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Intel 28-core fantasy vs. AMD 32-core reality

By Scorpus · 102 replies
Jun 10, 2018
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  1. After a busy week at Computex 2018, looking back we can say there weren’t many big announcements at the show but perhaps one of the most exciting reveals was the upcoming 32-core, 64-thread Threadripper 2nd-gen CPU that is scheduled for release in just a few months.

    But the day before AMD’s press event in Taipei, Intel came out on stage and showcased a suspicious 28-core CPU running at 5 GHz on all cores, which sent the internet into a flurry. It seemed like Intel was demoing a future product, they said so themselves, but later on we found that wasn’t the case.

    It’s worth talking about this CPU and Intel’s announcement because it shows the difference between Intel and AMD’s current high-end desktop strategies. One company is talking about actual consumer hardware, while the other is demonstrating ridiculous garbage that serves no purpose other than to generate headlines.

    So, let’s go back to the initial reveal of Intel’s 28-core 5GHz CPU. During their Computex 2018 keynote, they showed this massive CPU running at 5 GHz on all 28 cores, and they managed to get it running a Cinebench multi-threaded workload that produced an appropriately huge score. People went crazy over this and headlines were generated everywhere, which is exactly what Intel intended, knowing full-well that AMD would be overshadowing them the next day with a 32-core Threadripper.

    When this news hit, we were quite suspicious about how exactly Intel managed to get this 28-core CPU running all cores at 5 GHz. It couldn’t be a consumer product, and not something that would ever be reaching the market, at least at the frequencies Intel was running it at on stage. Intel did say the CPU shown was a prototype and would be released in Q4, but I’ll get to that later.

    After Intel’s demonstration, various outlets like Paul's Hardware went over to the Gigabyte suite and exposed the Intel test system shown on stage. And low and behold, the CPU in question is cooled using a massive air conditioner unit that’s bringing the liquid cooling system’s temperatures down to sub-ambient levels. That’s red flag number one.

    Then you look at the motherboard they are using. It’s a massive enterprise-class board using the LGA3647 socket, which is normally used for Intel’s top-end Xeon processors. And at the top of the board is an outrageous 28-phase (or thereabouts) VRM solution with a huge heatsink and additional cooling, clearly capable of delivering massive amounts of power to this prototype CPU. That’s red flag number two.

    Now when you join the dots together it becomes obvious this is just an existing top-end Xeon processor (like the $10,000 28-core Xeon Platinum 8180), chucked into a board capable of extreme power delivery, attached to exotic cooling, then overclocked to the absolute maximum. Presumably this Xeon chip was also binned to a ridiculous degree such that a 5 GHz all-core overclock could be achieved. In fact, later on Intel would confirm to AnandTech that the demonstration was using an overclocked CPU and was intended as an overclocking demo… not that the company mentioned that on stage.

    Update: An Intel spokesperson reached out and provided this statement: "The 28C demo at the keynote is a real product in development targeted at the high end prosumer and enthusiast audience. Intel continues to optimize design and process across its products, and the demo showcased an upcoming Intel product having the capability of 5.0 GHz overclocking across all 28 cores."

    Overclocking experiments using exotic cooling are awesome and something we see enthusiasts doing all the time, but it’s pretty disingenuous to say this CPU is coming to the market in Q4. There is absolutely no way we’re getting a 5 GHz 28-core CPU as either a desktop part or server part. Maybe we’ll get a 28-core CPU that hits 5 GHz as a single-core Turbo frequency, but 5 GHz all-core when the current flagship Xeon Platinum 8180 tops out at 3.2 GHz all-core? Yeah, that’s not happening.

    What Intel did at Computex is the equivalent of saying an i7-8700K is a 7 GHz CPU. Sure, it can hit 7 GHz as an overclocked part on extremely high-end motherboards with exotic cooling like LN2, but no consumer buying an 8700K is reaching 7 GHz in typical scenarios. They will be able to overclock it above Intel’s rated specifications, but not to the extremes possible with chillers bolted on to the CPU.

    This is in stark contrast to AMD’s announcement for Threadripper 2. Their 32-core CPU is a real product and it’s likely coming to market in August. It will be available for consumers, they will be able to put it in existing X399 boards, and they’ll be able to achieve the performance AMD showed on stage. AMD’s demo had the CPU clocked at a 3.0 GHz base and 3.4 GHz all-core boost, running on air cooling with the Wraith Ripper.

    That’s a reasonable configuration for enthusiast and workstation users of AMD’s Threadripper platform. The prototype 32-core CPU had a TDP of 250W, while Intel’s 5 GHz 28-core CPU could easily have been 500W or even 1 kW with the overclock they were using. It’s not even in the same ballpark: AMD’s Threadripper 2 launch was a reflection of reality; a real CPU with real specs that you will be able to purchase. Intel’s 5 GHz 28-core CPU showcase was pure fantasy.

