Intel has finally launched its flagship Xeon W-3175X processor with 28 Cores and 56 threads, which was first announced at Computex in June 2018 in order to take on AMD’s 32-core Ryzen Threadripper 2950WX. Intel famously claimed that its then-unnamed upcoming 28-core CPU would run at 5GHz, but it soon emerged that the unit demonstrated on stage had been overclocked using an enormous industrial cooler. Further details, including the fact that this CPU would be sold as a Xeon workstation part, were announced along with the launch of the Core i9-9900K in October last year. At the time, Intel had said the Xeon W-3175X would ship in December 2018.
The impressive new chip is aimed at professional-grade content creators with heavily multi-threaded workloads such as industrial design, game development, or cinema-quality video and effects rendering. The Xeon W-3175X offers the highest core count, memory capacity, and PCIe bandwidth of any Intel desktop CPU. As the X in the model name indicates, this is an unlocked and fully overclockable CPU, which is unusual for the Xeon family.
The Xeon W-3175X has a base frequency of 3.1GHz across all cores, and a maximum single-core turbo boost speed of 4.3GHz. There’s 38.5MB of cache memory, and up to 68 PCIe 3.0 lanes are supported (48 off the CPU and 20 off the required C621 chipset). PCs with this CPU can officially be equipped with up to 512GB of ECC-enabled DDR4-2666 RAM spread across six channels.
This new CPU is based on the Skylake-SP architecture used in Intel’s Xeon Scalable processor family, which is related to the Skylake-X architecture used in Intel’s Core X-series family for high-performance desktops. Intel says its mesh architecture allows low-latency data transactions between all cores, the cache, memory controllers, and external IO. Support for AVX-512 extensions should help accelerate tasks such as mathematical modelling and analysis, and cryptography.
Although this is a Xeon CPU, it will only work in single-socket configurations, but uses the workstation-grade LGA3647 socket on motherboards with the C621 chipset. The rated TDP is 255W. Intel will be hoping to take on the 32-core, 64-thread AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2950WX, and is promising superior single-threaded as well as multi-threaded performance.
Intel has announced a recommended consumer price of $2,999 (approximately Rs. 2,10,377) per unit. Availability and pricing in India have yet to be announced. It will be sold in prebuilt desktop workstations from system integrators, though Intel has not provided specific names, dates, or regions.
The first compatible motherboard to be announced, the Asus ROG Dominus Extreme, is targeted at enthusiasts and overclockers, with a 32-phase power design and four fans to cool the VRMs. It also features two 24-pin ATX power connectors, plus four additional 8-pin and two 6-pin PCIe power inputs for stable overclocking. There are four PCIe x16 slots, each with a full 16 lanes of bandwidth, two U.2 ports for server-grade SSDs, and four M.2 slots using riser cards. A 1.77-inch OLED screen shows diagnostic information, and of course there’s Asus’ Aura Sync RGB LED lighting.
For cooling, Intel has worked with Asetek to launch a custom all-in-one liquid cooler (sold separately) which is claimed to support overclocking.