Last year Intel unveiled a ’28-core’ processor aimed more towards enthusiasts and professionals rather than for servers. Despite the initial demo having a tenuous overclock and setup, we were given the specifications: 28 cores, running at a 3.1 GHz base frequency, a 4.3 GHz turbo frequency, a 255W official rated TDP, unlocked for overclocking, and ECC support for its six-channels of DDR4-2666. Pricing is still an unknown, and at the time Intel said it would be ready by the end of the year. That did not happen, but we still saw a couple of systems at CES which shows that it is close.

At the original demonstration in June 2018, we saw that both GIGABYTE and ASUS were the motherboard partners for this project. We got a good look at the GIGABYTE motherboard that was running the chip at that sky high 5.0 GHz, but it seems that the motherboard is still not ready for primetime, as no-one had it on display at CES, and it doesn’t even yet have a name. Instead we got an eyeful of ASUS’ Dominus Extreme in every W-3175X setup that was on display.

The Xeon W-3175X Recap

For users who have never heard of the Xeon W-3175X before, this new processor from Intel was somewhat of a surprise when it was first announced. It is Intel’s highest core count processor from its Skylake line of processors, and essentially a repurposed $10k server processor for the enthusiast/professional market. Intel has taken the silicon down to its Xeon W line, which is normally for workstation processors, but in this case they have also allowed the processor to be overclocked, the only Xeon W processor capable of doing so. Users have cried out for an unlocked version of Intel’s highest end server processors, and now this is it.

Intel Lineup
  Socket Cores Base
TDP Price
/ 1ku
Xeon W-3175X LGA3647 28 (56) 3.1 GHz 4.3 GHz 255 W $ ?
Xeon W-2195 LGA2066 18 (36) 2.3 GHz 4.3 GHz 140 W $ 2553
Core i9-9990XE LGA2066 14 (28) 4.0 GHz 5.1 GHz 255 W $ ?
Core i9-9980XE LGA2066 18 (36) 3.0 GHz 4.5 GHz 165 W $ 1979

The new processor requires an LGA3647 motherboard, but as far as we are aware it will not work in any standard LGA3647 motherboard, but specifically either the ASUS Dominus Extreme or GIGABYTE’s yet unnamed product. Intel guarantees a TDP of 255W for the base frequency of 3.0 GHz (see our post here as to why TDP only refers to base frequency), and a turbo frequency of 4.3 GHz. At this time we do not know the turbo profile of the processor, however we expect it to draw more than 255W at its peak. When overclocked, expect it to draw a lot more. For context, Intel’s 28-core 5.0 GHz demo was using a 1600W power supply and an 1800W water chiller to keep the processor cool.

At ASUS, With G.Skill Royal Memory

The color of gaming is red, and so ASUS ROG build using the Dominus Extreme was a system decked out in full red. The liquid cooling loop was red. The LEDs on the system were red. Even the memory, from G.Skill’s recently released Royal line, was red. Normally red in the animal kingdom signifies danger, but for personal computers, it means gaming.

On the top is one of EKWB’s water blocks covering the 32-phase power delivery, and the full system is paired with ASUS’ new ROG Matrix Geforce RTX 2080 Ti graphics cards. For memory, we see 12 x 16 GB = 192 GB of DDR4, which is almost enough for almost everyone.

The system was powered on, but not connected to anything. It didn’t even have a HDD, as given by the POST code shown by the OLED display on the top of the IO cover. This means it got past the CPU POST section, so there was definitely a CPU in there.

At Digital Storm: The Corsa

Instead of going for red, Digital Storm showed its new Corsa platform in white. This means fan LEDs in white, liquid cooling tinted white with white LEDs, and silver tipped memory to reflect the white. Inside the system we saw six Corsair Dominator DDR memory modules, and something in the special NVMe slot that ASUS uses on its motherboards. The system also had two RTX 2080 Ti graphics cards inside, both water cooled.

There is a total of sixteen 120mm fans here, with plenty of cooling focused into the radiator and pumps at the rear, but a solid airflow for the full system nonetheless. At the top we also see EKWB’s waterblock for the VRM.

Digital Storm told us that this specification of system will be around the $20k mark, however the Corsa will sell with a variety of platform options, ranging from $6k for the entry model up to $50k with maximum everything plus custom color options and decals for the case etc.

At Phanteks

This time we’re seeing a system go green. Phanteks’ setup was more to show off its chassis than the system, which is understandable given that Phanteks wants to sell you a case. Inside was a custom liquid cooling loop using Phanteks’ own CPU block, VRM cooling, and radiator/pump combination.

