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7500-Series Versus 7400-Series

Intel’s Xeon 7500-Series CPUs Target Enterprise Computing

Reliability aside, the Xeon 7500-series should prove to be a solid performance play, clobbering its predecessor, the 7400-series, in every way imaginable.

Of course, the comparison isn't even close, given that the 7400 was based on the Core architecture and the 7500 is based on Nehalem.

Xeon 7400
Xeon 7500
Memory Controller
Front-side Bus
On-die controller
Memory Channels
Max CPU sockets4
Memory slots per CPU8
L3 cache16MB

The eight socket support was a surprise Intel dropped during the launch of the chip. Prior to the Xeon 7500-series, you couldn't put more than four processors in a motherboard without needing a special controller chip called a node manager, and then you weren't liable to see much of a scale-up. With its Xeon 7500-series processors, Intel promises you can put eight processors on a motherboard without needing a node manager, and performance will scale up to 80 percent per processor. In other words, if you go from four processors to eight, you should be able to expect  a near-doubling of performance.

The launch of the 7500-series was one of the most impressive ever for Intel. It usually has OEM partners present for a server processor launch. IBM, Dell, HP, Cray, SGI, NEC, Fujitsu, Cisco, and Oracle/Sun were all there to show off hardware. Dell and HP both demonstrated their first four-socket blades and Dell unveiled its first four-socket racks. It had only sold two-socket models before. Cray had its first Xeon servers (it has always been an AMD shop). NEC, Fujitsu, and Oracle showed off eight-socket servers, and SGI outdid everyone, showing off a 256-socket server.

There were also a lot of software vendors there to pledge support for the 7500-series, in particular the processor’s virtualization functionality. Citrix, Microsoft, Novell, Oracle, Red Hat, and VMware all announced plans to certify and tune their software for the processor and its increased workload capabilities.

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