Intel’s 2nd Gen Xeon Scalable ‘Cascade Lake’ Refresh CPUs Announced – More Cores, More Threads, More Cache With Higher Perf/$

Feb 24, 2020
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As expected, Intel has launched its 2nd Generation Xeon Scalable 'Cascade Lake' Refresh family with several new SKUs offering higher core, thread, cache counts at better perf/dollar ratios to compete against AMD's 2nd Gen EPYC Rome CPUs. The new processors retain the 14nm process node which is now in its more advanced form to date, offering Intel to boost up the clock speeds even further.

Intel Refreshes Xeon Scalable 'Cascade Lake' Server CPU Family - Now With More Cores, Threads, Cache & Competitive Prices

The launch comes as no surprise as we had already got to know about Intel's 2nd Generation Xeon Scalable Refresh family of processors earlier this month. Today, Intel is officially unveiling the new lineup which is composed of 18 SKUs, ranging all the way from 8 to 24 cores. It's not a complete top-to-bottom refresh as Intel has primarily focused on its Gold, Silver and Bronze series while the Platinum line of Xeon Scalable processors remains unchanged.

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“Intel’s data-centric platforms offer the broadest market coverage of any server processor platform -– from the cloud, through the network, to the intelligent edge,” said Lisa Spelman, corporate vice president and general manager of the Xeon and Memory Group within Intel’s Data Platform Group. “Working closely with our customers, we are delivering these new server processors to address their performance and pricing needs across a broad range of markets and workloads.” - Intel

The Xeon Platinum line did receive price cuts last month so that has to be taken into account but the 2nd Gen family offers completely new specifications. Intel has reported up to 36% performance improvement and up to 42% more performance per dollar compared to its initial Xeon Cascade Lake lineup. According to Intel themselves, the new Xeon family brings:

  • Industry-leading frequencies for high-performance usages: New Intel Xeon Gold 6200 processors deliver up to 4.5 GHz processor frequency with Intel Turbo Boost Technology and up to 33% more processor cache, offering customers breakthrough performance for frequency-fueled workloads.
  • Enhanced performance for mainstream usages: New Intel Xeon Gold 6200R and 5200R processors deliver built-in value through a combination of higher base and Intel Turbo Boost Technology frequencies, in addition to increased processor cache.
  • Increased value and capability for entry-level, edge, networking and IoT usages: New Intel Xeon Gold 6200U, Silver 4200R, Silver 4210T and Bronze 3200R processors deliver increased value for single-socket entry-level servers, as well as edge, networking, and internet of things (IoT) usages.

Coming to the SKUs, all 18 SKUs are labeled with the 'R' suffix at the very end of their codename which indicates the Refresh part. As mentioned, most of these SKUs are part of the Xeon Gold and Xeon Silver segment while the Xeon Platinum CPUs would stick to their existing specifications. Intel has already announced some significant price cuts to its Xeon Platinum lineup recently without changing the specifications. However, recent benchmarks have shown that top-tier EPYC parts are still doing very well compared to whatever Intel has to respond with despite price cuts of several thousand dollars. An example would be the Xeon Platinum 8280 itself which has been cut from its original price of $18,000 US to $13,000 US.

There wasn't a 28 core part in the Xeon Gold segment so that's new. The Xeon Gold segment now also offers a faster 16 core variant while the Bronze line is upgraded to 8 cores versus 6 cores of the previous SKU. Following is the list of all the chips with their respective specifications. All across the board, we can see a boost in clocks, cores, threads, and cache which is a nice initiative by Intel to retain their server dominance with a market share of around 95%. Following is the specifications list for the complete lineup.

