Intel launches the 28-core Xeon W-3175X at $2999

If you had asked me this time last year whether Intel would take one of its 28-core Skylake Xeon chips with six-channel memory and release it as a consumer CPU on a new platform, I would have smirked and laughed as if you had asked me if game streaming will ever replace local processing. While this is fundamentally the same CPU that Intel showed in chilled form as part of its controversial Computex 2018 demo, we first heard concrete news about these plans back at Intel's "Performance Unleashed" event in October. That's right gerbils: Today is launch day for the Intel Xeon W-3175X 28-core workstation CPU.

First, the facts. The Xeon W-3175X is essentially the same silicon as the Xeon Platinum 8180, but with the clock rates of a Core i9-9960X. Specifically, the W-3175X takes 28 Skylake-X cores to 4.5 GHz max turbo, up from 3.1 GHz base. Thanks to the surprisingly high clock rate, Intel increases the TDP spec to 255W. It offers up to 44 lanes of PCIe 3.0 connectivity and a full six channels of DDR4 memory. Given that this is a Xeon, it can run high-density registered ECC memory, or you can hook it up to ultra-high-clocked unbuffered memory.

A system built by Intel. Looks awful gamer-y, doesn't it?

That's right — despite the Xeon name, this is decidedly a consumer-oriented chip. Not only will it happily hook up to fast gamer RAM, it's also fully unlocked for overclocking. This CPU is meant for that vanishingly small slice of the market where "gamer" and "creator" meet; it's for both the hardest of hardcore overclockers, as well as engineers and professionals who can make use of the massive core count but still need that single-threaded throughput. In short: It's an anti-Threadripper guided missile.

We weren't handed one of these CPUs—or the accompanying system—to review. I say "the accompanying system" because it's not like one of these behemoths would fit in any of our test rigs. This CPU uses the LGA 3647 socket; while calling it "a new platform" isn't strictly accurate, you won't find any motherboards on shelves with this socket in an ATX-adjacent form factor. We briefly mentioned the Asus ROG Dominus Extreme motherboard when talking about the best CPUs for gaming last year, and Intel's demo in October apparently used a Gigabyte motherboard, but neither have found their way to market yet.

A blinged-out system with a Xeon W-3175X. Image: Anandtech.

Intel did supply a bunch of other sites with suitable machines, though. You can hit up reviews of the new chip over at AnandTech, Tom's Hardware, Gamers Nexus, HotHardware, and PC World, among others. Click through to read the reviews because each one has interesting points to make, but everyone seems to tell the same story this time around, which is that this is pretty much the fastest CPU in the world for almost any given task. 

Steve at Gamers Nexus succinctly says that "the performance is objectively good." Ian Cutress at AnandTech was clear on the topic, too. He says "the Xeon W-3175X only caters to one market: high performance." In essence, if you need the absolute fastest single-socket system money can buy, this is the chip you want. It's quite a bit of money, though. The Xeon W-3175X comes in at $3,000 for just the CPU, and motherboards are expected to be north of $1,500. That's to say nothing of the at least six DIMMs you'll need to fill the machine's memory channels, or the 1-KW-plus power plant you'll want to drive it.

Every review makes the point that the gains this chip sees over the Core i9-9980XE—of which it is essentially a 28-core version—are minimal in a lot of tasks. However, in work where the Xeon W-3175X can flex its multi-core might, it is truly monstrous. Regular gerbils already know this story, of course. You see the same thing with AMD's Threadripper CPUs. Perhaps in acknowledgement of the limited appeal of such a system, Anandtech reports that Intel might make as few as 1500 of these chips.

All of the pricing discussion is a bit academic, anyway. You won't see the Xeon W-3175X on the shelves at your local Micro Center, nor the motherboards and coolers for the new platform. It's possible that might change in the future, but for now, the new hardware is exclusive to system integrators. If you're after the fastest single CPU money can buy, start checking the sites of vendors like Maingear and Boxx.

Comments closed
    • Rakhmaninov3
    • 9 months ago

    Why bother when an Xbox One X is only $500

      • Krogoth
      • 9 months ago

      It is one hell of a bargain if need the density and processing power of a 8180 but can’t afford the price tag of the genuine article but are willing to overlook its higher power consumption at load.

      This is Intel’s equivalent to AMD RTG’s Radeon VIIs which are just Vega20-based Instinct/FirePros that didn’t make the cut (either ate too much power and/or defectives)

      • K-L-Waster
      • 9 months ago

      Lemme guess, an XBOneX is the answer to literally every question with you, right?

    • ptsant
    • 9 months ago

    A $3000 CPU is one thing, but a $1500 MB is another. And don’t even start with the PSU and ridiculous cooling solution. The cost of the system, which is also unlikely to be upgradeable in the future, is simply astronomical for reasons that go beyond the chip.

