Intel Has a Core Issue and It Stems From a Lack of a HEDT Plan

cageymaru

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Charlie, owner of the blog Techtoniks delves into Intel's HEDT roadmap and what their plan is for the future of HEDT processors. He explains how Intel could turn their fortunes around by designating two distinct lineups of chips to compete against AMD's ThreadRipper series and more. It is a very well written blog post and full of interesting information for the tech enthusiast to digest. Highly recommended.

The 'A' series parts would compete nicely against AMD's WX Threadripper parts (2970WX and 2990WX) while the 'X' series would compete against AMD's X Threadripper parts (2920X and 2950X), not only would Intel have an IPC advantage, clock speed advantage, latency advantage, but they'd also be able to offer more models at varying price points, and as I said before, the HEDT market is diverse - such a simplified product stack would be welcomed by all I feel.
 

pcgeekesq

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I disagree with the article's assumption that the people who want super-high core count processors are important influencers to a wider market.
The population of users who care about the apps that parallelize well enough to exploit those cores is small (see Amdahl's Law), and the cost (in reduced single thread performance, higher thermals, and $$$) makes those cores a stupid buy for people outside that population.

Most people are better off with modest (6-8) core counts and higher single thread performance -- something Intel is about to offer with their 9000 series parts. This is certainly true for gamers, as demonstrated time and again by benchmarks. Even a lot of renderers and video creators may be better off spending their money on something other than a super-high-core-count CPU.

It's nice that AMD is competitive, and competitive in the high-core-count markets. Users are well served by that. But it's not a big innovation to slap more cores down on a die, if you have the process yield to support the larger chip, and the thermal budget for it.

This opinion piece is just that: opinion. I don't see any evidence that its author has any special insight into the CPU market, and I don't see any new facts, so I don't see any reason to pay much attention to his opinion of what Intel's issues are and what it should so about it.
 

oldmanbal

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I honestly think the HEDT market has been painfully segmented for a long time now. Gamers don't necessarily gain anything from more cores, who have historically been early adopters of the HEDT, and thus, are no longer drivers of the HEDT cpu market in this regard. Intel realized this a long time ago and has continued to pump their high frequency parts in the $200-$500 range where gamers live. Yeah we all would love to have 64 flippin' threads plastered acrossed our screens, but 8 will cover gaming, streaming, and misc apps. And for the price of a 2990wx you can just buy, oh i don't know, the 2950x (or 1950x) and a 1080ti. I got 2 1950x last black friday and still feel like I robbed a bank when I think back to how much I've gotten out of it in my own daily driver and my sons youtube/streaming rig. I'm in the niche, but I also have an 8700k in my secondary gaming rig that I put almost equal amount of time into. Other than placebo, I honestly probably couldn't tell a difference in any of the games that I play. I have to admit I still get more satisfaction out of overclocking the intel chip than I do the AMD since it's pretty much a no go over 4.1ghz with any cooling I throw at it, and only stable for me at 4.0 across threads in daily usage.

A lot of this market comes down to price, and how much someone is willing to pay for the best. Apparently there are enough people out there to warrant an 1800 dollar cpu or AMD wouldn't be setting the bar as high as Intel. I'm not necessarily seeing fury 2.0 pricing, but, something close to it (I'm not factoring in inflated crypto pricing of current gen cards). I really thought they would launch this part under $1500 usd given that the 1950x has been seen many times under $800 from a myriad of etailers. While I know they have a full segment of cores and skus available, I'm still fairly surprised that they opted to place their halo product so high. Regardless, I'm really looking forwards to what it might flash at again on black Friday if sales aren't meeting expectations.

In regards to the article, we won't be seeing an 18 core intel chip under $1000 anytime soon, if even in the next 2 years.
 

Nolan7689

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Wtf is with this dumb "HEDT" acronym and classification? One day it just appeared and now it's a thing... I don't like it!
High end desktop I believe. I agree though, it just seems to have appeared.
 

clockdogg

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Wtf is with this dumb "HEDT" acronym and classification? One day it just appeared and now it's a thing... I don't like it!

High End Desk Top - because Intel thinks the desktop is two words, two different worlds with double the profit centres. HEPC might be more accurate High End Profit Centre. But, nGreedia might have the ™ on that.
 

Chris_B

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So they're not going ahead with their 28 core 10 grand plus overclocked xeon chip with power plant cooling? Shame :(
 

Chris_B

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Wtf is with this dumb "HEDT" acronym and classification? One day it just appeared and now it's a thing... I don't like it!


Kinda like "full hd", when the consoles manage to be able to do that it was a big buzzword, pc gamers had been gaming at over that for years prior.
 

GoldenTiger

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High End Desk Top - because Intel thinks the desktop is two words, two different worlds with double the profit centres. HEPC might be more accurate High End Profit Centre. But, nGreedia might have the ™ on that.
Oooh, so edgy.. . Ngreedia rofl. You're acting like the guys who spell MS as M$.
 

