Intel’s Return to HEDT? Xeon W9-3495X Hits Geekbench

Intel is set to roll out its Xeon W-2400 and Xeon W-3400-series processors for high-end desktops (HEDTs) and extreme workstations on February 15, and as their launch date looms, the first benchmark results have begun to leak. As it usually happens, this time around Intel’s upcoming HEDT flagship — the 56-core Xeon W3495X — landed in the Geekbench 5 database (via @Benchleaks), which is proof that the CPU is in the wild already. 

Intel’s return to HEDT and extreme workstation space is important by itself. In recent years, AMD essentially ousted Intel from these markets with its Ryzen Threadripper processors. However, Intel’s Sapphire Rapids design enables Intel to re-enter the game with high core counts, decent clocks, and support for up to 4TB of DDR5 memory. In addition, it appears that Intel will offer multiple X-series models with an unlocked multiplier for those that want to overclock their machines. 

Intel’s flagship Xeon W3495X CPU packs 56 high-performance Golden Cove cores and a massive 105MB L3 cache. It runs at a default clock of 1.90 GHz and can accelerate to 4.80 GHz when possible, so expect it to offer quite decent performance. Meanwhile, the sample listed in the Geekbench 5 database ran at around 3.20 GHz (which is too low). It allegedly also used a quad-channel memory subsystem, so we shouldn’t come to any serious conclusions about the CPUs’ performance. 

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Xeon W9-3495XRyzen Threadripper Pro 5995WX
General specifications56C/112T, 1.90 GHz – 3.20GHz, 105MB L364C/128T, 2.70 GHz – 4.50 GHz, 256MB L3
Single-Core | Integer11201316
Single-Core | Float13381719
Single-Core | Crypto30913832
Single-Core | Score12841563
Multi-Core | Integer3357746049
Multi-Core | Float4032249414
Multi-Core | Crypto6136144987
Multi-Core | Score4032247005

Platform-wise, Intel’s new W790 provides PCIe Gen5 (by CPU), 16 PCle 4.0 lanes, up to 12 PCle 3.0 lanes, up eight SATA ports, up to five USB 3.2 Gen2x2 connections, up to 10 USB 3.2 Gen2 ports, Wi-Fi 6E capabilities, and supports two 2.5GbE PHY controllers.

 Obviously, all reliability, availability, and serviceability capabilities of modern Intel Xeon processors are also supported, just like things like virtual RAID on CPU (VROC), and remote management. Of course, HEDTs and workstations would certainly benefit from Thunderbolt 4 and Wi-Fi 7, so we would expect workstation makers to install the appropriate controllers themselves. 

In any case, for now, it appears that Intel is about to re-enter HEDT and extreme workstation markets, giving AMD’s Ryzen Threadripper Pro 5000WX-series CPUs a strong rival for the first time in years.