In this benchmark and review piece, we are going to look at the Intel Xeon W-1290P which is the top-end SKU in this generation. With 10 cores and 20 threads, it seemingly offers a 25% core/ thread uplift over the previous generation. In our review, we are going to show that core counts alone are not the whole story, as there is more going on with this part. The Intel Xeon W line is designed as the W or “Workstation” equivalent to the Intel Core series. As such, this is an SKU meant for more professional workstations rather than enthusiast PCs. In this review, we are going to see what it offers. Intel Xeon processor
Intel Xeon W-1290P Overview
Key stats for the Intel Xeon W-1290P: 10 cores / 20 threads with a 3.7GHz base clock and 5.3GHz turbo boost. There is 20MB of onboard cache. The CPU features an 125W TDP. These are $539 list price parts. Here is the Intel Ark page for your reference.
Here is the lscpu output for the chip:
After a foray into calling its lower-end Xeon’s the “Entry” series or Intel Xeon E-2000 series, Intel has circled back to the 1200 naming convention. We chronicled the original transition in Looking back at Intel Xeon E3-1200 V1-V6 to the New Xeon E-2100. We also had a ton of Intel Xeon E-2100 and Xeon E-2200 coverage on STH. We now have the Intel Xeon W-1200 series of Comet Lake Xeons for the workstation market. Still built on venerable Intel 14nm, this is one of the last CPUs that Intel will release on 14nm process before moving ahead.
The Xeon W-1290P is a successor to the Intel Xeon E-2288G in many ways. We still get integrated P630 graphics and ECC memory support. What we gain is two more cores and four more threads continuing a trend of big increases in this line. Both CPUs share the $539 price point Intel uses as the top-end of its segment.
Hitting 5.3GHz while adding more cores means that we get a big TDP bump as well. While the Xeon E-2288G was a 95W TDP part, the Xeon W-1290P is a 125W TDP part. This represents around a 32% increase in TDP. One should be mindful that there is a provision to down-configure the TDP back to 95W to maintain compatibility with cooling from previous generations.
In essence, what we are getting is 25% more cores and 32% higher TDP to let all of the cores run at a higher clock speed. This has a big impact because while the core counts are increasing, there are more static structures such as the iGPU and memory controllers that are present even on 8-core parts so the net impact is more power for all of the cores.
Here is our basic configuration for this class of CPU:
Motherboard: Supermicro X12SAE
CPU: Intel Xeon W-1290P
RAM: 2x 16GB DDR4-2933 ECC UDIMMs
SSD: Intel DC S3710 400GB
SATADOM: Supermicro 32GB SATADOM
The CPU itself supports up to 128GB of RAM, in a 4x 32GB configuration. We see these platforms using 16-64GB or less given cost sensitivities. One can also use ECC memory, but be aware these are unbuffered DIMMs not RDIMMs.
There are going to be folks who want to point to AMD alternatives. On the consumer/ enthusiast side, the AMD Ryzen platforms are incredibly competitive offering more cores. We have also seen a few Ryzen server platforms such as the ASRock Rack X570D4I-2T. The Xeon W-1200 series is focused on segments of the market where large OEMs are selling workstations to corporate clients.