by August 1, 2011 0 comments

Intel has expanded the Xeon series of server processors to include 2 new series, viz Xeon E7 and E3 processors. This forms part of the process shrinking tick in the company’s tick-tock model for processor manufacturing. The new processor series is manufactured using the 32nm process and succeeds the previous Nehalem-EX 45nm process. The new series of processors have ousted the 8 core (max) predecessors with 10 cores (max) and 20 threads. Along with the change in cores, the max clock speed of the highest processor within the series is 2.4 GHz which is reportedly 6% higher than the 2.26 GHz in the Nehalem family. The cores can now share 30 MB worth L3 cache amongst themselves which implies reduced fetch frequency and faster processing. This was previously restricted to 24 MB L3 cache present within the Nehalem-EX series. The new chip bumps the amount of usable memory from 1TB (64 DIMM slots) to 2TB. The L3 cache, although slower than the L1 and the L2, is still faster than the RAM and hence a bigger L3 cache means relatively faster processing. The new series of processors support low power DIMMs and hence it means more performance for the same amount of power being consumed.

Applies To: IT decision makers
USP: Learn about the new server processor range from Intel.
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Search Engine Keywords: Westmere EX, Intel Xeon E3, Intel Xeon E7

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The Westmere EX processors are supported on the Intel LGA 1155 (Xeon E3) and the Intel LGA 1567 (Xeon E7) sockets. The new series of Xeon processors find support for up to 4 sockets per board. With up to 10 cores and 20 threads per CPU, this would mean a new server based on the Westmere EX CPU tech would have as high as 40 cores and 80 threads. This is about twice the number of consolidations as compared to the dual socket based systems and reduced power consumption, translating into more energy efficiency. The latest BI, ERP and CRM apps require bigger and faster compute capabilities and the new line of processors does meet their requirements. Each CPU from the Westmere EX line of processors can support upto 512 GB RAM which means that a 4S system can support upto a whopping 2TB RAM.

Just like in a Nehalem-EX based system, Westmere EX has support for RAS (reliability, availability, and serviceability) which means it will work with the firmware/OS to recover from hardware errors. It would automatically attempt to recover or restart processes so that the machine continues to function normally.

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Change in processor nomenclature: Beginning with the Westmere EX-based processors, Intel has introduced a new multiyear Xeon processor and chipset numbering system. However, the older products in the Xeon and Itanium product range would remain unaffected by this change.

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