A leak of information provides insight into Intel’s plans for Xeon platforms. Currently, Intel has the Eagle Stream platform that supports the Sapphire Rapids-SP CPUs and will also support the upcoming Emerald Rapids-SP CPUs. Both of these CPU lines use the LGA 4677 socket.
Intel released the fourth generation Xeon scalable processor, Sapphire Rapids, earlier this year in January. The Sapphire Rapids processors are based on the Intel 10nm SuperFin process technology and are designed to offer high performance for data center workloads.
As per previous reports, the upcoming Emerald Rapids processors are also part of the Eagle Stream platform and are expected to be released in Q4 of this year. The Emerald Rapids CPUs will be based on the Raptor Cove architecture core and are expected to provide up to 64 cores and 128 threads.
Despite using the Raptor Cove architecture core, the Emerald Rapids CPUs will still be manufactured using Intel 7 process technology. The Emerald Rapids processors are expected to offer improved performance and capabilities compared to their predecessors, making them an attractive option for data center workloads.
For the next generation of Xeon chips, Intel plans to introduce two new platforms, the Mountain Stream and Birch Stream. The Birch Stream platform is designed for high-end Xeon chips such as Granite Rapids-AP and Siera Forest AP. The leak offers a glimpse of the reference Avenue City platform, part of the Birch Stream platform.
The leaked information suggests that Intel continues developing its Xeon processor lineup, focusing on high-performance computing and data center workloads. The company is introducing new platforms and CPUs that promise to offer even more processing power and capabilities than their predecessors.
The recently leaked specifications for the Avenue City reference platform, which is designed for high-end Xeon CPUs as part of the Birch Stream platform, provide a detailed overview. The motherboard is notable for its significant form factor, measuring 16.7″ x 20″, and for being composed of 20 PCB layers. The CPUs intended for use with the reference platform feature a 13-layer package and are situated within two LGA 7529 sockets that support both Granite Rapids and Sierra Forest-AP CPUs.
These CPUs are expected to have up to 500 Watt TDP support, significantly higher than current offerings. The reference platform also features 24 DDR5 DIMMs, which can support up to 12-channel memory, providing high bandwidth for memory-intensive workloads. In addition, there are 6 PCIe Gen 5 x16 links and 6×24 UPI links, providing high-speed connectivity for data transfers.
The Granite Rapids-AP CPUs are expected to feature up to 128 cores and 256 threads, making them ideal for high-performance computing and data center workloads.
There have also been hints that they will come in HBM flavors, as engineering samples indicate. The specifications of the reference Avenue City platform suggest that Intel is pushing the boundaries of processing power and capabilities with its upcoming Xeon chips, catering to the demands of high-performance computing and data center workloads.
The Avenue City reference platform is equipped with 24 DDR5 DIMM slots that can support memory speeds of up to 6400 Mbps in 1DPC configurations. When using MCR, the memory speed can reach up to 8000 Mbps.
This is an improvement compared to the previous generation Xeon CPUs that supported DDR4 memory. The upcoming Granite Rapids Xeon CPU family will utilize DDR5 memory, which is anticipated to provide enhanced bandwidth and lower power consumption.
These improvements are expected to translate into better overall performance for the CPUs. Last year, Intel showcased its next-gen Xeon CPUs running DDR5-6400 memory, which the Granite Rapids family will utilize.
Intel has provided a roster of suggested chassis options for the Avenue City reference platform, among which are the 2S Open Chassis Standard EGS POK and the 2S 4U closed chassis (Rich AIC).
To ensure proper installation of a Granite Rapids or Sierra Forest Xeon CPU and prevent the accumulation of foreign substances or oxidation on the package lands, Intel recommends that users wear ESD gloves. The LGA 7529 socket utilized by these CPUs is considerably wide, covering the entire span of the DDR5 slot, as has been previously demonstrated.
The Birch Stream and Mountain Stream platforms are likely referring to different product lines or families of computer hardware.
The Granite Rapids and Redwood Cove cores are likely central processing units (CPUs) produced by Intel that are based on the 4nm process node. These CPUs are likely designed to be high-performance and may be used in servers or high-end desktop computers.
The Sierra Forest chips are likely CPUs with an all-E-Core design optimized for compute/efficiency density. This design may be intended for use in applications that require high computational power but also need to conserve energy.
The Sierra Forest chips would be used to compete against AMD’s Bergamo lineup, which likely refers to a similar product line of CPUs from AMD that are optimized for computing/efficiency.
These hardware platforms and CPUs are designed for different applications and use cases, with varying performance and efficiency targets.
Intel is expected to launch the Granite Rapids Xeon CPUs and Sierra Forest chips by the end of next year. However, the delayed launch of Sapphire Rapids has created uncertainty regarding the release of Sierra Forest. The timely launch of Emerald Rapids-SP will likely affect customer confidence in Intel’s ability to deliver its Xeon products on schedule.