    And basically, this is where things currently sit with Intel and AMD’s HEDT platforms. AMD had the capacity to push up to 32 cores with Threadripper 2 on the existing TR4 socket and X399 platform. After all, they already have 32-core Epyc CPUs on the market, so it wasn’t exactly difficult for them to bring that technology over to HEDT. They didn’t need to reinvent anything: they simply upped the number of active dies on Threadripper from 2 to 4 -- and boom -- there’s a 32-core consumer desktop CPU. AMD’s multi-die approach with the Infinity Fabric interconnect makes this jump from 16 to 32 cores straightforward; their development work on the Infinity Fabric is now bearing fruit, ripe for picking as incredibly high-performance desktop CPUs.

    On the other hand, Intel practically has their hands tied on the HEDT segment. Their top-end Core i9-7980XE pushes 18 cores on the X299 and LGA2011 platform, pushing that platform to the limits in terms of core count. Their server chips top out at just 28 cores on a single, massive die with low yields, on a completely different socket and platform, at prices exceeding $8,000.

    To compete with Threadripper 2, Intel would be forced to rip out the LGA3647 socket from their Xeon server line and shove it into high-end desktop motherboards. Then take their ultra-expensive Xeon 28-core chip and possibly push clocks even higher, all while remaining competitive on pricing.

    But will they do it? Or rather, do they have to?

    We were pleasantly surprised last year when Intel reacted to Ryzen by offering competitive processors across the board, and we’re very interested to see what Intel does with their HEDT line towards the end of this year. Whatever it is their “5 GHz 28-core” CPU actually becomes for consumers, we don’t expect it to come close to what they showcased at Computex.

    For now, it’s clear that Intel wanted to create a diversion and steal some of AMD’s thunder a day early, showing Cinebench numbers so ridiculous that Threadripper 2nd-gen didn’t look as menacing. But when time comes and only one of the two companies delivers the goods you can actually buy, then you’ll be able to vote with your wallet. We can’t say we liked the misleading demo, but hey, the CPU wars are back and that’s only great news for consumers.

    Masthead image: Sam Chen, Custom PC Review

    Permalink to story.

    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 12, 2018
  2. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 2,842   +193

    When all this happens and settle I would be interested in next core and thread wars. My APU from AMD is very good. I have two of those here. Everything else is Intel. I am not overclocking anything anymore. Robust APU would be great along with the subsystem to handle such a system. We all here want speed, but speed in the pipeline guts too! We all can't forget those issues in the bottlenecks.
  3. SirChocula

    SirChocula TS Maniac Posts: 174   +183

    I advise any tech enthusiasts to check out AdoreTV on youtube with his video of Intel's scams through out the last few decades. This recent news is just another antic of theirs....truly deplorable.
  4. avioza

    avioza TS Maniac Posts: 214   +167

    Intel may still not have to be overly concerned, yet. I just chatted with an HP rep and he was publicly defending HP's generally exclusive line of Intel processors for 95% (my estimation from sitting through product offering meetings) of their business class offerings.

    I asked him his thoughts on AMD processors approaching or surpassing Intel's performance on workload tests for 3d rendering and extreme excel processing. Hi response: "You wont find many real world situations where performance on that level will make much of a difference especially for a company like yours."

    Intel still has a stranglehold on the business market but when you start hearing that from sales reps I have to imaging its just a matter of time before a big retail company starts presenting their business lineup with more AMD hardware offerings.
  5. HardReset

    HardReset TS Guru Posts: 653   +263

    That's not surprising. We have seen that when AMD has better CPU's, AMD's retail CPU market share is over 50% but on server side AMD did not get real foothold even when offering chips for free. That just proves how stupid server buyers are compared to retail buyers.

    That quote from HP rep just proves that. Dumbasses.
    TempleOrion and wiyosaya like this.
  6. seeprime

    seeprime TS Guru Posts: 403   +430

    Our small shop has switched entirely to Ryzen processors now after we tested a Ryzen 3 2200G and found that it can play most high end games at ~30 fps using AMD's overclocking tools, at 1080p. This will satisfy most younger kids. The target for this machine are freshly minted teens looking to be gamers with their parents money. When they can afford to upgrade, the box will be ready. Intel can't even come close at the $99 price point.
  7. ChuckyDhaBeast

    ChuckyDhaBeast TS Enthusiast Posts: 50   +29

    I was thinking about this being an other amd fanboy article, but after reading, I totally agree with you!
  8. collector1924

    collector1924 TS Rookie

    AMD is really trying to invade the Server Space and the advantages of AMD in single socket servers is so large that
    it can't be ignored not just phyiscial size and space requirements but power and cooling requirements and the kicker is licensing costs which may be halved for vmware, citrix oracle etc who price by CPU clearly AMD is going to hurt Intel in the datacenter..
    Charles Olson, wiyosaya and HardReset like this.
  9. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 11,579   +5,139

    Yeah, seems strange when you can't argue with the article or comments.
    rpjkw11, wiyosaya, Capaill and 2 others like this.
  10. Gahl1k

