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Intel Xeon W-3300 Processor Review Roundup

Written on July 29, 2021 by Matt Bach
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Introduction

Intel has long been a staple in the world of workstation computing, but when AMD released their 3rd generation Threadripper line in late 2019 (and more recently Threadripper Pro), they took over the performance crown for a number of workflows. With the launch of the new Xeon W-3300 series, however, Intel is looking to retake its position as uncontested top dog in the workstation space.

The Intel Xeon W-3300 series of processors include a number of advantages over the previous W-3200 line, including an increase in max core count, 64 lanes of PCI-E Gen 4.0, 8 channel DDR4-3200 memory (up to 4TB max), and up to an 18% increase in IPC (instructions per clock). Threadripper Pro still has the advantage in terms of total core count (64 vs 38) and PCI-E Gen 4.0 lanes (128 vs 64), but these changes - plus a number of other improvements - should make the Xeon W-3300 series a significant upgrade over the previous generation.

If you want to read about what sets the Xeon W-3300 series apart in more detail, we recommend checking out our landing page for Intel Xeon W-3300 Processors.

Be aware than in many of our articles, we performing our testing with both the default "Balanced" Windows power profile, as well as the "High Performance" profile. In the course of our testing, we discovered that the Xeon W-3300 processors can sometimes give significantly lower performance on the default Windows power profile, so we thought it was important to show results for both profiles.

We will be leading with the "Balanced" profile results as that is what most systems will likely be using by default, but since changing the power profile is extremely easy, we will look at the performance with both power profiles.

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Adobe Photoshop

Read the full article: Adobe Photoshop - Intel Xeon W-3300 Processor Performance

Summary: For most users, high-end workstation platforms like Xeon W or Threadripper Pro are not necessary for Photoshop since the Intel 11th Gen or AMD Ryzen CPUs are both cheaper and faster. There are going to be niche workflows where support for huge amounts of RAM will come into play - and higher reliability is always a good thing - but the feature set of Xeon W is largely overkill for Photoshop.

However, one important thing we did find in our testing is that if you plan on using Photoshop on a Xeon W-3300 processor, you may want to switch to the "High Performance" Windows power profile since it can give you up to a 20% increase in Photoshop performance over the default "Balanced" profile. This was enough to bring Xeon W-3300 to on par with Threadripper Pro, where otherwise they would be 15-20% behind.

Adobe After Effects

Read the full article: Adobe After Effects - Intel Xeon W-3300 Processor Performance

Summary: Overall, whether or not the new Xeon W-3300 series processors are good for After Effects depends heavily on what Windows power profile you use. In the default "Balanced" profile, Intel falls far behind the AMD Threadripper Pro processors - with AMD often out-performing Intel by 65% or more. Switching to the "High Performance" power profile, however, brings the Xeon processors almost exactly in line with AMD. In this case, there is minimal difference between most of the CPUs we tested (since AE is currently a lightly threaded application), and the two fastest CPUs from Intel and AMD actually ended up with the same overall score.

Most After Effects users are likely to opt for a more modest platform like the Intel 11th Gen, AMD Ryzen, or AMD Threadripper lines, but if you need massive amounts of RAM, Xeon W and Threadripper Pro are the two best options at the moment. Between the two, we have to give the edge to Threadripper Pro - at least until Intel fixes the performance issues with the default power profile.

Adobe Premiere Pro

Read the full article: Adobe Premiere Pro - Intel Xeon W-3300 Processor Performance

Summary: Similar to much of our other testing, how well the Xeon W-3300 series processors do in Premiere Pro can change drastically depending on what Windows power profile you use. In the default "Balanced" profile, Intel falls behind the AMD Threadripper Pro processors by anywhere from a small 6% to a large 22% depending on which model you are looking at. Switching to the "High Performance" power profile can significantly improve performance on the higher core count Xeon processors, but even then, AMD Threadripper Pro holds a solid 10% performance lead at similar core counts - and at a slightly lower MSRP to boot.

Between the two processor families, we have to give the edge to Threadripper Pro for Premiere Pro. Not only do they perform slightly higher overall, but not having to tweak the Windows power profile is a nice bonus. Changing the power profile isn't difficult, but it also isn't ideal as it is something that many end users may not even consider doing on their system. Not to mention that it will raise the idle power consumption, heat, and noise of the system.

DaVinci Resolve Studio

Read the full article: DaVinci Resolve Studio - Intel Xeon W-3300 Processor Performance

Summary: The new Intel Xeon W-3300 series processors are interesting to consider because they can do well in DaVinci Resolve Studio, but they require changing the Windows power profile to "High Performance" in order to match the AMD Threadripper Pro processors. If you do so, the Intel Xeon W-3335 16 core and W-3365 32 core overall perform within a few percent of the AMD Threadripper Pro 3955WX 16 core and 3975WX 32 Core, but if you do not, they fall behind by roughly 20%.

Between the two processor families, we have to give the edge to Threadripper Pro for DaVinci Resolve. The Intel Xeon W-3300 processors are not only slightly more expensive than the comparable AMD TR Pro models, but you have to change the Windows power profile in order for them to match AMD. And while changing the power profile isn't difficult, it also isn't ideal as it is something that many end users may not even consider doing on their system. Not to mention that it will raise the idle power consumption, heat, and noise of the system.

Unreal Engine

Read the full article: Unreal Engine - Intel Xeon W-3300 Processor Performance

Summary: The new Intel Xeon W-3300 line offers more performance than previous generations but still falls short of AMD’s Threadripper Pro line. On a per-core basis, the Xeon is close but only offers up to 38 cores, while AMD offers up to 64 cores. Then there is the cost. Comparing the two 32-core options, Intel is $950 more expensive, but almost 10% slower. Intel’s 38-core Xeon W-3375 has some serious issues with compiling source code, so should be avoided that is something you spend a lot of time with.

