Intel vs AMD: 3rd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processors slower than AMD’s new data center server chip?

Intel’s new chip — 3rd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processors — will be slower than AMD’s new flagship data center server chip released last month, says the latest Reuters report.
Intel Navin Shenoy
Intel has introduced its newest flagship data center microprocessor, hoping its in-house manufacturing operations will help it navigate a chip shortage to better compete against rival Advanced Micro Devices Inc’s (AMD) faster chips.

The new “Ice Lake” chip is designed to be used by cloud computing providers and others who run data centers. Intel said it has already shipped about 200,000 test units.

New 3rd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processors deliver a significant performance increase compared with the prior generation, with an average 46 percent improvement on popular data center workloads.

The latest 3rd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processors deliver up to 40 cores per processor and up to 2.65 times higher average performance gain compared with a 5-year-old system. The platform supports up to 6 terabytes of system memory per socket, up to 8 channels of DDR4-3200 memory per socket and up to 64 lanes of PCIe Gen4 per socket.

The latest hardware and software optimizations deliver 74 percent faster AI performance compared with the prior generation and provide up to 1.5 times higher performance across a broad mix of 20 popular AI workloads versus AMD EPYC 7763 and up to 1.3 times higher performance on a broad mix of 20 popular AI workloads versus Nvidia A100 GPU.

The company said Intel Xeon Scalable processors are supported by more than 500 ready-to-deploy Intel IoT Market Ready Solutions and Intel Select Solutions that help to accelerate customer deployments — with up to 80 percent of our Intel Select Solutions being refreshed by end of year.
Intel Lisa Spelman
Lisa Spelman, corporate vice president in Intel’s Xeon and Memory Group, presented during the introduction of 3rd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processors.

Over 800 of the world’s cloud service providers run on Intel Xeon Scalable processors, and all of the largest cloud service providers are planning to offer cloud services in 2021 powered by 3rd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processors.

The latest 3rd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processors deliver on average 62 percent more performance on a range of broadly-deployed network and 5G workloads over the prior generation.

The platform delivers up to 1.56 times more AI inference performance for image classification than the prior generations.

Slower than AMD

Intel’s new chip will be slower than AMD’s new flagship data center server chip released last month. Intel years ago lost its speed lead because of fumbles with the in-house 10-nanometer manufacturing technology it uses to make the chip, while AMD outsources its server chip manufacturing to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd and has gained market share against Intel.

Intel is hoping that greater control over its supply chain – in addition to a portfolio of data storage, networking and other chips designed to work well with the “Ice Lake” processor – will help make the chips competitive during the midst of a global chip supply crunch, in part by mitigating customer concerns about shortages.

“Nobody else in the industry has the intersection of (intellectual property), architecture, design and manufacturing. We think that’s a particularly important differentiator for the company at a time when demand is exploding and supply is short,” Navin Shenoy, executive vice president and general manager of the data platforms group at Intel, told Reuters.

To fight the loss of its speed title, Intel has focused on tailoring its chips and systems to optimize them for specific kinds of computing. One area of focus has been 5G networks, which are shifting from being built on proprietary systems such as those from Huawei Technologies Co Ltd toward using commodity parts like Intel chips. Shenoy said Verizon Communications Inc plans to use the new “Ice Lake” chips.

Intel’s 5G push “gives economies that are worried about security issues or geopolitical tensions a lot more flexibility. They can lean on Western supply chains to build out their next-generation 5G infrastructure,” Shenoy said.