Intel ditches Cooper Lake server refresh in the face of AMD EPYC competition

Intel is cancelling its Xeon Cooper Lake CPU lineup on the Whitley platform, even as AMD makes major inroads to the server market with its EPYC Rome and upcoming EPYC Milan and Genoa processors based on the Zen platform.

The cancellation of Cooper Lake’s Whitley variant comes as a rude surprise, even as Intel’s revenue the past quarter has been driven largely by server sales. AMD’s rapid rise in the enterprise market, with companies like Netflix experimentally replacing Xeons with their Zen-based counterparts, was written off as a long-term concern: Intel, after all maintains over 90 percent of the server market. However, the narrowing of the 14nm Cooper Lake lineup indicates that AMD’s moves in the space have had a tangible impact on Intel’s plans. As far back as Intel’s Q3 2018 roadmap, the plan had been for Team Blue to release an integrated server platform called Whitley that supported both 14nm Cooper Lake servers in the mainstream and high performance 10nm Ice Lake parts, in both 4 and 8-socketed configurations. Prior to Whitley, Cooper Lake parts would arrive on Cedar Island, and Cooper Island on Whitley was meant to introduce the market to the new platform before Ice Lake Whitley models arrived.

It now appears as though Cooper Lake products will only launch with support for the Cedar Island platform. Intel claims that it will have 10nm Ice Lake CPUs out on the market later this year. In that case, Ice Lake server parts will launch the Whitley platform instead.

What this means is that Intel, which likely lost a degree of confidence in the staying power of its 14nm server parts in 2020, decided to cut Cooper Lake’s life short, with just one Cooper Lake generation and not two. While the official line is that Ice Lake parts are expected by year’s end, we’re interested to see how this pans out, especially with Intel’s ongoing 10nm woes and the impending arrival of EPYC Milan and Genoa.


Penguin-published author, and journalist. Loves PC hardware but has terrible hand-eye coordination. Most likely to be found playing Total War or watching weird Russian sitcoms.
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