Does the 6258R Make Sense for Intel?

For this test, I wanted to compare the difference between Intel’s Xeon Platinum 8280 and Intel’s Xeon Gold 6258R. These processors are practically identical on paper for any regular 1P or 2P server, offering up 28 cores at 2.7-4.0 GHz, however the Gold 6258R has a list price that saves over $6000 compared to the Platinum 8280.

As per our regular testing procedure, I put both CPUs in our 1P LGA3647 test system and ran through our performance benchmarks. We also took power measurements, latency measurements, and idle-to-turbo measurements. Everything came out the same. Without the name of the CPU on the heatspreader, or a different CPU string when probed, no-one would be able to tell the difference in a 1P or 2P environment.

So if anyone is thinking of deploying Intel’s high-end Xeon Platinum 8280s in anything less than a eight-socket system, don’t bother. Save a few grand per CPU and gain the plaudits of your boss – unless they start asking questions about why the infrastructure doesn’t have the latest ‘Xeon Plutonium’ things they’re heard about.

Jokes aside, the pragmatic question to ask is:

Has Intel shot itself in the foot with the 6258R?

Intel often repeats (as does AMD) that the majority of its server customers exist in that 1P and 2P spectrum. An offering like the 6258R replaces the 8280 in all aspects for that, giving Intel an effective performance-per-dollar improvement of 2.5x, while at the same time lowering its selling price - when we compare the prices, Intel stands to lose $6000 per processor sold.


However, Intel launched the 8280 in April 2019 as the flagship – the 6258R only came out in February 2020. Anyone who wanted the perfromance of the 8280 in that time frame already purchased one. At the same time, a few months later, the company has launched its 3rd Generation Xeon Scalable platform, known as Cooper Lake. We’ve covered Cooper Lake in detail, but the short information is that it is an OEM platform designed for 4-socket and 8-socket servers. Any customer who needs servers that large are now going to look at Cooper Lake as the leading product, meanwhile the 1-socket and 2-socket customers are still on the Cascade Refresh options.

At this point, the 8280 is a dead product for Intel.

  • Users who want the 4-8 socket compatibility and performance can now get the 8380H/HL.
  • Users who want the 1-2 socket compatibility and performance will go for the 6258R.

If you’re wondering where the 6258R stacks up against AMD, we’re in the process of re-testing the parts we have on hand as we go through our regression testing. The EPYC 7542 is probably the best comparison point (32C, 2.9-3.4 GHz, 225W, $3400), however we’ll have to look into getting one of those.


Test Bed and Benchmarks


View All Comments

  • Santoval - Friday, August 7, 2020 - link

    Virtualization is tricky for Ryzen, but it is not tricky for Threadripper and it is *certainly* not tricky for Epyc. AMD need to fix their shit in order to successfully compete in this market because it's an utter shame if workstation and server customers prefer Intel due to its "robustness" alone. Reply
  • Santoval - Friday, August 7, 2020 - link

    p.s. Though, come to think about it, there is nothing "robust" about Intel's multiple security flaws. These matter to server buyers because if things go sideways due to these flaws they are liable to lawsuits by their customers and they can also suffer damage to the reputation and trustworthiness of their company. Reply
  • Santoval - Friday, August 7, 2020 - link

    p.s. By the way, the "strange performance behaviors that don't happen on Intel (no resolution in sight)" bit was way too vague and arbitrary. As stated it means nothing, so could you please clarify? Reply
  • ZoZo - Friday, August 7, 2020 - link

    I did some benchmarks under Linux, and some of them (a small minority) showed some drastic performance drops when run in virtual machines under KVM (kernel 5.7), as much as 80% in one case. That did not happen when I tested with a Xeon W-2295 before. I spent hours trying to find what was wrong, tinkering with many variations of settings for the VMs. Turns out switching from KVM to ESXi 7.0 kind of fixed the problem. So most probably not a problem with the silicon, but it still showed me that software support can be shaky in some areas. Reply
  • eek2121 - Friday, August 7, 2020 - link

    Honestly, I tend to look past a lot of the defenses for Intel, but claiming perf/watt doesn't matter? At least I know you aren't in IT. I deal with a very large amount of companies where the difference of a single watt can determine whether dozens of people have jobs or not. Why? because a single server may not matter much, but thousands? they matter a lot . Reply
  • ZoZo - Saturday, August 8, 2020 - link

    I'm not trying to defend Intel, what is it with all you binary-thinking people. I just bought AMD for myself and after some struggle am finally happy with it. I'm only telling what I suspect could be a reason to still pick Intel today, after what I've experienced with an AMD platform.
    Where did I say that performance/watt didn't matter? Please, point it out.
    I said it's not just about that, meaning that it's not the only thing that might need to be considered.
    It's getting annoying to have to explain to compensate for poor reading skills.
  • npz - Saturday, August 8, 2020 - link

    All of those cited are software bugs. Think about how the FLR reset issue was fixed in the Linux *kernel* NOT a hardwarre or firmware revision. And nested Hyper-V will come down to Microsoft fixing it, not AMD. On the other hand, just use another virtualization solution inside as a guest instead like Vmware or Vbox Reply
  • WaltC - Friday, August 7, 2020 - link

    Yes, and how do we know it hasn't changed already?...;) I think it has. Hallelujah, it's about time! This article reminds me of the Intel monopoly Halcyon days when Intel had no high-end x86 competition--the years after the Operon/A64 peak but prior to the AMD Zen debut with Zen 2 a year ago. Let's hope that Intel would iron out most problems in its architectures after essentially rehashing them for many years...;) Milking the cow until the cow ran dry...! Time for something new, Intel..chop, chop...! Reply
  • yankeeDDL - Friday, August 7, 2020 - link

    6000 premium for more socket support, seems precisely one of those tricks played by a market monopolist that I am glad to see ending. Reply
  • Spunjji - Friday, August 7, 2020 - link

    Indeed. One wonders what the point of setting the price that much higher really is if, in fact, none of their customers ever actually pay that price. Perhaps it's merely to make giving "discounts" that much easier, and/or to provide an opportunity to milk the wealthiest customers. Reply

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