Intel Xeon 6 - The Next Generation Arrives

Posted on 04 June, 2024

After 5 generations of Xeon® Scalable, a rebrand from Intel for their next generation of server CPU’s will see the introduction of Intel® Xeon® 6. The goal is to simplify the CPU stack and provide a more unified product branding. There will be multiple Xeon 6 variants, based around a new server platform called Birch Stream.

Drilling further down, Xeon 6 has two upcoming microarchitecture options, codenamed Sierra Forest with up to 144 cores launching first, and Granite Rapids to follow later. These will utilise ‘Efficient’ (or E-core) and ‘Performance’ (or P-core) cores respectively. Both can handle general compute, but each will also be suitable for specific deployments and workloads. While these chips will not be compatible with older servers and will be using a new socket (so there will be no in place upgrades for existing hardware), there will be socket compatibility within the new E-core and P-core ranges, but more on that later.

With the initial launch of Intel Xeon 6 with E-cores taking place on 4th June 2024, this new strategy sees Intel trying to meet customer needs across the broadest range of data center workloads, segments and deployment models.

Let's dive in...

Xeon 6 Arrives

The requirements for data centre infrastructure are changing and workloads are demanding not only Performance per Core and Performance per Watt but also Performance per VM and Performance per Socket. For example, modern ‘born-in-the cloud’ business models and the growth of microservices require a different category of processor that delivers higher core density at lower power.

To better serve today’s evolving compute requirements, Intel has expanded and optimised its Intel Xeon processor roadmap to address diverging customer needs and cover the broadest range of compute demand.

For the first time Intel is using Efficient and Performance cores on a server platform. This allows them to differentiate and target different workloads and market sectors. Of course, we have already seen this on its desktop/consumer range of CPU’s, with those chips offering both efficient and performance cores on the same silicon. With the server grade Xeon 6 CPU’s, each platform will have either efficient or performance cores and no SKU will have a mix of both types of cores on a single die.

Xeon 6 Processor with E-cores

Leading the launch lineup is the Sierra Forest platform.

Energy efficiency has become a critical factor for modern Cloud Computing and Data Centres, transforming the design of high-performance server processors to maximise computational performance while minimising power consumption. Efficient, or E-cores, are physically smaller and optimised for efficiency and performance-per-watt.

Therefore, the Xeon 6 processor with E-cores are optimised to deliver ultra-high-density compute in the most power-efficient manner. The focus for these chips will be general compute, cloud, networking, analytics and scale-out workloads.

These SKU’s will go up to 144 cores initially but one thing to keep in mind is that is no Hyperthreading with E-cores, keeping in line with the need to save power and maintain efficiency. We also see 8 DDR5 memory channel support with speeds of up to 6400MT/s.

A feature summary of the initial launch of Xeon 6 with E-cores can be seen below:

Further in the roadmap includes advanced SKUs of Intel processors with E-cores with up to 288 E-cores per CPU.

Xeon 6 Processor with P-cores

Further down the roadmap is Xeon 6 with Performance cores, scheduled for launch later this year. These chips are more in line with the Xeon Scalable that we have been using for years, with a focus on performance-per-core and more compute intensive workloads such as AI and HPC. 

These CPU’s will support 1-8 socket scaling, 136 PCIe 5.0 lanes, up to 12 channels of memory as well as support for the new Multiplexed Combined Rank DIMMs (MCR DIMMs).

More information will be revealed closer to the launch, but Boston servers that support Xeon 6700 series with E-cores will also support Xeon 6700 with P-cores when they release as they are socket compatible.

Boston Servers with Xeon 6

At Boston, we are at the forefront of server technology, ensuring we are ready to deploy the latest hardware solutions tailored to fit any requirements. For Xeon 6 this will be no different, with a range of Supermicro server SKU’s ready to go, as well as Xeon 6 CPU’s available for testing in our labs, get in touch today to book your test drive.

In terms of server hardware, an extensive range of options allow for a multitude of different workloads and market sectors, including but not limited to:

  • GPU servers: HPC, AI/ML, Rendering, VDI workloads and other deployments.  
  • Hyper: Flagship performance rackmount servers are built to take on the most demanding workloads along with the storage & I/O flexibility. 
  • CloudDC: All-in-one platform for cloud datacentres. 
  • SuperBlade: Supermicro's high-performance, density-optimised and energy-efficient multi-node platform. 
  • Multi-node: 2U 2-Node or 4-Node platform providing superior density, performance and serviceability. 
  • Enterprise Storage: Optimised for small and large-scale storage workloads. 
  • Workstations: Delivering data centere performance in portable, under-desk form factors, our workstations are ideal for AI, 3D design and media & entertainment workloads in offices, research labs and field offices.

Plus, many more can be seen here.

CPU Stack

The launch of Xeon 6 will see a range of E-core CPU’s hit the market, with core counts ranging from 64 to 144 cores.

The new range of server hardware from Boston will support the full range of Xeon 6700 with E-cores. As mentioned previously there is socket compatibly between platforms, so if a server supports the new Xeon 6700E, it will also support the 6700P due for release in Q1 2025.

See below for a summary of the Xeon 6 with E-cores lineup available now.

Final Words

Things are changing significantly with Xeon 6. A rebrand, it could be argued, was probably needed as the naming convention/CPU stack was getting confusing in previous releases. Xeon 6 should alleviate that. The move to Efficient cores and Performance cores will also be very interesting to see how the new strategy plays out. With E-cores being new to the enterprise CPU sector, performance per watt could be a promising new strategy and the high core counts means Intel could give the likes of ARM a run for their money.

The roadmap will be expanding to a wider range of options with 6300, 6500 and higher performing 6900 series joining the 6700 with E-cores that have already been released. At Boston Labs we will be sure to benchmark the Xeon 6 with E-cores soon and will report back with our findings.

Boston Labs is all about enabling our customers to make informed decisions in selecting the right hardware, software and overall solution for specific and bespoke requirements. If you’d like to request a test drive of Xeon 6 with E-cores, please get in touch by emailing [email protected] or call us on 01727 876100 and one of our experienced sales engineers will gladly guide you through building the perfect solution just for you.

You can also register for your test drive here.

Author:
Sukhdip Mander
Field Application Engineer
Boston Limited

Tags: Intel, xeon, xeon6, processors, cpu, next gen Intel, launch, Intel launch

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