Intel’s 3rd-generation Xeon Scalable CPUs offer 16-bit FPU processing

Intel today announced its third-generation Xeon Scalable (meaning Gold and Platinum) processors, along with new generations of its Optane persistent memory (read: extremely low-latency, high-endurance SSD) and Stratix AI FPGA products.

The fact that AMD is currently beating Intel on just about every conceivable performance metric except hardware-accelerated AI isn’t news at this point. It’s clearly not news to Intel, either, since the company made no claims whatsoever about Xeon Scalable’s performance versus competing Epyc Rome processors. More interestingly, Intel hardly mentioned general-purpose computing workloads at all.

Finding an explanation of the only non-AI generation-on-generation improvement shown needed jumping through multiple footnotes. With sufficient determination, we eventually discovered that the “1.9X average performance gain” mentioned on the overview slide refers to “estimated or simulated” SPECrate 2017 benchmarks comparing a four-socket Platinum 8380H system to a five-year-old, four-socket E7-8890 v3.

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