Intel Sapphire Rapids-AP, The Next-Gen Golden Cove Core Powered HEDT CPU Lineup, Rumored For Launch By End of 2022


It's been a while since we have heard about Intel's next-generation HEDT lineup and looks like the Sapphire Rapids-AP CPU family is due to launch later this year.

Intel Next-Gen Sapphire Rapids-AP HEDT CPU Lineup With Golden Cove Cores Launching Later This Year

The HEDT CPU segment hasn't seen much action over the past few years. Intel's 10th Gen Core-X lineup launched back in 2019 and AMD's last Threadripper family launched in early 2020. There's been some action in the workstation space from AMD with its Threadripper 'WX' parts but those haven't seen attention either since the Zen 2 parts that launched in early 2021. That might change later this year as AMD and Intel are both expected to introduce their next-gen HEDT lineups with Golden Cove and Zen 3 cores.

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In his latest series of tweets regarding the recently leaked Intel Sapphire Rapids-SP Xeon CPU benchmarks, YuuKi_AnS has pointed out that the blue team is preparing its next-gen HEDT CPU lineup which is codenamed 'Sapphire Rapids-AP'. This is quite interesting as the 'AP' moniker has previously been used for flagship Cascade Lake-AP parts featuring an MCM solution. The Sapphire Rapids-SP lineup already features an MCM design with four tiles featuring up to 15 cores (14 cores enabled) each. So in a sense, Sapphire Rapids-SP can also be considered as 'AP' variants but it looks like Intel may have decided to market their HEDT lineup as 'AP' instead of 'X'. There aren't enough details at the moment but it is mentioned that the lineup will be aimed at the high-end desktop segment and launch in late 2022.

Previous rumors have pointed out that while the HEDT lineup will be aimed at the desktop CPU segment, it will primarily serve the workstation segment.

Intel Sapphire Rapids - Xeon Workstation Platform

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Intel is also planning to further segmentize its Sapphire Rapids HEDT platform into two categories, a workstation, and a mainstream workstation platform. The standard workstation platform will be succeeding Ice Lake-W Xeon CPUs that launched back in 2020. These will feature up to 56 Golden Cove cores and as low as 12 cores that will boost beyond 4 GHz. It will be a diverse portfolio with lots of SKUs with TDPs scaling up to 350W for the flagship models. There are also various on-chip accelerators present on the Sapphire Rapids HEDT CPUs but it is not known whether these will be functional or disabled in the final models. As for pricing, they are expected between $3000-$5000 which puts it in the ultra-premium performance category.

In the SKU dissection posted below, there are at least four SKUs & three different platform configs starting with the Sapphire Rapids-SP XCC dies which will be aimed at the server market. These will be the full-blown parts and won't be a part of the Xeon Workstation HEDT family. Then there's the Sapphire Rapids-112L XCC dies which will offer up to 112 PCIe Gen 5.0 lanes and will be featured under the Workstation platform. This is followed with the Sapphire Rapids-SP MCC config which will offer medium core counts but with 8-Channel memory support while the entry-level  SPR-MSWS mainstream workstation platform will feature the same MCC die but with 4-channel DDR5 memory support.

Intel is going to offer at least four different SKU configurations in its Sapphire Rapids Xeon Workstation HEDT lineup. (Image Credits: MLID)The Fishhawk Falls platform is going to be a robust and next-gen ecosystem comprising 8-Channel DDR5-4400 (1DPC) / DDR5-4800 (2DPC) and up to 112 PCIe Gen 5.0 lanes. The motherboards look a lot like workstation tier products rather than server boards and will feature one socket.

Intel Sapphire Rapids - Xeon Mainstream Workstation Platform

The second platform is designed to be a more mainstream workstation offering and will replace the Cascade Lake-X and Xeon-W Skylake-X (Xeon W-3175X) chips. The core counts for the Sapphire Rapids CPUs within this lineup are expected to be around 28-36 cores (Golden Cove architecture) and will rock much higher clock speeds of up to 4.5 - 5.0 GHz. The CPUs will end up with around 300W TDPs however the top model can end up around 400W based on its final clock configuration.

