Intel’s Sapphire Rapids never stood a chance.

The mainstream DIY PC market has had its ups and downs in recent years, with the introduction of AMD’s Zen architecture effectively shelving Intel’s enthusiast class of HEDT or High-end Desktop components and even more so with AMD introducing Ryzen Threadripper allegedly “HEDT” processors that can give enthusiasts workstation class performance for far less than what the equivalent Intel Xeon costs.

Since AMD had radicalized their Zen architecture to feature 8-core CCD’s with the introduction of Zen 2 back in 2019 allowing for a maximum of 16-cores on a mainstream platform that still holds firm to this day even, there has really been no need for either Intel or AMD to produce “HEDT” processors for the masses.

This saddens me as we’re effectively stuck with either purchasing mainstream garbage limited to dual channel memory support, fewer PCI lanes with far inferior binned dies, or forced to splurge on effectively what are sever grade components in the forms of Intel Xeon CPUs or AMD’s EPYC processors as their lower binned “Threadripper” series has effectively been shelved for quite some time, especially after the whole kerfuffle regarding the TRX40 and WRX80 chipset segregation as opposed to continuing on using TR4.

For quite some time since the introduction of the TRX40 / TRX80 chipset to coincide with the Zen 2 based Ryzen Threadripper 3000 series it had been troublesome to actually acquire yourself with a compatible motherboard for at least a full year.

By comparison, Intel Xeon platforms have been somewhat slightly less limited throughout this time period, you’re able to purchase from a greater range of LGA 4677 motherboards for generally around $900.

Anyways, Intel finally managed to get Sapphire Rapids out the door after several years worth of delays, Sapphire Rapids being their first scalable Xeon architecture featuring four massive ~400mm2 “glued together” dies as a successor to Ice Lake-SP based Xeons, featuring a maximum of just 56-cores and 112 threads, Sapphire Rapids launched to a whimper rather than a reclamation of the pinnacle of workstation computing for Intel.

Considering how AMD’s Zen 3 based EPYC / TR processors came baring 64-cores and 128 threads, Sapphire Rapids chewed through wattage just like their mainstream desktop CPUs do and in some instances of extensive workloads performed worse than AMD’s Threadripper PRO 5000 series based on the older Zen 3 architecture and hindered by its support for DDR4 memory, despite having a fairly serious single threaded performance boost compared to AMD.

However AMD look to be firing back against Intel’s Sapphire Rapids and subsequent Emerald Rapids which is slated to feature as much as 64 “Raptor Cove” cores, not that AMD has anything to worry about considering how they are rumored to be announcing their Threadripper PRO 7000 series, codenamed “Storm Peak” relatively soon.

It has been over one and a half years since the Zen 3-based Ryzen Threadripper PRO 5000 CPUs were first introduced.

Rumored to debut on October 19th, the Threadripper 7000 series is based on the EPYC 9004 “Genoa” series which serves as the foundation for Threadripper. As a result, the Threadripper PRO 7000 series is anticipated to offer support for up to a staggering 96-cores and 192 threads of the current generation Zen 4 architecture, alongside up to 128 PCIe Gen 5 lanes, and obviously, compatibility for DDR5 memory allowing for far greater memory bandwidth.

Though it’s unknown whether or not TRX50 will be limited to 8-channel DDR5 memory or will feature the full package of 12-channel DDR5 memory support like Genoa.

The alleged October 19th launch is mainly targeted towards Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and System Integrators (SI). These entities will be incorporating a combination of OEM and DIY motherboard designs that utilize the all new TRX50 chipset.

Based on leaked information, it is anticipated that there will be a total of five AMD Ryzen Threadripper 7000 CPU SKUs. These should include the 7995WX with the maximum 96 Cores, the 7985WX with a more modest 64 Cores, the 7975WX with 32 cores, the 7955WX with just 16 cores, and finally the 7945WX featuring 12 cores.

These specifications are preliminary, and all chips will have a maximum TDP of 350W, which is higher compared to the previous generation’s TDP value of 280W, however I can’t help but wonder as to why AMD would leave such a wide gap between the 7985WX and 7975WX as they aught to ensure that Intel’s upcoming Emerald Rapids has no real chance at competition by unleashing a 48-core SKU amidst their lineup such as they had done previously with the unusual 24-core 5965WX.

Intel genuinely have no counter towards AMD’s advancements with x86, Sapphire Rapids is lousy and its production was previously halted due to a “bug”, Intel are waving the white flag to AMD for their mainstream desktop components, cementing themselves to a lackluster 14th generation of Core processors as a marginally more efficient re-release of 13th generation Raptor Lake processors for roughly the same exact price.

Emerald Rapids won’t do much to change anything, even with a substantial single core performance boost and uprated from 56-cores to 64 compared to Sapphire Rapids, at best it would hold single threaded parity with these Zen 4 derived processors, which will soon go up to a maximum of 96 cores, 50% more than AMD’s previous generation and the best of what Intel can provide for their next generation.

Granite Rapids package in hand.

Intel has nothing to compete against Genoa for the server market, they will have nothing to combat AMD’s Threadripper 7000 series either, at least not until the much larger Granite Rapids makes its way onto the server market, featuring upwards of 128-cores and higher (including E-cores) at an undisclosed time probably halfway through next year.

Sapphire Rapids was basically dead on arrival and it’s almost certain that Emerald Rapids will be as well as that prepares for release at the end of the year.