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Sustainability In Focus with 4th Gen Intel Xeon Processors

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Today marks a momentous day for Intel, the planet and the thousands of data center customers with the launch of Intel’s most sustainable data center processor ever—the new 4th Gen Intel® Xeon® Scalable processor. This launch demonstrates, yet again, our commitment to a greener future through innovation in sustainable computing. A huge congratulations to the team on an incredible feat! 


Intel has been an environmental steward for decades and we continue this work with the manufacture of 4th Gen Intel Xeon processors.  These processors are manufactured and tested in sites that use a minimum of 90% renewable electricity.  Intel’s use of renewable electricity not only benefits our customers’ scope 3 emissions, it also increases demand for renewable electricity, ultimately furthering its build out.  Intel sites that produce 4th Gen Intel Xeon processors also have state-of-the-art water reclaim facilities onsite that treated and reused 2.8 billion gallons of water in 2021.  Finally, Intel overall sent only 5% of its waste to landfill and implemented circular economy strategies for over 60% of our manufacturing waste streams with our supply chain partners in 2021.  We firmly believe that our long-standing commitment to sustainability creates value for society, the communities in which we operate, our investors and our customers. 


Just as important, 4th Gen Intel Xeon processors can lower customers’ energy use emissions, also known as scope 2 emissions, due to their energy efficiency through innovative design of built-in accelerators.  These accelerators enable certain workloads to run faster while using less energy.  On average, performance per watt is increased by 2.9X using Xeon’s built-in accelerators.  The best thing? These accelerators were designed for today’s in-demand workloads and deliver these incredible increases over 3rd Gen Intel Xeon processors:  up to 10X for AI inference and learning; up to 3X performance for data analytics, 2X higher compression with 95% fewer cores and up to 2X capacity for vRAN workloads.* 


Another innovation is the Optimized Power Mode feature that, when enabled, provides 20% energy savings (up to 140 Watts on a dual socket system) while only minimally impacting performance (2-5% on select workloads).  


In customer testing, Alibaba, a Chinese multinational company and cloud service provider, has tested one of the leading benchmarks for cloud native called DeathStarBench (Alibaba and Intel are among the co-investors in this benchmark).  The results of 4th Gen Intel Xeon vs 3rd Gen Intel Xeon show an up to 80% performance boost at server system level and up to 40% performance per watt improvement (results are at server system level, not cloud platform level).**


We’ve also added new telemetry features to 4th Gen Intel Xeon processors to enable companies to better monitor and control electricity consumption and carbon emissions. And Platform Monitoring Technology enables better telemetry management through exposure of CPU core temperature, power consumption and package C state residency.   These innovations further demonstrate Intel’s commitment to integrate sustainability into our products.


Beyond the processor, we’re taking a holistic approach to data center sustainability design.   Working with industry partners, Intel is helping design the future of the data center where electricity consumption is dramatically reduced.  Through technologies such as cold plate, direct liquid cooling and immersion cooling, Intel is enabling data centers to be more efficient while delivering on customer’s performance and computational needs.   


Sustainability is a journey, and I’m proud of the steps Intel has taken already to help our customers globally with their environmental goals.   I look forward to sharing more developments in the months ahead.  Together, we can and will make a difference.  



Jennifer Huffstetler is the Chief Product Sustainability Officer, VP Data Center and AI Group at Intel. You are welcome to follow her on LinkedIn and Twitter for future insights, industry best practices, and discussions.


To find out more about Intel's commitments to environmental stewardship, click here.


* Performance varies by use, configuration and other factors. Learn more on the Performance Index site. 

**More significant system performance increases are expected in Alibaba 4th Gen Intel Xeon-based instances due to Alibaba’s advancements in Alibaba Cloud infrastructure.  The results of upcoming system level analysis that feature these advancements will be reported at a future date.

About the Author
Jen M. Huffstetler is Chief Product Sustainability Officer and VP/GM of Intel Future Platform Strategy and Sustainability. In this role, she is responsible for driving the integration and execution of the corporate-wide Intel Platform technologies & business strategies to drive future growth and corporate-level product strategy and action for Sustainability. Jen joined Intel in 1996 as a fab process engineer and has spent most of her career applying her extensive technical and business experience to lead strategy, product management, and product marketing efforts for a number of core Intel businesses. Most recently she led Data Center Platform Strategy, responsible for building and executing cross-corporate Cloud to Edge technical and business strategies, incubating new services, and driving Xeon Business Management and Operations. Jen holds a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from MIT, and an MBA from Babson College, F.W. Olin Graduate School in Corporate Entrepreneurship.