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Eat your heart out, quad-cores, Intel just dropped a 22-core CPU on us. Boom

Gordon Mah Ung | April 1, 2016
Intel's Xeon E5-2600 V4 will pack 22 Broadwell cores and Hyper-Threading.

Think your eight-core PC is cool? Not anymore. Intel is turning loose a 22-core monster of a CPU, dubbed the Xeon E5-2600 V4.

The CPU’s 22 count is made up of Broadwell cores, which when combined with Hyper-Threading, amounts to no fewer than 44 threads in a single-socket computer. On a dual-socket machine, you’re looking at 88 threads in a workstation. Yes, cue Johnny Dangerously joke here.

The new Xeon E5-2600 V4 hasn’t shown up on Intel’s ARK product list yet, but the top-end part with 22 cores is the Xeon E5-2699 V4 with a base clock speed of 2.2GHz, 55MB of cache, and a TDP that isn't that crazy at 145 watts. An enthusiast eight-core Haswell-E has a TDP of 140 watts, but runs at 3GHz and supports overclocking.

The price? A cool $4,115. That works out to $187 per core. The same eight-core Core i7-5960X at $1,059 is $132 per core—what a deal, right? The new Xeon series supports DDR4/2400 and up to 12 DIMMs per CPU socket. With registered modules that means 385GB of RAM per chip using 32GB DIMMs.

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This is the back of a 22-core, 44-thread Intel Xeon E5-2699 v4 chip. Cost? Just $187 per core.

OK, so you’re thinking this doesn’t apply to you, Jane or Joe Consumer. But high-core-count Xeons have historically found their way into all kinds of consumer machines. 

The Falcon Northwest Tiki I reviewed last year, in fact, featured a Xeon part in an Xbox-sized form factor. The Tiki’s Xeon, however, had a piddling 18 cores, based on Haswell. 

Xeons are also relevant to the prosumer crowd. Apple’s MacPro line, for instance, has long offered core-laden Xeons, as have Boxx’s workstations.

For the most part though, Intel’s big news impacts data centers more than desktop PCs.

“More processor cores are valuable in the data center as long as they have enough memory bandwidth and are big enough to get a lot of work done. This is because workloads can either be virtualized or containerized, which take advantage of multiple cores,” said Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst with Moor Insights & Strategy. “On the PC front, we’ve really moved to accelerated computing where a lot of the heavy lifting, particularly in gaming, VR, and in workstation workloads is being put on the GPU. The CPU is still very important in PCs, but not necessarily one with a ton of smaller cores.”

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Intel's Xeon E5 v4 server chips have up to 22 cores.

 

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