    Of course, as someone always points out, if you make $$$$ with that system maybe it’s worth it. I would argue that in that case it’s also probably worth buying a real workstation (maybe dual-socket if you need the cores) from a major manufacturer with a business-grade warranty and 24/7 support.

    • Ummagumma
    • 9 months ago

    Gaming? On this CPU?

    WHY?

    Is there a game out there than needs 28 cores to run effectively?

    And omit the banal jokes about “running Crysis” and so on; they got old a long time ago.

    IMHO Intel wasted review hardware on a site whose name suggests it is devoted to gaming.

    I sincerely doubt that any of the selected review websites could do a “proper review” of a CPU that seems better used in “server class” or “workstation class” workloads.

    Maybe this CPU is just another effort by Intel to micro-segment some niche market just a wee bit further.

      • ronch
      • 9 months ago

      To be honest I don’t care if it runs that stupid game Crysis or not. The real 64-bit question is, will it run King’s Quest 3 in 64-bit glory, across all 28 coars?

        • K-L-Waster
        • 9 months ago

        Depends on whether or not you have prevented the Meltdown and Spectre patches from installing.

      • BIF
      • 9 months ago

      I upvoted you for calling Crysis jokes banal. Thank you!

    • ermo
    • 9 months ago

    Thanks AMD?

      • BIF
      • 9 months ago

      Indeed; healthy competition once again works its magic in the market.

    • freebird
    • 9 months ago

    And if you order today you get a 2nd one FREE!!!
    Just add $5000 to cover shipping and [s<]handling[/s<]...er cooling....

      • chuckula
      • 9 months ago

      $5000 might get you the Radeon Instinct MI 25 workstationized Vega 64 for this system [and no, that is NOT the 7nm one].

      [url<]https://www.provantage.com/amd-100-505959~7AAMD37K.htm[/url<] [with sales tax that's over $5K here] Although I've seen it listed higher elsewhere. See, there's expensive.... But then there's overpriced.

    • Mentawl
    • 9 months ago

    I’m sad you weren’t given a review system :*( silly Intel.

    • Unknown-Error
    • 9 months ago

    $7999 down $2999? Hmm, wonder why…

      • ronch
      • 9 months ago

      Well of course it’s because of the slowing global economy, right Jensen? Also, we all gotta thank that new Swan guy, I think his name’s Bobby (the Brain of Intel), for realizing that his company needs to be more like AMD and price their wares more humanely. In his own words, “The heck with fat profits, we’ll worry about surviving quarter after quarter in the red later!! Don’t worry boys, I’m a CPA, I’m on top of it!!”

      Disclaimer : not sure about that last bit.

    • Chrispy_
    • 9 months ago

    Gamers Nexus ran one through the wringer and in video encoding it’s a monster. A ridiculously power-hungry, inefficent monster – but nothing else can touch it.

    For everything else there’s Threadripper and people are readily pointing out that you can buy TWO threadrippers for the cost of this publicity stunt and Intel simply can’t compete with that.

      • RAGEPRO
      • 9 months ago

      I wonder if their Premiere testing was done with the [url=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M2LOMTpCtLA<]Threadripper priority fix[/url<] in place.

      • blastdoor
      • 9 months ago

      As the TR system guide points out, it’s hard to beat the TR 1950X.

      (as an owner of the 2990WX I definitely agree — I should have just bought two 1950X systems)

        • Chrispy_
        • 9 months ago

        We demod a 2990WX sample just before official launch and ended up buying 16x 1950X instead of 8x 2990WX.

        Software has some catching up to do before these monster thread counts are useful in all single applications.

          • blastdoor
          • 9 months ago

          well, if you’re getting 16x 1950x you must have some way of productively using a bunch of threads!

          My issue is the wacky RAM access for the 2990wx. With 2 1950X systems, I’d have twice the memory bandwidth.

            • Chrispy_
            • 9 months ago

            I buy the hardware for our distributed renderfarms.

            Animators reserve half-racks (of 8 nodes) at a time and we have i7/Ryzen/Xeon/Threadripper/CUDA/OpenCL racks available because different renderers run best on different hardware.

          • jihadjoe
          • 9 months ago

          Software would have an easier time without the NUMA problems.

          • psuedonymous
          • 9 months ago

          [quote<]Software has some catching up to do before these monster thread counts are useful in all single applications.[/quote<] Expecting software to change to cater to your hardware is an extremely difficult trick to pull off. Even Intel could not manage it with Itanium after putting a lot of push behind it, and AMD are notorious for their lack of vendor support (want support? It's open source, go look at the source! What do you mean that's not enough?!). The only time I can think of it being pulled off is with CUDA, and that was offering multiple order of magnitude speedups rather than "maybe it runs 1.5x faster".