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Intel Cascade Lake Refresh Xeon Scalable Family Specs:

Cascade Lake Refresh SKU NameCores / ThreadsBase/Boost ClockCache / TDPCascade Lake SKU NameCores / ThreadsBase/Boost ClockCache / TDPPrice
Intel Xeon Gold 6258R28/562.7/4.0 GHz38.50 MB / 205WIntel Xeon Gold 625224/482.1/3.7 GHz35.75 MB/ 150W$3950 US
Intel Xeon Gold 625612/243.6/4.5 GHz33.00 MB / 205WN/AN/AN/AN/A$3900 US
Intel Xeon Gold 62508/163.9/4.5 GHz35.75 MB / 185WN/AN/AN/AN/A$3400 US
Intel Xeon Gold 6248R24/483.0/4.0 GHz35.75 MB / 205WIntel Xeon Gold 624820/402.5/3.9 GHz27.50 MB/ 150W$2700 US
Intel Xeon Gold 6246R16/323.4/4.1 GHz35.75 MB / 205WN/AN/AN/AN/A$3286 US
Intel Xeon Gold 6242R20/403.1/4.1 GHz35.75 MB / 205WIntel Xeon Gold 624216/322.8/3.9 GHz22.00 MB / 150W$2529 US
Intel Xeon Gold 6240R24/482.4/4.0 GHz35.75 MB / 165WIntel Xeon Gold 624018/362.6/3.9 GHz24.75 MB / 150W$2445 US
Intel Xeon Gold 6238R28/562.2/4.0 GHz38.50 MB / 165WIntel Xeon Gold 623822/482.1/3.7 GHz30.25 MB / 140W$2612 US
Intel Xeon Gold 6230R26/522.1/4.0 GHz35.75 MB / 150WIntel Xeon Gold 623020/402.1/3.9 GHz27.50 MB / 125W$1894 US
Intel Xeon Gold 6226R16/322.9/3.9 GHz22.00 MB / 150WIntel Xeon Gold 622612/242.8/3.7 GHz19.25 MB / 125W$1300 US
Intel Xeon Gold 6208U16/322.9/3.9 GHz22.00 MB / 150WN/AN/AN/AN/A$989 US
Intel Xeon Gold 5220R24/482.2/4.0 GHz35.75 MB / 150WIntel Xeon Gold 522018/362.2/3.9 GHz24.75 MB / 125W$1555 US
Intel Xeon Gold 5218R20/402.1/4.0 GHz27.50 MB / 125WIntel Xeon Gold 521816/322.3/3.9 GHz22.00 MB / 125W$1273 US
Intel Xeon Silver 4215R8/163.2/4.0 GHz11.00 MB / 130WIntel Xeon Silver 42158/162.5/3.5 GHz16.50 MB / 85W$749 US
Intel Xeon Silver 4214R12/242.4/3.5 GHz16.50 MB / 100WIntel Xeon Silver 421412/242.2/3.2 GHz16.50 MB / 85W$694 US
Intel Xeon Silver 4210R10/202.4/3.2 GHz13.75 MB / 100WIntel Xeon Silver 421010/202.2/3.2 GHz13.75 MB / 85W$501 US
Intel Xeon Silver 4210T10/202.3/3.2 GHz13.75 MB / 95WIntel Xeon Silver 4209 T8/162.2/3.2 GHz11.00 MB / 70W$554 US
Intel Xeon Bronze 3206R8/161.9 GHz11.00 MB / 85WIntel Xeon Bronze 32046/121.9 GHz8.250 MB / 85W$306 US

The only advantage that the Xeon Platinum lineup has on its own now is 8S support since the Gold series only support 2S configurations. Aside from that, the Gold series offers more competitive prices that may in fact put more pressure on sales figures for the Platinum lineup. All of the said chips are available starting today so they will show up on retail stores rather soon.

This refresh further confirms the reports of delays we are hearing regarding Intel's Cooper Lake and Ice Lake Xeon processors which have been pushed back by up to 3 months due to various instability issues. This would further increase the pressure on Intel as their 10nm and 14nm Xeon processors would be directly competing against AMD's 7nm+ EUV based EPYC Milan lineup which is going to feature the brand new Zen 3 core architecture which is confirmed to be one of AMD's biggest architectural upgrade since the original Zen core. But recent benchmarks have shown that the next-generation Xeon Scalable family is pushing some serious performance figures which if true might totally be worth the wait.

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