Monday, October 15th 2018

Intel Xeon W-3175X to Lack STIM, Retain Thermal Paste for IHS

Soldered thermal interface material, or STIM, has been one of Intel's key feature-additions to its high-end 9th generation Core i7 and Core i9 processors. Besides higher clock-speeds, STIM is the only feature that sets its refreshed Core X 9000-series family apart from Core X 7000-series. STIM is also only given to the i9-9900K and i7-9700K in the mainstream-desktop space. The 28-core Xeon W-3175X was touted by Intel to be a high-end desktop (HEDT) processor initially, before Intel decided to retain the Xeon brand and target the gray-area between HEDTs and workstations. This also means that the W-3175X will lack STIM, as confirmed by an Intel spokesperson in an interview with PC World.

Soldered TIM is preferred by PC enthusiasts as it offers superior heat-transfer between the CPU die and the integrated heatspreader. Intel's decision to equip the Core X 9000-series and higher-end Coffee Lake-Refresh parts with it, is aimed at improving the thermals and overclocking headrooms of its products. The lack of STIM for the W-3175X speaks for its intended use-case - a workstation processor that can be overclocked, provided it's de-lidded and cooled by exotic methods such as liquid nitrogen evaporators. Intel's branding decisions could be guided by AMD's decision to side-brand its 24-core and 32-core Ryzen Threadripper processors as "WX," which focuses on their workstation proficiency while slightly toning down their PC enthusiast appeal.
Sources: OC3D.net, PCWorld (YouTube)
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19 Comments on Intel Xeon W-3175X to Lack STIM, Retain Thermal Paste for IHS

#1
R0H1T
What a sham, first no STIM on SKL-X then a revised lineup with one :shadedshu:

Now an unlocked Xeon, which was supposed to be HEDT, without STIM :twitch:

Are they gonna release another updated part with solder next year & charge 10k for that :roll:
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#2
ArbitraryAffection
So, $4K+ for sure, less cores (don't tell me about how these cores are stronger), less CPU I/O and using cheap paste under the lid (again). Way to go, Intel, there is literally no reason not to solder these huge dies except for cost-cutting. Well at least it has hexa-channel memory and AVX512 support, right?

It'll be so expensive it simply will not compete with 2990WX, at all. People who are going to buy this would've bought Intel anyway. shrug
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#3
Sihastru
Well, there is that pesky problem with the 2990WX, where half of the cores can't directly access any of the system memory at all. Monolithic designs do have some advantages.
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#4
TheGuruStud
Sihastru, post: 3923325, member: 69811"
Well, there is that pesky problem with the 2990WX, where half of the cores can't directly access any of the system memory at all. Monolithic designs do have some advantages.
I think I'd rather build two or three 2950s for the same price lol

And without exotic cooling/OC/even more power consumption the 28 core is just gonna throttle nonstop and won't provide better performance than 2990 in most cases, but is still expensive.
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#5
Gungar
Sihastru, post: 3923325, member: 69811"
Well, there is that pesky problem with the 2990WX, where half of the cores can't directly access any of the system memory at all. Monolithic designs do have some advantages.
Monolithic designs have all the advantages except pricing.
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#6
lexluthermiester
Sihastru, post: 3923325, member: 69811"
Well, there is that pesky problem with the 2990WX, where half of the cores can't directly access any of the system memory at all. Monolithic designs do have some advantages.
Citation please?
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#7
SetsunaFZero
R0H1T, post: 3923311, member: 131092"
Are they gonna release another updated part with solder next year & charge 10k for that :roll:
its Intel we are talking about, you already know the answer. o_O
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#8
TheGuruStud
lexluthermiester, post: 3923338, member: 134537"
Citation please?
Two CCXs aren't directly connected. Need 8 ch ram like on epyc.
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#9
Sihastru
lexluthermiester, post: 3923338, member: 134537"
Citation please?
2990WX:


2950X:


For lots of cores, I'd rather have a 2950X, even if it has it's own set of problems regarding memory access (it's basically a 2P dual CPU system on a socket). Then again, in today's software ecosystem (including gaming), I think the 9900K or the 2700X (with proper memory) are far far better investments. The W-3175X is just too strange, it's a bad platform for the masses, the motherboards make no sense, too big in size, too complicated in power delivery. But the W-3175X will be the overall king, make no mistake about it. Price will always suck at this level.
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#10
R0H1T
Sihastru, post: 3923360, member: 69811"
2990WX:


2950X:


For lots of cores, I'd rather have a 2950X, even if it has it's own set of problems regarding memory access (it's basically a 2P dual CPU system on a socket). Then again, in today's software ecosystem (including gaming), I think the 9900K or the 2700X (with proper memory) are far far better investments. The W-3175X is just too strange, it's a bad platform for the masses, the motherboards make no sense, too big in size, too complicated in power delivery. But the W-3175X will be the overall king, make no mistake about it. Price will always suck at this level.
That's assuming anyone buying an unlocked Xeon, presumably for OCing, doesn't have the EPYC 32 core on his radar.
The Xeon will not be cheaper, taking into account the overall platform cost & the extra cost of cooling.
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#11
lexluthermiester
TheGuruStud, post: 3923357, member: 42692"
Two CCXs aren't directly connected. Need 8 ch ram like on epyc.
Sihastru, post: 3923360, member: 69811"
2990WX:


2950X:

Ah, gotcha. I really don't think that is as much of a problem as it's made out to be.
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#12
Flyordie


Why Intel! Why!!??

Seriously.. is it that hard to do STIM on their huge cores? If AMD could do it with Bulldozer... surely Intel can do it.
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#13
TheinsanegamerN
Gungar, post: 3923336, member: 163163"
Monolithic designs have all the advantages except pricing.
Not exactly. AMD's modular design is also a lot easier to make in the first place. As the core count grows, intel's monolithic design becomes unwieldy, with returns on dies sinking fast.

There is also the issue of intel's modular design not scaling well. Sure, all the cores have direct memory access, but funny thing, you load up all 28 cores and memory performance tanks anyway. Some of those cores simply cant get to memory or cache quick enough in a monolithic design, and when that happens, performance tanks. This can be seen in threadripper VS xeon multi-threaded benchmarks. There are some workloads where intel's monolithic design works against them, and now that AMD is competing, it shows whereas before nobody was any wiser.

Modular design has a lot of advantages, but also many disadvantages. It was the best option in the past, but as core counts climb, it may no longer be best practice.
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#14
Sihastru
lexluthermiester, post: 3923373, member: 134537"
Ah, gotcha. I really don't think that is as much of a problem as it's made out to be.
Unfortunately, it is. Apart from a few (and I do mean a few) applications, not counting synthetics, it ends up in situations where performance can tank. So you really need to build a machine with a very targeted scope. The 2990W lacks the UMA/NUMA switch capability, and Game Mode disables ALL but 1 die, turning your very expensive and "powerful" system into something with less performance then a 2700X on the X470. And you are required to play games in this mode, or you'll only be able to achieve close to slide-show performance. Right about now, you'd think a 9900K or a 2700X would save a ton of cash for pizza and more games. Plus that brand new RTX stuff.
Other then that, it's just a bit annoying, having to toggle two or three software switches for every application in advance. Not to mention the reboots.
TheinsanegamerN, post: 3923392, member: 127292"
Sure, all the cores have direct memory access, but funny thing, you load up all 28 cores and memory performance tanks anyway.
To combat this issue, the W-3175X has that six-channel integrated memory controller.

It is unfortunate that the hardware implementation of TR and the current OS implementations (looking at you Windows!) are a match made in hell. Perhaps Windows will, in the future, become more aware of the computing nodes it has available, and the way they are interconnected. Even Linux has some of these problems. It is unfortunate that Intel's pricing is so abominable. But, if we compare implementations, it is clear which one is superior.

You might think that a difference of 2500-3500 USD is something insurmountable, but for most people needing this many cores, it's about one week of revenue. And to them, playing with software switches and rebooting their system equates to losing time and money. And, if the alternative is better, even if a bit more expensive, it's actually a no-brainer.

But, the article is about the lack of STIM on the W-3175X. And there is some information that indicates STIM on such a large die can be detrimental, in some cases it can be the cause for micro-fractures in the actual silicon material. It's hard to buy that, Intel having unlimited piles of cash available for research and so on.
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#15
lexluthermiester
Sihastru, post: 3923476, member: 69811"
Unfortunately, it is. Apart from a few (and I do mean a few) applications, not counting synthetics, it ends up in situations where performance can tank.
Many said the same thing about Pentium D dual core CPU's that had latency communicating through the chipset FSB and yet that series of CPU's performed very well compared to the dual socket Xeons of the time. The latency introduced by the extra jump those cores have to make is a minor problem to the performance needed in the kinds of tasks that ThreadRipper CPU's are generally used for. It is therefore unimportant.
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#16
Vya Domus
Sihastru, post: 3923476, member: 69811"
Apart from a few (and I do mean a few) applications, not counting synthetics, it ends up in situations where performance can tank.
What does "tank" mean in this context and if you went as far as to say there are a few application where that doesn't happen why not list them ?

