There is now information on not only the next-generation high-end EP platform, but also on the processor range that will debut after it. All thanks to the Intel Developer Forum.
These three days have been filled with announcements from Intel and the participants at its IDF San Francisco 2012 event, as well as attempts on AMD's part, and that of others, to distract people from that trade show.
We doubt we'll find any sort of “counter-announcement” to the info that the folks at VR-Zone claim uncovered.
The Intel Ivy Bridge-EP processor platform, scheduled for 2013, will succeed the Sandy Bridge-EP that, even now, hasn't been fully released.
That was something we already knew, just like we knew that a 15-core Ivy Bridge EX CPU (Xeon E7 4800 V2) will debut around the middle of 2013, compatible with socket 2011.
What we didn't know was that the “Haswell-EX” Xeon E7 4800 / 800 v3 will arrive in 2014 and will offer 16 to 20 cores. Afterwards, “Broadwell EX” Xeon E7 4800 / 8800 v4 will arrive, in 2015, with even more cores.
In the meanwhile, the existing 8-core Sandy Bridge EP Xeon E5 2600 / 4600 will pass the torch to a 10-core 3.2+ GHz Ivy Bridge EP Xeon E5 2600 / 4600 v2 (2014). Again, a different pin-out will be used, but the same dimensions as socket 2011.
After that, the 2015-bound Haswell EP Xeon E5 2600 / 4600 v3 will possess 14 cores, 4-channel DDR4-2133 memory support, quad-QPI links (9.6 GT/s), the works.
What we find curious is the progressive rise in core count. Although we admit that software can only get better at multi-thread performance, we can't help but feel that the rate of adding cores to CPUs, even high-end ones, is a bit fast.
There is also the matter of convenience: if Haswell-EP, with its power efficiency benefits (foreshadowed by 7-10W Haswell CPUs), can operate at TDPs of 145W (server) and 160W (workstation), adding the extra cores makes more sense than not using the space. It helps that the L3 cache (2.5 MB per core) can stay the same even under these conditions.