            • Chrispy_
            • 9 months ago

            That’s why I buy the hardware for the software, rather than choose the software based on the hardware we have.

            My job is not to wait for software to evolve, but to provide the best hardware solution for the necessary software. The choice of software is usually (but not always) totally outside my control, often outside the control of anyone in the company.

            • K-L-Waster
            • 9 months ago

            [quote<] and AMD are notorious for their lack of vendor support[/quote<] I wonder how many people are still waiting for HSA to take over the world.

            • chuckula
            • 9 months ago

            If RyZen and Threadripper have taught us anything, it’s that CPU performance doesn’t matter because we use GPUs for everything now that HSA rules the world.
            — AMD fanboys frozen in 2011 and recently thawed out.

        • morphine
        • 9 months ago

        It’s hard to beat the TR 1950X [b<]at the price it currently sits[/b<]. Value is always a function of price, among other variables 🙂

      • albundy
      • 9 months ago

      saw the anand review. was really unimpressed that it barely topped a threadripper that cost half as much. i was very dissapointed in the HEVC encoding numbers. I expected it to blow the threadripper out of the water, yet it failed to catch up.

        • techguy
        • 9 months ago

        I question Anandtech’s choice of settings for their Encoding test suite. I am sitting here right now typing this on my media server (working from home today) while Handbrake crunches away in the background processing a bunch of DVDs to MKV and the CPU is locked at 100%. Their test scenarios clearly do not scale with core count beyond 8. The performance increase in their testing from 8 cores (9900k) to 18 cores (7980xe/9980xe) is only around 20%.

        Meanwhile, I just upgraded this machine from a 7900x to the 7960x and using the same encoding settings I see at least 40% higher performance in Handbrake. The non-linear gains would seem to be due to clock speed differences between these chips, as I have not yet overclocked the 7960x. Clocks on the 7900x would regularly lock to 4GHz under this scenario, where stock settings on the 7960x right now are bouncing between 3.3-3.6GHz. There’s the delta vs. the expected 60% differential due to core count. In other words: I have a use case that shows linear performance scaling with clocks and cores up to at least 16 cores.

    • Wirko
    • 9 months ago

    [quote<]it can run high-density registered ECC memory, or you can hook it up to ultra-high-clocked unbuffered memory[/quote<] It's one or the other. If you need both, you must keep two sets of DIMMs at hand and swap them as desired. At least RAM is cheap these days.

    • Srsly_Bro
    • 9 months ago

    Inb4 64 core thread ripper makes this irrelevant. Intel had to launch this before leaks started coming out. Well-read nerds will know that the 64 core Epyc was beating two 28 cores in a scientific based app.

    Intel had to release this now with only having CPU numbers in the low thousands or risk thread ripper 3 ruining the launch.

    This is a very low volume Halo product and Intel is desperate to not show weakness with AMD becoming more competitive.

    Also, conveniently, the day after AMD posted its Q4 finances, the CPU “launched” and you can’t buy the CPU outside of a system with high markup. This is a joke.

    Intel is on the cart, proclaiming it isn’t dead yet.

    It’ll be dead in a minute.

      • chuckula
      • 9 months ago

      Every product launch in Intel history is a panicked bid to detract attention from AMD’s technological domination!

      Especially the optane!

    • cmrcmk
    • 9 months ago

    [quote<]This CPU is meant for that vanishingly small slice of the market where "gamer" and "creator" meet[/quote<] I don't think this is intended for any demographic except "people who are willing to lay down a lot of money to have 'the best', even if it makes no real world difference". This is just a halo product to keep the crown in the HEDT space, not a market disruptor.

    • chuckula
    • 9 months ago

    Chip PR0N

    Der8auer delidded one: [url<]https://youtu.be/aD9B-uu8At8[/url<]

      • Mr Bill
      • 9 months ago

      That was fascinating. I suppose the vapor pressure and mobility of liquid metal implies this cannot a permanant solution. But its very interesting.

      It reminds me of (in the long ago) using a copper metal epoxy to add a heatsink and cooling fan to the VIA chipset on a “Super Seven” motherboard so it could be overclocked.

        • jihadjoe
        • 9 months ago

        Steve from GamersNexus says a liquid metal TIM should be pretty much permanent so long as the mated surfaces aren’t moving about. For one thing it’s not gonna dry up like the regular white goo.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 9 months ago

      I’ll be in my bunk /Jayne

        • K-L-Waster
        • 9 months ago

        Someone’s going to the special place…

        • Mr Bill
        • 9 months ago

        I call it “Vera”, its my very favorite gun.

