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First Intel W790 Sapphire Rapids Workstation Motherboard Spotted

Sapphire Rapids or 34-core Raptor Lake CPUs may be supported by Supermicro’s Intel W790-based motherboards.

Supermicro’s yet-to-be-announced X13SWA-TF motherboard based on the Intel W790 chipset has been listed by a Canadian retailer. It is intended for workstations with Intel Xeon processors in LGA4677 packaging, indicating Sapphire Rapids CPUs.

The Supermicro X13SWA-TF motherboard (found on and spotted by @momomo us) has an E-ATX form factor and is suitable for workstations, desktops, and tower servers. The motherboard is priced at CAD$1290 ($965) with a cash discount, but there is no mention of when it will be available.

Intel confirmed earlier this year that its W790 is a workstation-grade chipset (rather than an entry-level workstation-grade chipset), but it never revealed which processors it supports. However, because the motherboard has an LGA4677 socket, it should support Intel’s Sapphire Rapids Xeon processors.

We can speculate that we’re talking about a special version of Sapphire Rapids CPUs designed for workstations (i.e., with fewer than 60 cores but higher clock speeds) or Intel’s 34-core Raptor Lake-S processors spotted earlier this year by our own Paul Alcorn. Meanwhile, Sapphire Rapids and Raptor Lake-S share several features, including high-performance cores based on the Golden Cove microarchitecture. As a result, though Intel has never publicly discussed it, it is reasonable to assume that Intel’s 34-core Raptor Lake processors (also known as RPLS-34C) will be marketed under the Xeon brand.

The Supermicro X13SWA-TF platform includes six PCIe 4.0 x16 slots, two 10GbE ports managed by Intel’s X550 chip, and Intelligent Platform Management Interface (IPMI) for remote management, making it suitable for both workstations and servers. The basic description makes no mention of PCIe 5.0 support or M.2 slots (essential for desktop PCs), which is understandable given that this is an early representation of the X13SWA-TF’s capabilities.

For years, rumors about a Sapphire Rapids-based platform for high-end desktops and workstations have circulated. Intel, on the other hand, has never publicly confirmed plans to address the client PC market with its SPR processors, preferring to launch Sapphire Rapids for servers first. The listing is essentially the first confirmation that Intel’s W790 platform supports processors in LGA4677 packaging, indicating Intel Xeon ‘Sapphire Rapids’ CPUs. Meanwhile, Intel’s 34-core Raptor Lake-S processors may be more suitable for mainstream workstations and high-end desktops.

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