Intel Xeon Scalable "Cascade Lake" Processors Launch - Initial Xeon Platinum 8280 Linux Benchmarks

Written by Michael Larabel in Processors on 2 April 2019 at 01:00 PM EDT. Page 1 of 8. 19 Comments.

Intel's 2nd Gen Xeon Scalable Cascade Lake processors are officially launching today! Last month we were briefed out at one of Intel's campuses in Oregon and have been testing the new Xeon Platinum 8280 processors in recent days. In this article is a look at what's new with Cascade Lake as well as our preliminary Ubuntu Linux performance figures for the Xeon Platinum 8280 processors.

With Cascade Lake there is now a higher memory frequency (DDR4-2933 rather than DDR4-2666 amd now an overall capacity up to 4.5TB system memory processor), Intel AVX-512 VNNI / DL BOOST for helping AI workloads and related fields, support for Intel Optane DC Persistent Memory, mitigations for Spectre vulnerabilities, and increased frequency / power efficiency compared to the previous Skylake Xeon Scalable processors.

Intel's Xeon Scalable Platinum 8200 series offers up to 28 cores / 56 threads while their Platinum 9200 series offers up to 56 cores / 112 threads per package but hitting a 400 Watt TDP. Like the original Xeon Scalable line-up, the CPUs support six memory channels per processor while the native support for DDR4-2933 has the ability of providing a nice speed bump.

The side-channel mitigations in-hardware with Cascade Lake are for Spectre Variants 2, 3, 3a, 4, and L1TF/Foreshadow.

Besides the hardware Spectre/Foreshadow mitigations helping performance, AVX-512 VNNI / DL BOOST has the potential to be a big boost to performance for deep learning workloads with yielding much better throughput and efficiency.

Intel Optane DC Persistent Memory is the long-awaited non-volatile DIMMs allowing 128GB to 512GB of persistent storage per module and can function in a volatile memory mode for delivering greater RAM capacities at lower cost (and slightly lower performance than traditional RAM) or in the "app direct" mode for offering the Optane persistent memory for storage.

A look at all the different Cascade Lake SKUs...

We were supplied by Intel with two Xeon Platinum 8280 processors for our initial Cascade Lake testing. The Xeon Platinum 8280 has 28 cores / 56 threads, 2.7GHz base frequency, 4.0GHz turbo frequency, 38.5MB cache, and a 205 Watt TDP. The RCP pricing on the Xeon Platinum 8280 is $10,009 USD per processor. In comparison, the first-gen Xeon Scalable Platinum 8180 has 28 cores but a lower 2.5GHz base frequency with 3.8GHz turbo and DDR4-2666 vs. DDR4-2933 MHz memory frequency while having the same TDP and cache size.

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