Hardware

Intel Xeon Sapphire Rapids Server processor cover removed and all crystals dried

The German enthusiast Roman Hartung alias Der8auer was able to purchase a sample processor for Intel’s upcoming Sapphire Rapids series on eBay. Der8auer is not only known for its passion for overclocking. It also makes special kits for removing Intel processor heat sinks to further improve the cooling of the chips. The enthusiast got down to business immediately.

Image source: Der8auer

Image source: Der8auer

Although samples from Intel Sapphire Rapids can already be found on various marketplaces, it is at least not legally possible to purchase the motherboard required for this. Technical samples of Intel processors have been available on the black market for years. In some cases, they appeared on sale months before their official release. However, it is much more difficult for certain processors to gain access to working motherboards, since all of these chip samples without them are of no value to the average consumer.

Der8auer got his hands on a Xeon vPRO XCC QWP3 sample. It is a server processor that can offer up to 56 cores. For the reasons stated above, this particular specimen has not been tested by a German enthusiast, so its exact specifications are unknown. The operator first dismantled the processor’s heat dissipation cover and then heated it to separate the four chips that make up its composition from the substrate.

Intel Xeon Processor Sapphire Rapids Series

Intel Xeon Processor Sapphire Rapids Series

Intel Xeon Sapphire Rapids processor chiplet

Intel Xeon Sapphire Rapids processor chiplet

The processor uses four units of computation, or tiles in Intel terminology. They are connected via the EMIB bus. The latter can be seen in pictures from a microscope (picture below). As noted by Der8auer, each tile can contain up to 16 cores, for a total of 64 cores. In the case of Sapphire Rapids processors, however, Intel artificially limits the number of active cores to 56.

Sapphire Rapids Intel Xeon Processor EMIB support.  Image source: Der8auer

Sapphire Rapids Intel Xeon Processor EMIB support. Image source: Der8auer

Sapphire Rapids Intel Xeon Processor EMIB support.  Image source: Der8auer

Sapphire Rapids Intel Xeon Processor EMIB support. Image source: Der8auer

The whole process of dismantling the processor Intel Sapphire Rapids can be seen in the video below.

It is worth remembering that the Sapphire Rapids series processors are also being introduced to the consumer PC market. The company is working on Sapphire Rapids-X models, a long-awaited update to its HEDT solutions. These processors are expected to hit the market at the same time as the Raptor Lake series consumer chips (13th generation core) are launched by the end of this year.

About the author

Dylan Harris

Dylan Harris is fascinated by tests and reviews of computer hardware.

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