Intel’s biggest selling point is Xeon’s long track record of reliability. Xeon has long been the most stable and reliable CPU in highly demanding workstation and server applications. That alone will be worth the cost to many people. AMD is attempting to compete in that same market with their Threadripper Pro line, but as a new product, it doesn’t have history. These performance numbers may be enough to question the long-term value.

Cinema 4D

Read the full article: Cinema 4D - Intel Xeon W-3300 Processor Performance

Summary: The new Intel Xeon W-3300 line offers more performance than previous generations but still falls significantly short of AMD’s Threadripper Pro line. Comparing the two 32-core options, Intel is $950 more expensive, but almost 22% slower. Intel's top CPU has 38 cores, while AMD goes up to 64 cores, giving the platform a much higher possible score.

V-Ray CPU Rendering

Read the full article: V-Ray - Intel Xeon W-3300 Processor Performance

Summary: The new Intel Xeon W-3300 line offers more performance than previous generations but still falls short of AMD’s Threadripper Pro line. On a per-core basis, the Xeon is close but only offers up to 38 cores, while AMD offers up to 64 cores. Then there is the cost. Comparing the two 32-core options, Intel is $950 more expensive, but almost 10% slower.

The lower tier 11700K and 11600k do show significant performance improvements over the last generation but are just playing catchup with the similar offering from AMD. Then there is the upgrade path. If you did want to buy a workstation now, with the intent of upgrading the CPU later to improve rendering performance, Intel’s top offering barely matches the middle of the pack from AMD. When it comes to CPU rendering, AMD is the only clear choice.

Compute Performance (HPL, HPCG, NAMD, Numpy)

Read the full article: Intel Ice Lake Xeon-W vs AMD TR Pro Compute Performance (HPL, HPCG, NAMD, Numpy)

Summary: For compute intensive workloads that are optimized for Intel this new Xeon-W is outstanding. Most of the testing in this post shows both the 32 and 38 core Ice Lake CPU's doing better than even the 64-core TR Pro. The testing I did in this post definitely favors Intel because with the exception of NAMD these tests had highly optimized builds for Intel.

If you are working with applications optimized for Intel (with MKL) then the new Ice Lake Xeon is an obvious choice. Intel's oneAPI developer tools are excellent so, overall, this Ice Lake Xeon platform and ecosystem is easy to recommend. However, if you are not working in the Intel ecosystem then the AMD TR Pro is also an outstanding CPU and platform! I wouldn't hesitate to recommend either of these.

Intel Xeon W-3300 Processor Performance in HPC Linpack

How well do the Intel Xeon W-3300 processors perform overall?

While there are several instances where the new Intel Xeon W-3300 processors either match or beat the AMD Threadripper Pro CPUs, they often required us to set Windows to use the "High Performance" power profile. And even then, AMD by and large came out on top in our testing.

The strongest case for Intel is primarily in HPC/scientific workloads that are optimized specifically for Intel. Outside of those situations, the Intel Xeon W-3335 16 Core is probably the strongest CPU in the new lineup as it at least tends to match the (slightly cheaper) AMD Threadripper Pro 3955WX 16 Core, although again, it often needs to be using the "High Performance" power profile in order to do so.

Since the Xeon W-3345 24 Core falls between the MSRP of many of the other CPU models from Intel and AMD, there are also times where it can make sense depending on your budget. But from a pure performance standpoint, the Xeon W-3365 32 Core and W-3375 38 Core are going to be tough to justify for most workloads.

Of course, performance is not the only reason to choose a specific platform - especially when talking about products of this class. Reliability is a massive factor as well, and Intel does have more of a history in the "Workstation" space. So even if Xeon W-3300 may not be a clear winner for performance, there certainly will be those who opt to go with Xeon W-3300 over Threadripper Pro purely based on Intel's history of reliability.

If you are looking for a workstation with one of these new Intel Xeon W-3300 processors, you can visit our solutions page to view our recommended workstations for various software packages (some of which are using - or will be using - these new processors), our custom configuration page, or contact one of our technology consultants for help configuring a workstation that meets the specific needs of your unique workflow.

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Tags: Premiere Pro, After Effects, Photoshop, DaVinci Resolve, Unreal Engine, Cinebench, V-Ray, Intel vs AMD, AMD Ryzen Threadripper PRO 3000 Series, Intel Xeon W-3300, W-3335, W-3345, W-3365, W-3375, 3955WX, 3975WX, 3995WX
Jason Schrader

Do you think these will be used for replacement for Intel's HEDT consumer line? Sorry if the answer is in the article, I may have missed it.

Posted on 2021-07-31 13:09:27

If you mean the X-series, these Xeons are technically a different product family. But, the X-series haven't had an update since 2019, so if you want the most modern higher-core count Intel processor, the Xeon W-3300 CPUs are it. They are more expensive (since they have things like ECC support), and the motherboard selection is significantly smaller, however, so they aren't intended as a direct replacement or update to the X-series.

Personally, it feels like Intel has decided to pull back on the HEDT arena until they have something that can compete better against the higher core count Ryzen or Threadripper CPUs. Hopefully we will see something about an X-series replacement soon!

Posted on 2021-08-01 22:38:25
hoohoo

It seems like Intel's value proposition is still and only AVX512, then.

Posted on 2021-08-10 13:38:15
INTC

https://www.intel.com/conte...

Can't wait for Alder Lake client CPU and Sapphire Rapids HEDT CPU to be benchmarked for content creation.

Posted on 2021-08-19 18:23:43