With the arrival of AMD’s desktop version of the Ryzen 5000 series processor using the Zen3 architecture, Intel’s gap in the desktop CPU market has been further widened, and it should be more difficult to achieve a counter-overtake within a short period of time, but in the field of servers and supercomputing, Intel’s new products seem to help them get back some confidence.

In the recently held SC 2020 Supercomputing Conference, Intel announced some technical details of its own third-generation Xeon Platinum processor ” Ice Lake-SP “, a generation of server CPUs based on the new Sunny Cove microarchitecture, the entire system using 10nm + process and JGA 4189 interface.

In addition to disclosing some performance metrics for the Ice Lake-SP processor, Intel also confirmed that it will use its enhanced 10nm SuperFin process technology to manufacture, codenamed Sapphire Rapids, the next generation of server CPU.

For the first time, Ice Lake-SP also supports PCIe 4.0 natively on its own server platform and offers up to 64 PCIe 4.0 lanes. In terms of memory support, up to 32 cores and eight memory lanes will be available, and these lanes will support up to 6TB of DDR4-3200 memory or Intel Athon memory.

In addition, Ice Lake-SP adds a host of new features for security, including full memory encryption (TME), platform firmware recovery (PFR) and a new encryption gas pedal. It also delivers higher performance for server and supercomputing workloads by leveraging higher bandwidth, a new core architecture, and more cores with faster I/O.

In terms of performance, which is the most important concern, the new processor with the new architecture and second generation 10nm process will run significantly faster than its predecessor with the Skylake architecture, and more importantly, Intel claims that the 32-core Ice Lake-SP processor can beat AMD’s 64-core/128-thread EPYC 7742 processor by a wide margin with half of the cores (32 cores).

In the NAMD Molecular Dynamics Simulation, Monte Carlo Simulation and LAMMPS Molecular Modeling Simulation tests, servers with dual Ice Lake-SP CPUs (32 cores*2, 2.20 GHz, 256 GB DDR4-3400 memory) compared to servers with dual AMD EPYC 7742 processors (64 Cores, 2.25 GHz, 256 GB DDR4-3200) has a 20%-30% advantage, a performance that shows that Intel’s new generation of Xeon processors will continue to be dominant in the server/supercomputing space.


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