I say this because I think "performance can tank" means nothing in particular context. Does the scalability drop faster with this design as you increase the numbers of cores in use than compared to Skylake-X ? Probably, but then again most of the time you're going to encounter various bottlenecks and hard limits as you try to reach maximum instruction/data throughput anyway.

Sihastru, post: 3923476, member: 69811"
You might think that a difference of 2500-3500 USD is something insurmountable, but for most people needing this many cores, it's about one week of revenue.
Is that really the case ? Do people buying these sort of products do not care at all about performance/price ? I reckon they do, otherwise they'd chose to pour dozens of thousands of dollars in multiple server racks if performance is really all they seek. These platforms (TR/X299) are not meant to replace those types of solutions, hence why they are cheaper and why the scalability options are limited with them. These types of CPUs are meant specifically for people in need of high performance but not with endless pockets, pricing differentials can be insurmountable even in this case.

Sihastru, post: 3923476, member: 69811"
To combat this issue, the W-3175X has that six-channel integrated memory controller.
They don't combat anything. Remember the origin of these CPUs, Skylake-X goes up to 6 memory channels and Epyc up to 8.

They were all designed to have as much memory bandwidth as they needed. In fact AMD's design probably ends up in less scenarios where that becomes the bottleneck. With TR4 AMD simply chose to cut down the design further. So Intel didn't combat anything in particular with this CPU, they just left it as it is.


Sihastru, post: 3923476, member: 69811"
The 2990W lacks the UMA/NUMA switch capability, and Game Mode disables ALL but 1 die, turning your very expensive and "powerful" system into something with less performance then a 2700X on the X470. And you are required to play games in this mode, or you'll only be able to achieve close to slide-show performance. Right about now, you'd think a 9900K or a 2700X would save a ton of cash for pizza and more games. Plus that brand new RTX stuff.
Other then that, it's just a bit annoying, having to toggle two or three software switches for every application in advance. Not to mention the reboots.
A part of me dies every time someone brings up gaming with regards to these CPUs.
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#17
WikiFM
STIM is also only given to the i9-9900K and i7-9700K in the mainstream-desktop space.
Intel's decision to equip the Core X 9000-series and higher-end Coffee Lake-Refresh parts with it, is aimed at improving the thermals and overclocking headrooms of its products.


Wait what? So the 9600K and the rest of 9th gen mainstream parts wont have STIM. So these CPUs are just Coffee Lake rebranding, and not CF-Refresh at all? I guess the only CF-Refresh is the 8 core silicon.
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#18
Sihastru
Vya Domus, post: 3923693, member: 169281"
A part of me dies every time someone brings up gaming with regards to these CPUs.
I am sorry that you feel that way. Repeating this fact is necessary, for example, you'd be surprised, but only in the last two weeks, 3 of the 5 people that bought a new system, that I personally know, bought a TR. They bought it for gaming and general computing (menial tasks), because the information they got only or greatly emphasized how great these CPUs are at some very specific tasks, forgoing any warning about general day-to-day things most people do on these things.

It is this generalization that I'm trying to address. Because sweeping things like these under the rug because it's AMD, while clinging to every little seemingly bad thing because it's Intel... it just leads to bad decisions. And it's commendable that people want AMD to be great again, so we can have competition and all, but if it's done at the expense of "other", less knowledgeable people, count me out.

Also, please stop taking things out of context. I did say: "you really need to build a machine with a very targeted scope". And this makes the TR platform a specialized one, but why would you think I was talking about the enterprise rack server space, I don't know.

Anyway, off-topic discussion is off-topic.
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#19
Vya Domus
Sihastru, post: 3924089, member: 69811"
I am sorry that you feel that way. Repeating this fact is necessary, for example, you'd be surprised, but only in the last two weeks, 3 of the 5 people that bought a new system, that I personally know, bought a TR. They bought it for gaming and general computing (menial tasks), because the information they got only or greatly emphasized how great these CPUs are at some very specific tasks, forgoing any warning about general day-to-day things most people do on these things.
So basically someone made an uninformed purchase, that says nothing with regards to how these CPUs are performing/should perform. In fact it emphasizes yet again that these types of products are not targeted at those kinds of users with those particular needs, namely gaming.

Sihastru, post: 3924089, member: 69811"
Because sweeping things like these under the rug because it's AMD, while clinging to every little seemingly bad thing because it's Intel... it just leads to bad decisions. And it's commendable that people want AMD to be great again, so we can have competition and all, but if it's done at the expense of "other", less knowledgeable people, count me out.
It's quite obvious to me you're slowly trying to steer the discussions into a different direction by alluding that we are being fanboys and such.

Sihastru, post: 3924089, member: 69811"
why would you think I was talking about the enterprise rack server space, I don't know.
I didn't, read again my post. Carefully.
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