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Intel Ice Lake-SP Processors Get Benchmarked Against AMD EPYC Rome

Intel is preparing to launch its next-generation for server processors and the next in line is the Ice Lake-SP 10 nm CPU. Featuring a Golden Cove CPU and up to 28 cores, the CPU is set to bring big improvements over the past generation of server products called Cascade Lake. Today, thanks to the sharp eye of TUM_APISAK, we have a new benchmark of the Ice Lake-SP platform, which is compared to AMD's EPYC Rome offerings. In the latest GeekBench 4 score, appeared an engineering sample of unknown Ice Lake-SP model with 28 cores, 56 threads, a base frequency of 1.5 GHz, and a boost of 3.19 GHz.

This model was put in a dual-socket configuration that ends up at a total of 56 core and 112 threads, against a single 64 core AMD EPYC 7442 Rome CPU. The dual-socket Intel configuration scored 3424 points in the single-threaded test, where AMD configuration scored notably higher 4398 points. The lower score on Intel's part is possibly due to lower clocks, which should improve in the final product, as this is only an engineering sample. When it comes to the multi-threaded test, Intel configuration scored 38079 points, where the AMD EPYC system did worse and scored 35492 points. The reason for this higher result is unknown, however, it shows that Ice Lake-SP has some potential.

Intel 7nm CPUs Delayed by a Year, Alder Lake in 2H-2021, Other Commentary from Intel Management

Intel's silicon fabrication woes refuse to torment the company's product roadmaps, with the company disclosing in its Q2-2020 financial results release that the company's first CPUs built on the 7 nanometer silicon fabrication node are delayed by a year due to a further 6-month delay from prior expectations. The company will focus on getting its 10 nm node up to scale in the meantime.

The company mentioned that the 10 nm "Tiger Lake" mobile processor and "Ice Lake-SP" enterprise processor remains on-track for 2020. The company's 12th Generation Core "Alder Lake-S" desktop processors won't arrive before the second half of 2021. In the meantime, Intel will launch its 11th Gen Core "Rocket Lake" processor on the 14 nm node, but with increased IPC from the new "Cypress Cove" CPU cores. Also in 2H-2021, the company will launch its "Sapphire Rapids" enterprise processors that come with next-gen connectivity and updated CPU cores.
Intel 7 nanometer delay

Intel Ice Lake Xeons Feature Slower Frequency Ramp Up

As we approach the launch of the Intel's Ice Lake-SP Xeon processors, which will be the company's first 10 nm product for servers, we find more details on the ways CPU operates and today's discovery is an interesting one. In the latest patch submitted to Linux kernel by Intel's engineers, we find out that Intel Ice Lake Xeons have a slower frequency ramp up, meaning that there could be some latency added. However, the engineers have patched this and it should perform as expected. The patch is described as the following: "On ICX platform, the CPU frequency will slowly ramp up when woken up from C-states deeper than/equals to C1E. Although this feature does save energy in many cases this might also cause unexpected result. For example, workload might get unstable performance due to the uncertainty of CPU frequency. Besides, the CPU frequency might not be locked to specific level when the CPU utilization is low."
Intel Ice Lake

No Intel "Rocket Lake-S" or "Ice Lake-X" This Year?

A roadmap slide from an Intel Partner Connect presentation suggests that the company's client-segment processor lineup will be unchanged for the rest of 2020, with the company briskly launching its 10th generation "Comet Lake-S" desktop processor lineup through May-June, and "Comet Lake-H" a month prior. The Core X "Cascade Lake-X" processor lineup will continue to lead the company in the high core-count HEDT segment, with no indications of new models, at least none higher than 18 cores.

More importantly, this slide dulls expectations of the company refreshing its desktop process segment just before Holiday 2020 with the 11th generation "Rocket Lake-S" silicon that has next-gen "Willow Cove" CPU cores, Gen12 Xe integrated graphics, and PCIe gen 4.0 connectivity, especially with engineering samples of the chips already hitting the radar. Intel is expected to launch 10 nm "Ice Lake-SP" Xeon enterprise processors in 2020, and there was hope for some of this IP to power Intel's next HEDT platform, the fabled "Ice Lake-X," especially with AMD's "Castle Peak" 3rd gen Threadrippers dominating this segment. While there's little doubt that the slide may have originated from Intel, its context must be studied. Partner Connect is a platform for Intel to interact with its channel partners (distributors, retailers, system integrators, etc), and information about future products is far more restricted on these slides, than presentations intended for large OEMs, motherboard manufacturers, etc. Then again, with the COVID-19 pandemic throwing supply chains off rails, it wouldn't surprise us if this slide spells Gospel.

Possible Intel "Ice Lake-SP" 24-core Xeon Processor Surfaces on Geekbench Database

Intel plans to update its Xeon Scalable server processor family this year with the new "Ice Lake-SP" microarchitecture. Built on the 10 nm+ silicon fabrication process, "Ice Lake-SP" is a high- thru extreme core-count monolithic silicon that features "Sunny Cove" CPU cores that introduce the first real IPC increases over "Skylake." A 24-core/48-thread processor likely based on this silicon surfaced on the Geekbench database, where it posted some impressive numbers given its low clock speeds.

The processor comes with an identification string "GenuineIntel Family 6 Model 106 Stepping 4," with a nominal clock speed of 2.20 GHz, and boost frequency of 2.90 GHz, which points to the possibility of this being an engineering sample. Besides clock speeds and core counts, some basic hardware specs were detected by Geekbench 4. For starters, the processor has an L1D cache size of 48 KB and L1I cache size of 32 KB, which is similar to the client-segment "Ice Lake-U" silicon based Core i7-1065G7, and confirms that this processor uses "Sunny Cove" cores. "Cascade Lake" and "Skylake" cores use 32 KB L1D caches. Also, the dedicated L2 cache per core is 1.25 MB, up from the 1 MB L2 caches on "Cascade Lake." Client-segment "Ice Lake" chips use 512 KB L2 caches. The shared L3 cache is 36 MB (or 1.5 MB slice per core), which loosely aligns with the cache balance of Intel's server and HEDT processors. In this bench run, the processor is backed by 256 GB of memory, of an unknown type or configuration. In the three bench runs, the setup scores roughly 4100 points single-core, and roughly 42000 points multi-core.

Intel Reassures Investors of its Server Processor Roadmap: Ice Lake-SP in 2020, Sapphire Rapids in 2021

Intel's Investor Relations head Trey Campbell, in a "fire-side chat" with top investors at the Cowen Virtual Technology Media and Telecom Conference, reaffirmed Intel's commitment to its server processor roadmap. Intel is on course to introducing its 10 nm Xeon "Ice Lake-SP" enterprise processor family by the end of 2020, and "Sapphire Rapids" sometime within 2021.

"Ice Lake-SP" processor will introduce the new "Whitley" platform, with a new 4,189-pin LGA socket, which leverages PCI-Express gen 4.0. While retaining the DDR4 memory standard, the memory interface has been broadened to 8-channel, and reference memory clock speeds are expected to be increased to DDR4-3200. The company's "Sapphire Rapids" processor is expected to shake up the market, as it introduces next-generation I/O, when it launches alongside the "Eagle Stream" platform in 2021. The processor will be built on the refined 10 nm+ silicon fabrication node, feature "Willow Cove" CPU cores, and I/O feature set that sees the introduction of DDR5 memory standard, and PCI-Express gen 5.0.
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