Sycraft

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I disagree with the article's assumption that the people who want super-high core count processors are important influencers to a wider market.

I agree. I can't imagine that there are many people who are in the category of being able to afford a high end system, and wanting one, but being so narrow minded that what they get for their computer dictates what they get or recommend for other, lower end, systems.

I mean I fall in to that category. I buy high end computers because I like them, and I'm a fairly senior IT guy who makes decisions as to what kind of systems we get in large numbers. The CPU in my desktop has nothing to do with what I look at for work. My use case is very different from normal desktop use, or server use. Intel or AMD is going to be determined by price, performance, and support from our vendor (we are an all Dell shop and when you work on large numbers of systems, you come to appreciate the reasons for sticking with a single source). It has nothing to do with what my personal system runs. It's also going to be different for different systems. We are not going to by buying 32-core threadrippers for office desktop systems, that would be stupid. We might buy them for workstations that do EM simulations though.
 

cdabc123

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xeons are still a thing... i dont see why anyone who wants this much preformance feels tied to consumer hardware.
 

KazeoHin

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High End Desk Top segment was created with the Intel X58/1366 socket when there was a separation between 'Desktop' (in this case, 1156) sockets and 'High End Desktop' (in this case, 1366) sockets. LGA 1366, 2011, 2011-3, 2066 and TR4 are all 'HEDT' sockets.
 

The Cobra

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I was planning to get the 2990x, but I think I am going to hold out for another year and pick one up used down the road. I have plenty of horsepower in my current rig.
 

Ocellaris

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I think the real trick AMD and Intel have pulled off is getting people to buy into way more CPU power than they probably need, myself included.

16 cores 32 threads for surfing [H], paying bills, and playing a game every so often? Fuck yeah, I’ll be looking for deals on TR2 just to get my hands on a new platform. I need that 2950X in my life.
 

cdabc123

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I think the real trick AMD and Intel have pulled off is getting people to buy into way more CPU power than they probably need, myself included.

16 cores 32 threads for surfing [H], paying bills, and playing a game every so often? Fuck yeah, I’ll be looking for deals on TR2 just to get my hands on a new platform. I need that 2950X in my life.
yup... i havent even played a game in awhile
 

KazeoHin

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xeons are still a thing... i dont see why anyone who wants this much preformance feels tied to consumer hardware.

I used a Xeon for Prosumer use for three years, it was not great. Bang-for-Buck, you're getting two-to-three times as much power on HEDT compared to a Xeon or Epyc with the same cash.
 

Ebernanut

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High End Desk Top segment was created with the Intel X58/1366 socket when there was a separation between 'Desktop' (in this case, 1156) sockets and 'High End Desktop' (in this case, 1366) sockets. LGA 1366, 2011, 2011-3, 2066 and TR4 are all 'HEDT' sockets.

X58 was where it really took off but Skulltrail was Intel's first push into creating a HEDT market, though I don't recall when they first started using the term. Of course both were just efforts to further segment the workstation market into a separate category.
 

mstaab

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this sounds like when Intel didnt have an answer to amd 64 bit back in the day................

They need to License Infinity Fabric from AMD like x64 or make their own variant of the tech. They can call it "IntellaGlue"
 
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cdabc123

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I used a Xeon for Prosumer use for three years, it was not great. Bang-for-Buck, you're getting two-to-three times as much power on HEDT compared to a Xeon or Epyc with the same cash.

used xeons are dirt cheap. dont pay msrp money for those things and you will be good.
 

seanreisk

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Intel does not have a 'no HEDT plan' problem. They have a Spectre / Meltdown silicon problem. I do not give a shit what other problems they think they have, right now they have a freaking huge baked-in-b*ttf*ck problem, and until they fix that all of their other problems are just beautiful roses that can be used to distract the consumer.
 
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pcgeekesq

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I think the real trick AMD and Intel have pulled off is getting people to buy into way more CPU power than they probably need, myself included.

Intel and AMD both need the next Killer App, something highly parallelizable, requiring insane amounts of CPU, that has wide mass-market appeal.

I'm betting on Interactive Internet-Connection-Not-Required Tactile-Feedback Artificially Intelligent VR porn to be that Killer App. In more ways than one. Amortized over time, your system will be way cheaper than the meatbag equivalent. Probably nicer, too, unless that's not what you enjoy. :)
 

nutzo

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used xeons are dirt cheap. dont pay msrp money for those things and you will be good.

Especially if you buy one a couple revisions old.
I've upgraded a couple old servers from dual quad core Xeon's to dual 2.8Ghz 10 core Xeon's for $260/CPU.

If I put one on my desktop, the single thread speed would be a bit slow, but it would fly when compressing HD video.
 

SixFootDuo

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Seems to me like Intel is just a "Good Ol' Boys Club" meaning, they just don't give a fuck, got money out the ass, elitist attitude. Bunch of old guys with no real forward thinking. I've always felt that way about Intel.
 

cdabc123

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Especially if you buy one a couple revisions old.
I've upgraded a couple old servers from dual quad core Xeon's to dual 2.8Ghz 10 core Xeon's for $260/CPU.

