Intel has been doing well in the client segment, as both Alder Lake and Raptor Lake offer strong options to both gamers and content creators. Its data center business, however, isn’t even making money anymore. Last quarter, Team Blue’s Xeons brought in almost zero effective revenue, a stark contrast to AMD’s strong server revenue.
Intel’s latest Xeon Sapphire Rapids lineup was released over a year later than expected and couldn’t match up to AMD’s Epyc Genoa family. For the first time, Team Blue is losing to AMD in AVX-512 workloads while drawing the same amount of power and costing substantially more. With Genoa-X and Bergamo (Zen 4c) launching in the coming months, things are looking rather dire for Intel.
As Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger noted in the past, AMD will gain server share during the first couple of years of his tenure. However, as newer Xeon designs based on advanced process nodes are rolled out, the playing field should level. Moore’s Law is Dead believes that Sierra Forest and Granite Rapids will be the first true counter to the latest Epyc offerings.
Like Bergamo, Sierra Forest will be a cloud-oriented architecture leveraging the low-power or efficiency “Crestmont” cores. While the former packs 128 cores, Intel’s first high-density lineup will pack as many as 334 cores per socket. We’re looking at a chiplet design consisting of four 86-core dies. There’s mention of a 528-core variant (cut down to 512 for yields), but honestly, I don’t see it happening.
There will be a notable difference between AMD and Intel’s cloud offerings. While the Zen 4c cores powering Bergamo are simply Zen 4 with less LLC, the Crestmont cores on Sierra Forest leverage a fairly different architecture. The former supports AVX512, and all the other instructions are included with Genoa and Milan, while the latter lacks the same.
Additionally, while Epyc Genoa and Bergamo utilize the same SP6 socket, Xeon Granite Rapids and Sierra Forest will likely be based on different socket designs. One aspect both Xeons share is the manufacturing process. They’ll be fabbed on the Intel 3 process node with a targeted launch in 2024.
Moving to the high-performance Xeon Granite Rapids-SP family, we’re once again looking at a radical increase in core counts. From just (up to) 60 cores on Sapphire Rapids, Granite will offer up to 132 cores across four 44-core tiles. It’ll follow Emerald Rapids (SPR refresh) in 2024 and go up against AMD’s Zen 5 Epyc designs. There is a good chance that the final retail versions will reduce the counts to 128 for better yield margins.
Granite Rapids is expected to be an upgrade on the same scale as Sapphire. The Redwood Cove cores powering it will offer a 15%+ IPC gain over Golden Cove with a 12-channel DDR5 memory controller, and more. It will also adopt advanced packaging technologies including Foveros, EMIB, and a separate I/O die fabbed on TSMC’s 5nm/6nm process.
Source: Moore’s Law is Dead