    Gahl1k TS Member Posts: 24   +18

    Seems like AMD is paying well these days.
  11. Puiu

    Puiu TS Evangelist Posts: 3,570   +2,050

    You can thank Intel for making things easy for everyone :D
  12. Azshadi

    Azshadi TS Booster Posts: 48   +44

    Jesus.... Give it a rest AMD does not have the better CPUs, they just have the right price for them. Oh and in the mobile department AMD has jack-all except for higher prices and if we're talking ultrabooks Ryzen has a lot of catching up to do, but not at the prices AMD is currently asking for mobile parts. As for the data center as long as Intel has contracts on the roll nobody is taking them out. Every one of those contracts comes with a clause for early termination, corporate is a different thing, if the contracts run out or the party involved ties up another contract with AMD that's their business, but Intel isn't going away form the data centers or the business side of things. So stop looking at this crap like the end user is the only thing out there.... Amazon has their business 95% on intel parts so does Micrsoft and so do others. The only thing AMD is doing right now and in a good way is being disruptive and will kick Intel into overdrive (if they didn't do that already).
  13. Tokey

    Tokey TS Rookie

    Lol sneaky sneaky Intel..
    I still find it funny people take sides and teams in pc components. But the best damn product for you at the time of purchase. Yea Intel pulled a fast one here . .. But seems like what I'm reading is just butthurt.
    Especially regarding gpus the fanboys argue over everything. Like.... if one card is cheaper, runs as fast or faster than the other product at lower temps, hm that might be the one you buy. This was clearly the Nvidia cards, out performing Vega over all.

    Now new line up is coming soon, same scenario ppl.... not that hard .
  14. Timucin

    Timucin TS Rookie

    Core counts make especially bigger difference exactly like 3D Rendering or CFD simulations type of tasks. So in my opinion, your sales rep is misleading you.
    Charles Olson, wiyosaya and HardReset like this.
  15. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 4,164   +3,766

    Perfect example of why we don't jump to the comments people. None of this comment has anything to do with the article.
  16. Azshadi

    Azshadi TS Booster Posts: 48   +44

    Good thing you showed up to class the place up. It was just my opinion and I really don't care if you share it or not.
  17. Camikazi

    Camikazi TS Evangelist Posts: 981   +339

    I think they meant how your ran off about AMD not being better and how Intel rulz when the article was just talking about how Intel pretty much lied about a 28 core 5GHz CPU that will not be available to take eyes from AMDs very real new Threadripper. Evernessince was just saying that the point of this article went about 2 miles above your head and you should have read it and paid attention.
    R Car, Charles Olson, Route44 and 9 others like this.
  18. Azshadi

    Azshadi TS Booster Posts: 48   +44

    I'll just drop it. I wasn't aiming at the bloody article, but yeah, "read the article and pay attention". Cute.
  19. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 4,164   +3,766

    Share your off topic opinion in a forum post, not in the news section. Wrong place wrong time.

    The article is about Intel's 28-core 5 GHz demonstration and you made an Intel vs AMD post. Completely off topic.
  20. TheBigFatClown

    TheBigFatClown TS Evangelist Posts: 746   +275

    I am happy to say I bought my first AMD processor (over an Intel) in ... years ... precisely because I go for the best-bang-for-the-buck.

    And that was AMDs Raven Ridge 2200G for me. I had my heart set on buying a Coffee Lake CPU (mostly liked the name) but then Raven Ridge came out of nowhere for me (I was out of the loop a bit about future CPUs) with the integrated Vega graphics and really impressed with what I was reading about the new CPUs. Thanks to TechSpot for the great reviews on those Raven Ridge CPUs.

    Shame on Intel. Thank you AMD. The consumer wins!

    Edit: Previously owned processors were SandyBridge, IvyBridge, and Haswell i5-4590. And, I still have a Skylake G4500 I'm keeping around as a backup system if I need it. "God forbid!"
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2018
    Charles Olson likes this.
  21. jpeters36

    jpeters36 TS Rookie

    not denying intels practices, but you are claiming AMD is any different? you like like a whole generation of ships that claimed "x" amount of cores when only half the cores could receive instructions at once? or that they focus on core count and higher frequency because they sound good for marketing while the actual output falls short.. little thing called instruction set per clock isn't as sexy as 5 GHz (or whatever) but an enthusiast understands the importance and the benchmarks have intel chips at top for most price points.
    hahahanoobs likes this.
  22. jpeters36

    jpeters36 TS Rookie

    Intel has nothing to compete with the AMD APUs and love that AMD is putting up enough fight to make intel squirm a bit..but this dis-allusion that AMD is any more pro consumer is dumb founding.. out side of the APUs benchmarks would still lead me to believe the best value at most price points still fall at an intel /nvidia combo
  23. NahNood

    NahNood TS Addict Posts: 124   +65

    "great news for consumers." – So true, although one company is scum. haha
  24. Emayekayee

    Emayekayee TS Rookie

    TL;DR version: "Intel uses strategy normally employed by AMD's GPU divisions."
    Gahl1k and hahahanoobs like this.
  25. Lionvibez

    Lionvibez TS Evangelist Posts: 1,477   +644

    lol typical intel fanboy trying to hide behind off topic post they are easy to spot.

    I'm looking forward to TR2 may have a build in my future.

    And not really surprised about Intel and the shenanigans its their MO.

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