It looks like Intel’s Sapphire Rapids server CPUs will debut with a new core architecture, namely Golden Cove instead of Willow Cove. This is unusual because Intel first launches newer core designs in the PC market, as was the case with Sunny and Willow Cove.
This was more or less confirmed in the above image which shows the added instruction sets for both Sapphire Rapids and Alder Lake. As you can see, both the microarchitectures share the same extensions, most notably Advanced Matrix Extensions. These are the first matrix (tensor) based instructions to be natively supported by an x86 CPU.
Since Alder Lake and Sapphire Rapids seem identical in terms of instruction support, it’s highly likely that both will be based on the Golden Cove core architecture. This new core architecture is expected to be a major update over Willow Cove which was more or less a refresh of Sunny Cove minor IPC gains.
Sapphire Rapids is going to support a slew of new standards from PCIe 5 to DDR5, CXL 1.1, and DSA. Intel has reaffirmed that this server lineup based on the 10nm Enhanced Superfin node will launch in the second half of 2021.