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Aug 27, 2012

Intel Haswell E3 Xeons to Battle with AMD FirePro A300 APU and Low-End Nvidia Quadro




One interesting move by Intel will be the introduction of the new, Haswell-based Xeon processors early next year. The company took its time releasing Ivy Bridge based Xeons, but Haswell Xeons will hit the market in a short time after the launch of the desktop version.

Seeing it doesn’t have a particularly strong competition from AMD, Intel is not rushing any upgrades to the Xeon LGA2011 platform. Users of the Sandy Bridge E CPUs will only get a chance to upgrade in Q3 2013. On the other hand, the low- to mid-end Xeon lines will be quickly upgraded to the Haswell architecture early next year. The reason for this seems to be the heavy competition AMD brings with the workstation Trinity APUs that we unveiled here. Intel doesn’t like the fact that on the graphics side AMD’s products practically build much more capable single-socket systems. Therefore, we can expect E3 v3 Xeon processors right after the initial Haswell launch, and these will bring a new 1150-pin socket, a dual-channel DDR3 integrated memory controller (IMC) able to work with DDR3-1600 ECC memory and powerful GT3 iGPUs with optional “level 4 cache.”, VR-Zone reports.

We know that Haswell graphics will be truly impressive and Intel believes that this, along with the superior x86 performance, will deliver a serious blow to AMD’s FirePro A300 sales. Current Intel Xeon buyers are, unfortunately, getting a bad deal from the company again, as the new processors use a slightly different socket despite the rest of the platform being mostly the same with the current Xeon E3s. The company also seems to be trying to target Nvidia’s affordable Quadro cards, as there is practically no other explanation why Intel would rush the new Xeon E3 v3 processors so soon after the Haswell launch. Intel knows its new iGPUs will bring serious performance improvements and thus, it is apparently eager to show them off.

We don’t believe AMD will manage to release GCN-based APUs until next spring so, if Intel manages to equal AMD’s FirePro A300 graphics power, FirePro APUs will lose their appeal to the potential buyers. On the x86 side, Intel current E3 Xeons have no real competition from AMD, so we don’t see any other reason for Intel to launch even faster E3 server CPUs if not to start an attack on the graphics front.

Intel Haswell CPU
Image credits to Intel

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