Intel launches its most powerful processor to date with 28 unlocked cores

Intel launches its most powerful processor to date with 28 unlocked cores

It's been an interesting year for Intel, and in some respects, a challenging one. The Santa Clara chip maker has faced increased competition from AMD, which is firing on all cylinders with its Zen microarchitecture, and has been criticized for taking so long to deliver 10-nanometer CPUs in volume. It's a lot of noise, and today Intel has found a way to drown it out, even if only momentarily, with its biggest, baddest processor to date—the Xeon W-3175X.

The newest Xeon chip is a monster processor with 28 physical cores and 56 threads to throw at workloads. To be clear, it's not a consumer desktop chip, and for various reasons, it's not in contention to be our pick as the best CPU for gaming. That distinction still belongs to Intel's Core i9-9900K.

That said, the Xeon W-3175X could end up in systems that are used to create and render games.

"With the most cores and threads, CPU PCIe lanes, and memory capacity of any Intel desktop processor, the Intel Xeon W-3175X processor has the features that matter for massive mega-tasking projects such as film editing and 3D rendering," Intel says.

The new chip is built on Intel's 14nm++ manufacturing process (Skylake-SP). It operates at a 3.1GHz base frequency and has a single-core Turbo clock of 4.3GHz. For comparison, Intel's previous generation Xeon Platinum 8180, which is also a 28-core part, has a 2.5GHz base clock and 3.8GHz boost clock.

Intel's latest server silicon is capable of faster speeds. The Xeon W-3175X is also an unlocked chip, in case users want to try their hand at overclocking. Performance is further bolstered by 38.5MB of L3 cache, support for up to 68 PCIe lanes (44 PCie 3.0), and six-channel DDR4-2666 memory support.

Our friends at Anandtech posted a full review of the Xeon W-3175X, and though it's not meant for gaming, they included a bunch of gaming benchmarks in the mix. They also include comparison numbers for AMD's 32-core/64-thread Threadripper 2990WX and Epyc 7601 processors.

As for pricing, Intel set the MSRP at $2,999 for bulk trays (1,000 units).

Paul Lilly

Paul has been playing PC games and raking his knuckles on computer hardware since the Commodore 64. He does not have any tattoos, but thinks it would be cool to get one that reads LOAD"*",8,1. In his off time, he rides motorcycles and wrestles alligators (only one of those is true).