It’s been rumored that an Intel Sapphire Rapids team is seemingly working on producing a “mega” APU that could give AMD something to worry about if it is released. The Xeon APU could feature a four-chiplet configuration that would allow the inclusion of a dGPU-level Intel Xe graphics processor and HBM2E support.
Another intriguing collection of rumors and whispers has been posted by Tom from the YouTube channel Moore’s Law Is Dead. One of the juiciest mentions is left for a mega APU that Intel could have in the works to try to “leapfrog” AMD instead of constantly playing catch-up with Team Red. Apparently, Intel could accomplish this by releasing a Sapphire Rapids Xeon APU selection rather than just leaving the series as a pure CPU family for servers. Being an APU would mean that the chip would also possess an iGPU, and it seems there would be some room for a Samsung HBME2 Flashbolt memory solution too.
According to Tom, there is a skunksworks project inside Intel that involves a team working on such an APU for the Sapphire Rapids series, which is expected to make an appearance in 2022 or 2023. The SKUs apparently go up to a 56-core beast (with there being mention of a 72-core XCC die being tested) and would involve a four-chiplet design. However, it’s possible all those chiplets won’t necessarily be reserved for the CPU cores alone, with room being made for an Intel Xe iGPU and the abovementioned HBM support module. The Intel Xe iGPU in such a mega APU wouldn’t be a run-of-the-mill type either and would likely be able to offer up to dGPU-level performance.
As the channel host points out, such a Sapphire Rapids Xeon APU could work well by reducing processing latency times. However, as much as he tries to convince that AMD should be worried about such a project, especially as now Intel has an engineer as CEO (Pat Gelsinger), you have to consider that Zen 4 would need to be an absolute disaster for everything to come up roses for Team Blue. On the server side, Zen 3 EPYC Milan has been hitting some home runs, and Zen 4 EPYC Genoa is already shaping up to be devastating with a 96-core monster in its ranks and the presence of PCIe 5/DDR5 support. It’s just possible AMD might want to offer a Zen 4 EPYC or Threadripper APU with RDNA 2 technology in the near future – and what a “mega” battle that could end up being.
Daniel R Deakin, 2021-03-12 (Update: 2021-03-12)