Intel has sent the clearest signal possible that it is indeed threatened by AMD's Zen microarchitecture Epyc processors: directly badmouthing the parts in a presentation to press.
Announced back in March as Naples following considerable leaks and formally launched late last month, Epyc brings AMD's Zen microarchitecture to the data centre with the promise of a top-end model featuring 32 cores and 64 threads with support for 64 PCI Express 3.0 lanes and 4TB of DDR4 memory across 16 memory channels in a dual-socket system.
Those are specifications which, combined with pricing set to roughly half that of comparable rival processors, could give Intel cause for concern - and the company has telegraphed definite worry with the release of a slide deck claiming companies looking to implement Epyc processors will be facing 'a multi-year effort' to develop an ecosystem to rival its own.
In a presentation to selected press outlets last month, recently published for public consumption on Computer Base, Intel is quick to badmouth AMD's Epyc parts. 'Expect software optimisations needed for Naples, just like Ryzen,' the deck warns. 'Software [is] not optimised for AMD's 4 die/socket implementation. [It's] likely a multi-year investment to develop, optimise, and validate an ecosystem.'
Intel's press briefing deck also attacks the very core of AMD's Naples design, as well as the company itself. '[It's a] repurposed desktop product for server,' the company claims. 'Inconsistent performance from 4 glued-together desktop die [sic]; poor track record, inconsistent supplier; lack of ecosystem.'
Although Intel's presentation does, eventually, get into more technical arguments - such as the potential latency bottleneck between Epyc's four dice and each individual die's access to only two of the eight memory channels - the language used is unusual for Intel, which has typically avoided direct comparison to the competition over the last decade or so. For AMD, the presentation serves as definite validation that it has Intel concerned - though the company still has a long road to travel to see its chips challenge Intel's near-monopoly of the highly-profitable data centre market.