Sierra Forest In 2024 Aiming For 334+ Cores, Granite Rapids-SP Up To 132, Granite Rapids-WS Up To 86 Cores

New Intel Xeon CPU rumors have been put forward by Moore’s Law is Dead which highlights the core counts of next-generation families such as Sierra Forest, Granite Rapids-SP & Granite Rapids-WS.

Intel Xeon Rumored Core Counts Point To 334+ Cores For Sierra Forest, 132 Cores For Granite Rapids-SP, 86 Cores For Granite Rapids-WS

Moore’s Law is Dead talks about three upcoming Xeon families in his latest YouTube video. These include the Granite Rapids-SP, Granite Rapids-WS, and Sierra Forest. The Granite Rapids Xeon CPU family will make use of P-Cores while the Sierra Forest is optimized for compute density and makes use of E-Cores.

Intel Sierra Forest – Zen Compute Competitor With 334+ Cores

So starting with the Sierra Forest family, these Xeon CPUs will be power & performance optimized to support high-density, ultra-efficient compute for the cloud. According to MLID, the Sierra Forest Xeon chips will house at least 344 cores which will be packed within 4 Compute Tiles, and each tile would pack 86 cores. The rumors also point to an even higher core count variant in the form of the 528 core variant which could pack up to 132 cores per tile but will more realistically get 512 cores as one cluster would be disabled.

It is a given at this point that Intel wants to compete against all AMD offerings. While the standard Scalable family competes against the main EPYC opponents, Sierra Forest will be competing with a range of compute-optimized EPYC parts such as the upcoming Bergamo with 128 Zen 4C cores and Falcon Shores will be competing against the custom Instinct APU accelerators which will start with the upcoming MI300 accelerator coming later this year. The Intel Sierra Forest family is expected to land in 2024 and will utilize the ‘Intel 3’ process node.

Intel Granite Rapids-SP – Up To 132 Cores Against Zen 5 EPYC

With its 6th Gen Granite Rapids-SP Xeon scalable family, Intel is expected to make big changes to its lineup. As of right now, Intel has confirmed that its Granite Rapids-SP Xeon CPUs will be based on the ‘Intel 3’ process node (Formally 5nm EUV). The lineup is expected to launch sometime between 2023 and 2024 as Emerald Rapids will be serving as an intermediary solution & not a proper Xeon family replacement.

Intel Granite Rapids-SP Xeon CPUs are rumored to feature up to 132 cores. (Image Credits: Moore’s Law is Dead)

It is stated that Granite Rapids-SP Xeon chips will utilize the Redwood Cove+ core architecture and feature increased IPC which is rumored to be anywhere between 15-25%. Intel did tease a high-level overview of its Granite Rapids-SP CPU during its ‘Accelerated’ keynote which featured three tiles for compute and two I/O dies at the top and sections of the interposer. As per MLID, each of these tiles can pack up to 44 cores for up to 132 cores but the actual core count will fall back to 128 cores for a better yield.

On Intel 4, we are progressing towards a high-volume manufacturing and will tape out the production stepping at Meteor Lake in Q4. The first stepping of Granite Rapids is out of the fab, yielding well with Intel 3 continuing to progress on schedule. Intel 4 and 3 are our first nodes deploying EUV and will represent a major step forward in terms of transistor performance per watt and density.

Intel CEO, Pat Gelsinger (Q3 2022 Earnings Call)

As for the platform, the Intel Granite Rapids-SP Xeon CPUs will rock a 12-channel DDR5 controller, several PCIe Gen 5 lanes, and CXL Gen 2 support, and are expected to target 1H of 2024 for launch and compete with AMD’s Zen 5 Turin line of EPYC chips.

Next-Gen Intel Xeon vs AMD EPYC Generational CPU Comparison (Preliminary):

CPU Name Process Node / Architecture Cores / Threads Cache DDR Memory / Speed ​​/ Capacities PCIe Gen / Lanes TDPs Platform Launch
Intel Diamond Rapids Intel 3 / Lion Cove? 144 / 288? 288 MB L3? DDR5-7200 / 4 TB? PCIe Gen 6.0 / 128? Up To 425W Mountain stream 2025?
AMD EPYC Turin 3nm / Zen 5 256 / 512? 1024 MB L3? DDR5-6000 / 8 TB? PCIe Gen 6.0 / TBD Up To 600W SP5 2024-2025?
Intel Granite Rapids Intel 3 / Redwood Cove 132 / 264 240 MB L3? DDR5-6400 / 4 TB? PCIe Gen 5.0 / 128? Up To 400W Mountain stream 2024?
AMD EPYC Bergamo 5nm / Zen 4C 128 / 256 512 MB L3? DDR5-5600 / 6 TB? PCIe Gen 5.0 / TBD? Up To 400W SP5 2023
Intel Emerald Rapids Intel 7 / Raptor Cove 64 / 128? 120 MB L3? DDR5-5200 / 4 TB? PCIe Gen 5.0 / 80 Up To 375W Eagle Stream 2023
Intel Sapphire Rapids Intel 7 / Golden Cove 56 / 112 105 MB L3 DDR5-4800 / 4 TB PCIe Gen 5.0 / 80 Up To 350W Eagle Stream 2023
AMD EPYC Genoa 5nm / Zen 4 96 / 192 384 MB L3? DDR5-5200 / 4 TB? PCIe Gen 5.0 / 128 Up To 400W SP5 2022