Phanteks was also keen to show that this system supports multiple power supplies, and its Revolt Pro line which can join multiple power supplies together to give sufficient power as well as required connectors. The ASUS motherboard has two 24-pin connections, one for extra overclocking, to which Phanteks states that they have the ideal hardware for such a setup.

The State of Play with the W-3175X

Intel said that the W-3175X would be available in Q4 2018, which has passed and gone. We’re being told that the product is still coming, with both Intel and ASUS looking to iron out wrinkles before bringing it to market. We have been told that the chip will be sold on its own at retail, however the preferred method of purchasing will be through custom builds from system integrators, such as the Digital Storm Corsa seen above. GIGABYTE is still working on their motherboard, which does not yet have a name.

We’re looking forward to seeing how Intel will distribute the platform and how it performs.

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  • twtech - Wednesday, January 23, 2019 - link

    The other Xeon-W processors are clocked higher than regular Xeons and cost less, but come with the restriction that they do not have multiprocessor support.

    *If* that was what the 3175 was, it would have been potentially appealing, as 28 cores is enough for a lot of workstation uses that can make use of higher core counts.

    But if it ends up costing $8k as rumored, that's a non-starter. In that case, even if you had that kind of money to spend on CPUs, two $4k regular Xeons that do support multiprocessing would likely serve whatever workload you have better than this chip.
  • zodiacfml - Tuesday, January 22, 2019 - link

    Chip shortage. If you can build it, sell it, regardless if customers take advantage of it.
  • Jcden - Tuesday, January 22, 2019 - link

    It's a hybrid cpu, just like the 7980xe, threadripper, 9980xe etc. It's designed for both games and workstation uses. It's ideal for game developers who develop and test their games all on the same PC.
  • Alexvrb - Tuesday, January 22, 2019 - link

    I've been thinking about Intel TDPs, both official and real TDPs (when tested at default settings). I can't help but feel that ever since Ryzen hit, Intel has been cranking out some thirsty enthusiast chips. They still have a solid architecture, but AMD has lit a fire under them to get 10nm full tilt ASAP. Even then, I think the 7nm chiplet approach has a lot of potential to be competitive in both performance and price.

    Truly, the competition is awesome to behold.
  • Ian Cutress - Wednesday, January 23, 2019 - link
  • ZeDestructor - Wednesday, January 23, 2019 - link

    Has there been any news on lower-core count CPUs? I'm interested in the platform (memory channels, PCIe), but not all that intrested in having 28 cores on desktop. 10-12 cores would be more my jam.
  • Ian Cutress - Wednesday, January 23, 2019 - link

    Intel has some Xeons they would like to sell you
  • ZeDestructor - Wednesday, January 23, 2019 - link

    As much as I like the Xeons, they don't come unlocked :(

    I'm in the market for (very) HEDT, not servers dammit!
  • SH3200 - Wednesday, January 23, 2019 - link

    This is a rather niche scenario.
    If it actually hits 28 Cores AVX 512 stable at 5Ghz this will actually beat a 2P 8180 as the 8180 will downclock to 2.3 Ghz @ all core turbo.

    In addition you don't have to worry about cache latency drops when hopping to across processors and can get away with a better RAM/core ratio for waay cheaper. You basically get a 2P 8180 with none of the 2P downsides at a mere fraction of the price and would make an amazing developer workstation for someone who knows what their doing with it.

    Sadly most of these are gonna end up decked out in RGB.
  • monglerbongler - Thursday, January 24, 2019 - link

    >ranging from $6k for the entry model up to $50k with maximum everything plus custom color options and decals for the case etc.

    seriously who pays $50,000 for a desktop computer.

    Its not regular silicon valley rich kids. They are either smart enough (being tech people) not to pay $50,000 for a pre-built computer.....

    Or else they are the type of person and from the relevant generation (borderline millennial/gen Z) that never use desktops (laptops only) with the possible exception of the occasional home or SOHO NAS.... or else their serious people and they have their own rackmount system for whatever.

    Real workstations for professionals doing video/audio creation/editing/rendering or 3d graphics, or developers of computationally intensive software or engineers/scientists are going to run multi CPU systems with Quadros/teslas/compute boards and ECC ram. They will probably be running PLA Spy Rigs (aka Supermicro).

    The only people I can feasibly imagine who would ever spend $50,000 are truly staggeringly rich kids who simultaneously lack any perspective of value or the technology itself (Eg the wisdom of investing that much money in planned obsolescence)... the children of Russian or American oligarchs, Saudis, etc. You know... Typical Republican donors.

    People who will literally use these things, with no exaggeration or joke, to play solitaire or minesweeper on ultra settings with 4k at 120fps.

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