The mainstream CPU's and the X-Series CPU's have pretty much nothing in common. Mainstream CPU's use a ring bus while X-Series use a mesh topology. Intel's HEDT CPU's are basically Xeons with higher clocks, and thus higher power usage per core, with no ECC support. If you want to know where the HEDT platform is going, you need to look at the Xeon line. With 10nm Ice Lake Xeons scheduled to release soon, that's the next candidate for an HEDT update. HEDT has traditionally been launched in the 2nd half of the year, so it is possible that if Intel gets its act together with 10nm this year, that we could be looking at Ice Lake based HEDT chips late this year. If not, we could be waiting all the way until later in 2022 for a Sapphire Rapids based HEDT platform.We have been hearing about late first quarter 2021 anyway. I have read somewhere that the actual date is 15th of March and motherboards will launch next Monday at CES. So this sounds legit. That’s also about exactly one year from when Comet lake was supposed to launch (30th of March 2020) but was delayed for a couple of months due to the pandemic.
What perplexes me the most is why Intel does not launch a higher core count Rocketlake. I understand why they can’t release such a cpu for the mainstream but I think they could release a Rocketlake X HEDT lineup. Some will argue it cannot be done due to yields or power consumption but I disagree. The HEDT lineup doesn’t have graphics. And Intel can produce just fine and for profit an 18-core Cascade lake with the Skylake X architecture, AVX-512, 48+4 PCIe3 CPU lanes and quad channel memory controller. The 20% IPC increase should be achievable with 20% more transistors and given the same process node that translates to 20% larger die area per core. So, the 18cores of the 10980XE should occupy the area of 15 Rocketlake cores. So, Intel could make a 16-core Rocketlake 11960XE HEDT flagship. Power consumption shouldn’t be that much higher than the 10980XE, especially given the even more mature 14nm++++ process node.
So, is Intel preparing a Rocketlake X lineup? Apparently no, as there has been absolutely no rumour or leak about the existence of such a platform. And there won’t be an Icelake X lineup either. So Intel has released absolutely nothing for the HEDT for over a year now and by the sounds of it, we will be getting nothing for another whole year. And I am not even saying that what we have now was essentially released in Q4 2017. So, if we get a new HEDT cpu in 2022 it will be an astonishing 5 years for Intel to meaningfully renew their HEDT offerings (unless you count the W3175X in Jan 2019 but even then that’s a Xeon and with a $3000 price-tag for the CPU and $1500-$2000 for the motherboard so I don’t quite count it as a mere HEDT - even then it will be 3 years at best).