)||2 TB||$3,003||Discontinued|
|L-Series (Large Memory Support)||4.5 TB||$7,897||$3,003|
The now redundant “medium” config was for 2 TB. If these seem like absurdly high quantities of memory, it’s for good reason: Servers have to run hundreds or thousands of instances of applications for users, each of whom will need a significant chunk of RAM. While processing cycles can be shared using time slicing, memory needs to be dedicated for longer time intervals, and the amount you need can very quickly add up.
The price cut itself is fairly significant. The high config formerly cost $7000 in excess of the cost of the server. Now, it costs just $3000, the same as the outgoing medium config.
Does this have anything to do with AMD and EYPC? Well, yes and no. We see this largely as Intel rearranging its existing product stack and perhaps shelving the medium offering because it just wasn’t well received. However, it makes sense to view any competitive decision Team Blue takes, especially in the critical server market, through the lens of pre-empting AMD competition.