Intel’s 5th-generation Xeon (Emerald Rapids) processors are slated to hit the market on December 14. However, the Xeon Platinum 8580, likely the successor to the existing Xeon Platinum 8480+ (Sapphire Rapids), has already leaked. The chip is currently in its ES2 (engineering sample 2) state, so the final specifications will likely vary.
As a quick refresher, Emerald Rapids will replace Sapphire Rapids, and the upcoming 10nm server chips will compete with AMD’s 5th-generation EPYC Turin lineup that should launch before 2024 concludes. Emerald Rapids still uses the Intel 7 (formerly 10nm Enhanced SuperFin) process node. Emerald Rapids will wield the newer Raptor Cove cores, unlike Sapphire Rapids, which taps Intel’s Golden Cove cores. In a certain sense, Emerald Rapids is to Sapphire Rapids like Raptor Lake was to Alder Lake.
Emerald Rapids has its work cut out for it. EPYC Turin will be (in all likelihood) based on 4nm and 3nm nodes from TSMC. Regarding manufacturing processes, EPYC Turin is leagues above Emerald Rapids, which is stuck on Intel 7. EPYC Turin will also wield AMD’s new Zen 5 cores, expected to bring significant performance uplifts over Zen 4. AMD will launch EPYC Turin into three categories: the regular Zen 5, Zen 5 with 3D V-Cache, and Zen 5c. Therefore, EPYC Turin will compete on all levels against Emerald Rapids.
Intel Xeon Platinum 8580 Specifications
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|Processor||Cores / Threads||Base Clock (MHz)||L2 Cache (MB)||L3 Cache (MB)||TDP (W)|
|EPYC 9654||96 / 192||2,400||96||384||360|
|EPYC 9554||64 / 128||3,100||64||256||360|
|Xeon Platinum 8580*||60 / 120||2,000||120||300||350|
|Xeon Platinum 8490H||60 / 120||1,900||120||112.5||350|
|Xeon Platinum 8480+||56 / 112||2,000||112||105||350|
*Specifications are unconfirmed.
The Xeon Platinum 8580 (ES2-Q2SP-A0), courtesy of hardware leaker YuuKi_AnS, surfaces with a 2,000 MHz base clock. It’s ES silicon, so don’t pay clocks any attention for now. The Emerald Rapids chip seemingly sports a 60-core, 120-thread design. The processor ties the Xeon Platinum 8490H in terms of core count, but comes with four extra cores than the Xeon Platinum 8480+ that it’s replacing.
In other words, Intel is still trying to play catch-up with AMD in terms of cores. With the current 4th-generation EPYC 9004 (Genoa) series, AMD has pushed the total number of cores to 96 with the EPYC 9654. Therefore, there’s still a substantial difference of 60% between Intel and AMD’s highest-core server chips.
After getting cold feet on the whole chiplet idea, Intel ultimately made Emerald Rapids with two large dies, taking a 180-degree detour from Sapphire Rapids’ design with four small dies. Each Sapphire Rapid die houses 15 cores for a maximum of 60 cores. Emerald Rapids features 33 cores per die, totaling up to 66. But it’s uncertain if Intel will produce a maxed-out Emerald Rapids SKU.
The radical shift in design allowed Intel to slap more L3 cache on Emerald Rapids. The L2 cache has not changed. There’s still 2MB of L2 cache per core, which is why the Xeon Platinum 8580 has the same amount of L2 cache as the Xeon Platinum 8490H, since both are 60-core chips. The Xeon processors possess 25% more L2 cache than the EPYC 9654.
The L3 cache, however, is one of Emerald Rapids’ most significant assets. Sapphire Rapids had 1.875MB of L3 cache per core. Intel bumped that up to 5MB per core on Emerald Rapids, a 2.66X improvement over Sapphire Rapids. As a result, 60-core models (like the Xeon Platinum 8580) have up to 300MB of L3 cache compared to the Xeon Platinum 8490H’s 112.5MB L3 cache.
But AMD doesn’t have a 60-core Genoa SKU. Therefore, the 64-core EPYC 9554 is the closest comparison. The Xeon Platinum 8580 offers 87.5% and 17.2% higher L2 and L3 cache than the EPYC 9554, respectively. Genoa still has the most L3 cache on a processor that doesn’t have a 3D V-Cache or HBM. The EPYC 9654, which is the top Genoa model, has 28% more L3 cache compared to the Xeon Platinum 8580.
Emerald Rapids will drop right into Intel’s existing Eagle Stream platform with the LGA4677 socket, thus retaining eight-channel memory support. However, Emerald Rapids natively supports DDR5-5600 as opposed to Sapphire Rapids’ DDR5-4800. The improved memory support will help boost the memory bandwidth available to the cores. Like Sapphire Rapids, Emerald Rapids continues to offer consumers 80 high-speed PCIe 5.0 lanes for connectivity.
We’re only a few months away from the Emerald Rapids and EPYC Turin launches. It’ll be a glorious battle among the two behemoths to see which server chip prevails.