Preliminary specifications of Intel's Sapphire Rapids HEDT Xeon Workstation CPUs. (Image Credits: MLID)

As for the platform, there's 8-Channel (non-ECC) and 4-Channel (EEC) DDR5 support & the number of PCIe Gen 5.0 lanes will drop to 64. The prices will be largely similar to the previous Core-X CPUs so we can expect around $500-$3000 US for these chips. Earlier rumors have suggested that the Fishhawk HEDT family will be based around the W790/C790 PCH but given that there are at least two platforms in the works, there might be a much higher-end PCH SKU. As for launch, Intel has been rumored to launch their next-gen HEDT CPU family in Q3 2022, around the same time as the 13th Generation Raptor Lake CPU lineup.

AMD on the other hand seems to have delayed or even canceled their Threadripper lineup based on the Chagall/Chagall 3D design. Intel is following AMD's route in branding their HEDT platform for Workstation users under the Xeon brand. AMD also did the same with their Threadripper Pro family. AMD will have the option to reschedule their Zen 3 Threadripper CPUs against Intel's Xeon workstation parts in mid of 2022 or delay the family entirely in favor of next-gen Zen 4 parts. AMD has so far been the undisputed king of the HEDT and Workstation CPU space with its Threadripper lineup but with Sapphire Rapids, Intel really has a chance to catch up and even retake some of the workstation/HEDT market share back from them. That will be something we have to wait and see.

Intel HEDT Processor Families:

Intel HEDT FamilySapphire Rapids-X? (Sapphire Rapids Expert)Alder Lake-X? (Sapphire Rapids Mainstream)Cascade Lake-XSkylake-XSkylake-XSkylake-XBroadwell-EHaswell-EIvy Bridge-ESandy Bridge-EGulftown
Process Node10nm ESF10nm ESF14nm++14nm+14nm+14nm+14nm22nm22nm32nm32nm
Flagship SKUTBATBACore i9-10980XEXeon W-3175XCore i9-9980XECore i9-7980XECore i7-6950XCore i7-5960XCore i7-4960XCore i7-3960XCore i7-980X
Max Cores/Threads56/112?24/4818/3628/5618/3618/3610/208/166/126/126/12
Clock Speeds~4.5 GHz~5.0 GHz3.00 / 4.80 GHz3.10/4.30 GHz3.00/4.50 GHz2.60/4.20 GHz3.00/3.50 GHz3.00/3.50 GHz3.60/4.00 GHz3.30/3.90 GHz3.33/3,60 GHz
Max Cache105 MB L345 MB L324.75 MB L338.5 MB L324.75 MB L324.75 MB L325 MB L320 MB L315 MB L315 MB L312 MB L3
Max PCI-Express Lanes (CPU)112 Gen 565 Gen 544 Gen344 Gen344 Gen344 Gen340 Gen340 Gen340 Gen340 Gen232 Gen2
Chipset CompatiblityW790?W790?X299C612EX299X299X99 ChipsetX99 ChipsetX79 ChipsetX79 ChipsetX58 Chipset
Socket CompatiblityLGA 4677?LGA 4677?LGA 2066LGA 3647LGA 2066LGA 2066LGA 2011-3LGA 2011-3LGA 2011LGA 2011LGA 1366
Memory CompatiblityDDR5-4800?DDR5-5200?DDR4-2933DDR4-2666DDR4-2800DDR4-2666DDR4-2400DDR4-2133DDR3-1866DDR3-1600DDR3-1066
Max TDP~500W~400W165W255W165W165W140W140W130W130W130W
LaunchQ3 2022?Q3 2022?Q4 2019Q4 2018Q4 2018Q3 2017Q2 2016Q3 2014Q3 2013Q4 2011Q1 2010
Launch PriceTBATBA$979 US~$4000 US$1979 US$1999 US$1700 US$1059 US$999 US$999 US$999 US