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Intel’s Cascade Lake-X HEDT CPUs Will Feature No Big Changes Over Skylake-X Chips – Will Feature Glacier Falls ‘X399’ Platform Support


With Intel done releasing their high-end desktop 'Skylake-X Refresh' lineup, we wait for their next-generation Cascade Lake-X lineup which is expected next year. Aiming for a late 2019 launch, the new family will yet again introduce us to a range of Core-X CPUs but are there going to be any major changes that we should look forward to? I think we have an answer.

Intel's Cascade Lake-X HEDT Lineup - More of the Same, No Big Changes, Support on Glacier Falls 'X399' Platform

Ashraf Essa from The Motley Fool has reported that we shouldn't expect big changes from the new HEDT Cascade Lake-X processors. Intel just recently launched their 9th Gen Core-X processors that are based on a refreshed design from Skylake-X. The main changes that we got to see on the new chips are the use of STIM (Soldered Thermal Interface Material) and slightly higher clock speeds. All of the rest is exactly the same as the 7th Gen Core-X parts. The process (14nm+) is the same and so is the architecture.

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Now coming to Cascade Lake-X, we know from the details of Cascade Lake-SP that it is based on the same architecture as Skylake-SP, but comes with a few changes. These include support for DL (Deep Learning Boost) and support for Optane DC Persistent Memory. The other major change is the hardware level mitigations for Spectre & Meltdown. There's also the 14nm++ process node which will help deliver high-frequencies and an optimized cache hierarchy.

Now if you look closely at these differences between the two server platforms, you will note that aside from some datacenter-centric changes that will only be available to servers, the HEDT line wouldn't be a big difference compared to the currently existing Skylake-X or Skylake-X Refreshed parts. We know that the cost of the Optane DC memory won't be a practical use case for HEDT use and DL Boost won't be a helpful feature to get better performance in gaming or regular desktop applications.

The boosted clocks would help but we may be looking at just +200 or +300 MHz gain which, to be honest, isn't that great as we are stuck with the same architecture and we know that 14nm++ gets really hot and uses lots of power with higher clocks. In addition to that, there's no mention of more cores on the SP parts so we may be stuck with 18 cores on the platform for a while.

Intel HEDT Processor Families:

Intel HEDT FamilyGulftownSandy Bridge-EIvy Bridge-EHaswell-EBroadwell-ESkylake-XSkylake-XSkylake-XCascade Lake-X
Process Node32nm32nm22nm22nm14nm14nm+14nm+14nm+14nm++
Flagship SKUCore i7-980XCore i7-3960XCore i7-4960XCore i7-5960XCore i7-6950XCore i9-7980XECore i9-9980XEXeon W-3175XCore i9-10980XE
Max Cores/Threads6/126/126/128/1610/2018/3618/3628/5618/36
Clock Speeds3.33/3,60 GHz3.30/3.90 GHz3.60/4.00 GHz3.00/3.50 GHz3.00/3.50 GHz2.60/4.20 GHz3.00/4.50 GHz3.10/4.30 GHz3.00 / 4.80 GHz
Max Cache12 MB L315 MB L315 MB L320 MB L325 MB L324.75 MB L324.75 MB L338.5 MB L324.75 MB L3
Max PCI-Express Lanes (CPU)32 Gen240 Gen240 Gen340 Gen340 Gen344 Gen344 Gen344 Gen344 Gen3
Chipset CompatiblityX58 ChipsetX79 ChipsetX79 ChipsetX99 ChipsetX99 ChipsetX299X299C612EX299
Socket CompatiblityLGA 1366LGA 2011LGA 2011LGA 2011-3LGA 2011-3LGA 2066LGA 2066LGA 3647LGA 2066
Memory CompatiblityDDR3-1066DDR3-1600DDR3-1866DDR4-2133DDR4-2400DDR4-2666DDR4-2800DDR4-2666DDR4-2933
Max TDP130W130W130W140W140W165W165W255W165W
LaunchQ1 2010Q4 2011Q3 2013Q3 2014Q2 2016Q3 2017Q4 2018Q4 2018Q4 2019
Launch Price$999 US$999 US$999 US$1059 US$1700 US$1999 US$1979 US~$4000 US$979 US

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For those who need more cores can go for the 28 core LGA 3647 parts with hexa-channel memory support but that would cost them 3-5x over what they pay for an LGA 2066 platform, so AMD might still keep the lead, especially if they can release a 64 core Threadripper part with Zen 2 cores next year.

Finally, there is talk that the Glacier Falls platform will feature the 'X399' chipset. We have heard about X399 a while ago which was later called Z399 by the same rumors. One interesting detail to be seen is that Intel kept their socket unchanged with the Basin Falls/refresh parts. Now that it is finally coming to an end, will Intel keep socket longevity on Glacier Falls or opt for a new one that only supports Cascade Lake-X chips and beyond.

Which 2019 High-End Desktop CPU Platform excites you the most?