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Intel’s Sapphire Rapids Formal Launch Date Revealed

Intel plans to formally introduce its 4th Generation Xeon Scalable processors codenamed Sapphire Rapids on January 10, 2023, the company revealed via Twitter this week. Some of Intel’s next generation datacenter CPUs are already shipping to select customers, but in January actual machines based on these processors will be available for purchase. 

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Intel’s 4th Generation Xeon Scalable represents a major evolution of the company’s datacenter platforms. Sapphire Rapids introduces a brand-new microarchitecture to the datacenter and increases a core count of up to 60 cores. It also brings in support for Advanced Matrix Extensions (AMX), Dynamic Load Balancer (DLB), Intel Data Streaming Accelerator (DSA), Intel In-Memory Analytics Accelerator (IAA), and Intel QuickAssist Technology (QAT) to accelerate specific workloads. On the Eagle Stream platform level, Sapphire Rapids brings PCIe Gen 5 support with the CXL 1.1 protocol on top, DDR5 and HBM2E memory support to an x86 CPU. 

To a large degree, Intel’s next generation Xeon Scalable is a combination of high core count and special-purpose accelerators, something the datacenter world has not seen before at this scale, as traditionally servers use general-purpose CPUs and special-purpose accelerators. 

Adding so many features increased the number of hardware bugs and Intel had to fix around 500 of them, according to media reports. Since Intel had to do 12 respins of its Sapphire Rapids CPUs, it had to delay its CPU launch from 2022 to 2023. 

Apparently, Intel’s Sapphire Rapids is now on its home straight and Intel can release these processors in high volumes and for all kinds of its clients. It remains to be seen how quickly Intel and its partners can ramp up volume production of servers based on the 4th Generation Xeon Scalable processors, but keeping in mind that server makers have been playing with the Eagle Stream platform for a while, the ramp could be accelerated

Another interesting thing to note is that Intel’s Eagle Stream will also support Intel’s 5th Generation Xeon Scalable codenamed Emerald Rapids processors that are also due in 2023, according to the chip giant. But will they arrive on time?