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First look at Intel Sierra Forest, 144 cores and 108MB L3 cache

Intel Sierra Forest is the name by which the next generation of processors for servers from the chip giant is known that will arrive in the first half of 2024. This family will coexist with Intel Granite Rapids, and both will have a clearly differentiated approach, since the latter will offer higher performance per core and will have higher power, something that obviously will also imply higher consumption.

Intel Sierra Forest processors will use a energy efficient architecture, Crestmont, which will be the successor to the current Gracemont, used in the high-efficiency cores of Core Gen12 and Core Gen13 processors. By contrast, Intel Granite Rapids will use the Redwood Cove architecture, which will be the successor to the current Raptor Cove, used in the high-performance cores of Core Gen13 processors.

There is no doubt that the difference in terms of CPI is going to be importantbut this is not a problem because Intel Sierra Forest processors have a very clear objective, to cover the needs of those who require a high parallelization capacity and a high performance in multithreading, and that they need to maintain a moderate TDP at the same time. Intel Sierra Forest is expected to have a maximum TDP of 350 watts, while Granite Rapids could reach 500 watts.

intel sierra forest

A recent leak indicates that the Intel Sierra Forest will be available in two large versions, one with 144 Crestmont cores and 108 MB L3 cache and another with 96 Crestmont cores and 72 MB L3 cache. Both will have a TDP of 350 watts, and each block of four cores will have 3 MB of L3 cache. We don’t have details on the operating frequencies, but Gracemont cores have always run below 4 GHz, so I think Crestmont cores will stay in that range.

We also have no details about the possible support of HyperThreading technology, but Intel hasn’t implemented it in the Gracemont kernels, so it makes sense to continue that approach in the newer Crestmont kernels. This new generation of processors will be manufactured in the 3nm nodeit will support 12-channel DDR5 memory configurations and will be compatible with the CXL 1.3 standard.

Intel is clear that this generation will offer a very competitive value, and that is why it has marked on its roadmap the successor to Intel Sierra Forest, Clearwater Forestwhose debut will take place in 2025 if everything goes according to plan.

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