Usually when you hear the word “workstation” the first word that goes with it is “expensive”, but that’s actually not the case. There are plenty of entry-level workstations that provide just enough performance for their designated purpose. In fact, we specialize in building affordable workstations that bring you all the reliability of more expensive options, without the high price tags.
Which is why the Xeon W-1200 series of processors from Intel are such exciting chips for system builders such as Titan Computers. It’s an affordable way to get all the great quality-of-life features in workstation hardware with a modest (yet adequate) level of performance. Let’s take a close look at these chips and find out what makes them a great choice for so many professional customers.
Meet the W-1200 Family
Right now, the W-1200 family consists of seven models. The way Intel has positioned these is actually very interesting. Check out this official chart. As you can see, core counts are either 6,8 or 10 with double the threads respectively. However the “P” variants have higher TDP ratings and higher frequency counts across the board compared to their non-P versions. This means that there’s a W-1200 that will run in thermally-constrained server environments and models that will go all-out in a desktop chassis with good cooling.
You’ve probably noticed that the entire line of W-1200 chips has integrated graphics. This is actually a relative rarity in workstation CPUs, but a distinct advantage in the budget segment. It means you don’t have to spend money on a Quadro or other dedicated GPU. The Intel P630 iGPU is a professional-grade component and therefore offers the sort of reliability and compatibility you’d expect from workstation-grade hardware. If your workload doesn’t require GPU performance, then the P630 is more than good enough.
The Perks of Xeon
That being said, all W-1200 chips come with at least 16 PCIe lanes and if you pair it with the right motherboard chipset, that can be bumped up to 40 lanes! This makes the W-1200 series a great choice for workstations that need multiple GPUs. but don’t need a high amount of CPU power.
You also have the option to address up to 128GB of ECC RAM for every model,albeit with only dual-channel support. In the end, you’re getting Comet Lake CPUs with IPC figures more or less the same as those found in consumer-grade 10th-generation Intel chips, but with all the perks that are unique to the Xeon workstation line. Those consumer processors are already more than fast enough for the majority of workstation users or server environments, so why pay for extra performance you don’t need simply to have the reliability and feature set of Xeon?
The next time you’re thinking about buying non-workstation hardware as a cheap alternative to the reliability of purpose-built systems, consider the W-1200. You might be surprised by what your budget can get in this market space.