Intel Granite Rapids-WS – Up To 86 Cores Against Zen 5 Threadripper

Finally, the rumors talk about Intel’s successor to the Sapphire Rapids-WS (Workstation) lineup. The family will be based upon the Granite Rapids DNA and utilize two of the three titles for a maximum of 88 cores although only 86 cores are said to be available or even lower. Just like AMD’s Threadripper CPU family, the Granite Rapids-WS family will feature a single I/O die. For memory, the workstation CPUs might scale back to a 6-channel DDR5 memory controller. The upcoming Sapphire Rapids-WS CPUs are expected to feature both 4-channel and 8-channel memory support but if that would allow Intel to unify its entire lineup on one platform then I guess that would be a good thing for everyone.

Intel’s Sapphire Rapids-WS successor can get a 43% increase in core count. (Image Credits: Moore’s Law is Dead)

Should 86 cores be enough against Threadripper remains to be seen because AMD is expected to introduce its Threadripper 7000 CPUs this year with an insane 96 core SKU so Intel’s next-gen with 86 cores might already look lackluster but the blue team might have an edge in terms of IPC, that is unless AMD wants to release Zen 5 next year.

Overall, all of this is a rumor for now but it does show that Intel is getting the hang of things in the server and workstation landscape with its future releases. Now it remains to be seen whether they can execute their plans effectively and not stumble into further delays as they did with Sapphire Rapids.

Intel Xeon SP Families (Preliminary):

Family Branding Skylake-SP Cascade Lake-SP/AP Cooper Lake-SP Ice Lake-SP Sapphire Rapids Emerald Rapids Granite Rapids Diamond Rapids
Process Node 14nm+ 14nm++ 14nm++ 10nm+ Intel 7 Intel 7 Intel 3 Intel 3?
Platform Name Intel Purley Intel Purley Intel Cedar Island Intel Whitley Intel Eagle Stream Intel Eagle Stream Intel Mountain Stream
Intel Birch Stream
Intel Mountain Stream
Intel Birch Stream
Core Architecture Skylake Cascade Lake Cascade Lake Sunny Cove Golden Cove Raptor Cove Redwood Cove+? Lion Cove?
IPC Improvement (Vs Prev Gen) 10% 0% 0% 20% 19% 8%? 35%? 39%?
MCP (Multi-Chip Package) SKUs no Yes no no Yes Yes TBD (Possibly Yes) TBD (Possibly Yes)
Socket LGA 3647 LGA 3647 LGA 4189 LGA 4189 LGA 4677 LGA 4677 TBD TBD
Max Core Count Up to 28 Up to 28 Up to 28 Up to 40 Up to 56 Up To 64? Up To 132? Up To 144?
Max Thread Count Up to 56 Up to 56 Up to 56 Up to 80 Up to 112 Up To 128? Up To 264? Up To 288?
Max L3 Cache 38.5 MB L3 38.5 MB L3 38.5 MB L3 60 MB L3 105 MB L3 120 MB L3? 240 MB L3? 288 MB L3?
Vector Engines AVX-512/FMA2 AVX-512/FMA2 AVX-512/FMA2 AVX-512/FMA2 AVX-512/FMA2 AVX-512/FMA2 AVX-1024/FMA3? AVX-1024/FMA3?
Memory Support DDR4-2666 6-Channel DDR4-2933 6-Channel Up To 6-Channel DDR4-3200 Up To 8-Channel DDR4-3200 Up To 8-Channel DDR5-4800 Up To 8-Channel DDR5-5600? Up To 12-Channel DDR5-6400? Up To 12-Channel DDR6-7200?
PCIe Gen Support PCIe 3.0 (48 Lanes) PCIe 3.0 (48 Lanes) PCIe 3.0 (48 Lanes) PCIe 4.0 (64 Lanes) PCIe 5.0 (80 lanes) PCIe 5.0 (80 Lanes) PCIe 6.0 (128 Lanes)? PCIe 6.0 (128 Lanes)?
TDP Range (PL1) 140W-205W 165W-205W 150W-250W 105-270W Up To 350W Up To 375W? Up To 400W? Up To 425W?
3D Xpoint Optane DIMM N/A Apache Pass Barlow Pass Barlow Pass Crow Pass Crow Pass? Donahue Pass? Donahue Pass?
Competition AMD EPYC Naples 14nm AMD EPYC Rome 7nm AMD EPYC Rome 7nm AMD EPYC Milan 7nm+ AMD EPYC Genoa ~5nm AMD EPYC Bergamo AMD EPYC Turin AMD EPYC Venice
Launch 2017 2018 2020 2021 2022 2023? 2024? 2025?

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