Pressure from AMD’s EPYC Rome and upcoming EPYC Milan server CPUs appear to have had an impact on Intel: Today, Team Blue announced a major revamp of its 2nd-gen Cascade Lake Intel Xeon scalable lineup. We’re looking at as many as 18 new SKUs, starting at $213 for the 6-core, 1.9 GHz Xeon Bronze 3204 and going all the way up to the 28-core 2.7 GHz Xeon Gold 6258 at $3950.
Intel describes these new SKUs as being “performance-per-dollar-optimized.” This is as clear an indication as we’ve had till date that Intel is taking steps to shore up its server business to face the coming AMD EPYC Milan onslaught.
The questions arise, though, are these truly new parts? And, much like with the rest of Intel’s consumer and enterprise lineups over the past two years, the answer is, unfortunately, no. Intel sees the new parts as being new members of its existing Cascade Lake Xeon family. Intel suffixes most of the new parts with an “R” for refresh, indicating better price-performance compared to existing 2nd-gen Cascade Lake Xeon parts.
What are the major changes we’re looking at? Compared to their predecessors, most (but not all) the refreshed Cascade Lake SKUs feature increased base and boost clocks, a higher TDP, more L3 cache, and (in some cases) more cores. The Xeon Gold lineup gets the biggest uplift in terms of the price-performance ratio. The Xeon Gold 6448R, for instance, features 24 cores running at a 3 GHz base clock. At $2,700, it sells for $300 less than the $3,072 Xeon Gold 6248, despite offering higher clocks, 8.25 MB more L3, and four extra cores.
The biggest shakeup comes in the form of the Xeon Gold 6238R. This is a $2,612 part that offers the same specs as the $8,719 Xeon Platinum 8216, with the caveat of not featuring support for 8 sockets.
All in all, Intel is looking to make its Cascade Lake Xeon lineup more appealing as they prep for AMD’s 2020 plans with EPYC Milan. The server market’s about to get interesting again.