          • chuckula
          • 9 months ago

          Possible source of both names including Jayne’s spelling: [url<]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jayne_Mansfield[/url<]

            • Mr Bill
            • 9 months ago

            The Mansfield they call Jayne!

            • derFunkenstein
            • 9 months ago

            I married me a…powerful-ugly creature.

    • Krogoth
    • 9 months ago

    $2999* – Glue not included

      • ronch
      • 9 months ago

      I use mucus.

    • freebird
    • 9 months ago

    Ok then, I guess the 14nm production backlog is over… otherwise Intel would be selling these for the same high price of Xeon Platinum 8180, correct?

      • Krogoth
      • 9 months ago

      It is more like enterprise customers/ISVs didn’t want them because they ate too much power. The CPUs still work. Intel might as well sell them off as limited edition chips to “1337 gamers/prosumers” while retaking the HEDT crown from the 2990WX.

        • Waco
        • 9 months ago

        I doubt the leakage on these is significant enough to declass them from full-fledged 8180s, they’d be nuclear at 3.1 GHz if so. 600 MHz of base frequencies on these would roughly cover that TDP gap of 50 watts.

          • Krogoth
          • 9 months ago

          The intended customers for 8180s and its siblings are extremely picky with power consumption and efficiency. Even a chip going over ~20-50W over the thermal/power budget is a no go and they become too slow if the clockspeed scales back to fit within thermal/power budget.

            • Waco
            • 9 months ago

            I’m well aware – but 50 watts to run 600 MHz higher base clocks sounds about right to me with that many cores.

    • chuckula
    • 9 months ago

    It’s insane but of course there’s a limited market for that.
    The performance is quite well-rounded on everything from games too crazy multi-threaded workloads, which you often don’t get in these server-turned-HEDT platforms. For the relatively limited number that Intel will make availabale I’m sure they’ll sell out.

    It’s also an interesting indicator of the prices that Intel actually charges for high-end silicon. People read a number on ARK and assume that’s the price that everybody pays, which is of course an incorrect assumption.

      • NoOne ButMe
      • 9 months ago

      100% spot on.
      At <$3000 (2500? 2750?) it is undoubtably more than the big server players pay for them.

      • Krogoth
      • 9 months ago

      These chips have one market that will gobbled them up like candy.

      Potential 8180 customers that didn’t have the budget for the real deal and are willing to overlook higher power consumption(compared to the real deal) for the performance they offer.

    • K-L-Waster
    • 9 months ago

    It’s designed to kill the Threadripper market — largely by giving them a heart attack when they look at the MSRP….

      • techguy
      • 9 months ago

      I disagree. $2999 is less than literally everyone expected. I know your point of your post is to make a joke and that is fine, just wanted to put this out there.

        • K-L-Waster
        • 9 months ago

        Partially a joke. I get what you’re saying that this is way less expensive than the rest of the Xeon line, but on the flip side compare it to the price points for ThreadRippers. It’s over $1000 more than a 2990WX, and compared to the 2950X or the remaining stock of 1950Xs the price difference is even more pronounced.

        Granted, the performance will also be higher for this part than the TR parts. On the flip side, would it be more effective overall to get 2 or 3 1950X systems and virtualize them than to get 1 3175?

          • techguy
          • 9 months ago

          It is an interesting premise, buying 2 “medium-range” (HEDT) systems instead of one, balls-to-the-walls system. All else being equal, as long as your workload suits this model it’s likely the superior choice.

    • techguy
    • 9 months ago

    This is a lot cheaper than I expected. My new 7960x may not prevent me from buying into this platform after all…

      • Goty
      • 9 months ago

      Pricing of these is an interesting topic considering you can’t just buy one and Intel could have literally given them away without making a bit of difference to their financials due to the low production numbers.

        • Redocbew
        • 9 months ago

        One does not simply use logic with a halo product.

        • techguy
        • 9 months ago

        Sure, as long as they limit production. Demand for freebies outstrips supply, very quickly. If you don’t believe me, go stand on a busy street corner and hand out $100 bills – let us know how long they last 😉

          • Goty
          • 9 months ago

          That’s where the limited production bit comes in. Anandtech reports production numbers will be in the “low four digits” and, considering consumers can’t buy this CPU outside of a pre-built system, I’m sure supply and distribution is dictated entirely by Intel in the first place.

        • Neutronbeam
        • 9 months ago

        Can I get a bulk discount if I buy one? It’s like the hypercar of CPUs.

        EDIT: added buy

    • Mr Bill
    • 9 months ago

    From AnadTech review…
    EpyC 7551 7×5 = 35 squares
    Xenon W-3175X 8×6 = 48 squares
    Thats >30% more package area

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This