If I put one on my desktop, the single thread speed would be a bit slow, but it would fly when compressing HD video.

they dont get to overclocked i7 levels (except maybe the x5698) but the newer gens actually do a REALLY good job of single/ dual core turbo up to a reasonable level. I used to game on a dual e5-2670 setup wthout a issue (bought those for $40 each)
 

Nightfire

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Intel lost the trust and confidence of many power users because of their recent x299 shenanigans:

Nerfed pci-e, reactionary pricing, raid keys, continued use of TIM, awkward CPUs like the i5, and foggy roadmap of future releases.

AMD has 32 and 16 core parts releasing this month. At best, Intel will have a low frequency 22 core part launching on the x299 at the end of the year.
 

Nightfire

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Furthermore, the price will be insanely high. Even in the post TR and emerging TR+ era, Intel is still selling their 10 core for $1k. To make matters worse, unlike AMD hedt, Intel has a history of charging around 2.5x for 2x the cores.
 
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The blog post seems spot on, but I don't think any of this is news to anyone.

The problem seems to be Intel higher-ups hamstringing the company when it needs to be nimble. They used shitty monopolistic business practices to earn themselves a decade of decadence, and their figurative muscles have atrophied. The smart guys know what they need to do and are trying to do it, but they've been getting boxed in by typical management idiots who are used to milking the market and can't deal with change.
 

akaliel

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So HardOCP and Charlie write articles quoting each other and then link to each other's sites now?
 

chithanh

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The blog post seems to basically say: Offer better value for money and people will buy your stuff over the competition's.

I don't know what kind of profit Intel can still make from selling a perfect 5-GHz-on-all-cores 698 mm² die CPU at $1999? I would be very surprised if that CPU is below $100 per core, and I expect more $150-ish.
 

snowcrash

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"...turn Intel's fortune around..."

That is a bit too much. Intel is not down on its luck. It is, in fact, doing very well.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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How relevant is HEDT in the marketplace though?

Sure, we extremists on here like them, and certain industries would find use for them, but in general it would seem like a rather small market to dedicate the amount of resources it would take to create a separate CPU line.

Besides, when you take a high core count Xeon and put it in a desktop, isn't it more or less a HEDT system? Why do they need to be different?
 

IdiotInCharge

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Seems to me like Intel is just a "Good Ol' Boys Club" meaning, they just don't give a fuck, got money out the ass, elitist attitude. Bunch of old guys with no real forward thinking. I've always felt that way about Intel.

It's exactly how I felt about AMD when they had the performance initiative; the original Athlon (K7), the X2 with monolithic die and onboard memory controller, just to name a few.

This isn't an attitude, this is business ;).
 

IdiotInCharge

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Intel and AMD both need the next Killer App, something highly parallelizable, requiring insane amounts of CPU, that has wide mass-market appeal.

Machine learning. Perhaps more efficiently done in the cloud, but its applications are endless at all levels of society, to the point that specialized processors are being shipped in mobile SoCs. From a high-end security-focused home automation perspective, where the local node is processing all audio and video, a many-cores processor could easily form the heart of an ML host that's inferring from and controlling everything from lights and doors to calendars and media streams.
 

pcgeekesq

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[on a KillerApp for CPUs] Machine learning.
Problem is, it's not a CPU KillerApp because GPUs do it better. Machine learning uses lots of simple little nodes arranged in directed graphs, each node computing values in parallel using simple formulas. And that's what GPUs are best at.
 

IdiotInCharge

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Problem is, it's not a CPU KillerApp because GPUs do it better. Machine learning uses lots of simple little nodes arranged in directed graphs, each node computing values in parallel using simple formulas. And that's what GPUs are best at.

Not going to disagree with respect to the learning part of machine learning; I fully expect accelerators to be used, be they GPU or similarly parallel compute devices. What CPUs add is the ability to utilize the outputs of those inferences to do other stuff.
 

pcgeekesq

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Not going to disagree with respect to the learning part of machine learning; I fully expect accelerators to be used, be they GPU or similarly parallel compute devices. What CPUs add is the ability to utilize the outputs of those inferences to do other stuff.
The question then is, why does that latter task require tons of CPU horsepower?
It will of course depend on the application, but I find myself at a loss to imagine one that would do so.
 

AMD Ryzen

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Wtf is with this dumb "HEDT" acronym and classification? One day it just a ppeared and now it's a thing... I don't like it!

I agree though, it just seems to have appeared

PCMag.com's encyclopedia defines it as "An Intel term for high-performance desktop computers." As others here have mentioned referencing the X58 chipset, Intel has been using the term for over 10 years as seen on page 4 of this pdf dated April 2, 2008..

Nehalem is Intel’s dynamically scalable and innovative new processor microarchitecture.. which can be configured for both one socket High End Desktop (HEDT) and two socket (HPC and dual processing server) operation.
 
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