Intel has officially launched its promised 28-core 56-thread (28C56T) Xeon W-3175X workstation processor, which it claims is 'built for select, highly-threaded and computing-intensive applications' - but only for those willing to stump up the $2,999 per-unit asking price.

Teased by Intel as an answer to the ever-increasing core count of rival AMD's Threadripper workstation products, the Intel Xeon W-3175X has yet to make it to the company's Ark product database - but is, it claims, now available to system builders worldwide. Running at a base 3.1GHz clock speed and boosting to 4.3GHz, the chip includes 28 physical cores and HyperThreading support for 56 simultaneous threads, 38.5MB of combined Intel 'Smart Cache', support for up to 512GB of DDR4 ECC memory at 2,666MHz across six channels, offers up to 68 PCI Express lanes depending on platform implementation, and offers an unlocked multiplier for those willing to try their hand at overclocking the beast.

All this, though, comes at a considerable cost on two fronts: The workstation-focused part comes in at a whopping 255W thermal design profile (TDP), meaning that a hefty liquid-cooling system is a must, while the recommended channel pricing based on 1,000-unit trays is $2,999 per unit (around £2,740 inc. VAT). To address the former, Intel has partnered with Asetek to design a custom all-in-one liquid-cooling system, the 690LX-PN, which the company claims is rated for a 500W TDP and based around a 360mm radiator manufactured from copper and brass. The cooler isn't included as standard, though, with Asetek setting a retail price of $399 (around £365 inc. VAT).

Intel has shied away from comparing the chip to AMD's Threadripper or Epyc families but has hinted at the performance users can expect by measuring build times for the Unreal Engine Infiltrator Demo: According to the company's testing, the Xeon W-3175X builds the demo around 1.52 times faster than the Intel Core i9-9980XE part, which has only 18 cores and 36 threads (18C36T).

Intel has confirmed it has no plans to make the chip available at retail, but that those interested in splashing out on a high-end workstation will find pre-built systems available from selected original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in the near future.

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October 14 2021 | 15:04