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Meet The Xeon E5s

Intel Xeon E5-2600: Doing Damage With Two Eight-Core CPUs
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An SoC architected for scalability paves the way for a very diverse portfolio of processors. There are actually four distinct families of Xeon E5 CPUs, each packaged up for a slightly different purpose.

Intel’s previous naming scheme allowed very little room to distinguish a large line-up, so it was forced to revamp its nomenclature. Xeon E7s are already available, as are the entry-level Xeon E3s. Xeon E5 sits in the middle, with a fair bit of overlap on both ends. Now, from the bottom to top, we should see some degree of consistency used in assigning model numbers. Let’s break it down:

First, you have the brand, Xeon. Easy enough. Then there’s the product line: E3, E5, or E7. Again, we get the general sense that E3 is intended for entry-level single-socket workstations and servers, while E5 now spans a broader range from single- to quad-socket systems. The E7s cover two-, four-, and eight-socket servers.

The first digit you encounter specifies wayness, or the maximum number of CPUs in a node (that’s 1, 2, 4, or 8).

The second is indicative of socket type. Somewhat confusingly, Intel plans to use the numbers 2, 4, 6, and 8 moving forward. However, the actual interface corresponding to each digit may change. At least for 2012, we end up with the following associations:

2 = LGA 1155
4 = LGA 1356
6 = LGA 2011
8 = LGA 1567

The last two numbers are SKU designators like 10, 20, 30, and so on. Although there’s no formula to tell you why one chip might be a 50 and another a 70, Intel says it uses a combination of core count, cache size, clock rate, QPI data rates, and so on to classify each chip.

Certain models might also receive a single-letter suffix. For example, a model ending in L is meant as a low-power part. The CPUs we’re testing today are flagged as workstation models with a W suffix.

Finally, in the future, Intel plans to use a version number after the model name like v2 or v3 to identify generational progression. Ivy Bridge-based CPUs will be the first to employ those.

Xeon E5-1600

Based on the aforementioned information, we know that a Xeon E5-1600 processor is designed for single-socket LGA 2011-based configurations. And would it surprise you to learn that the three available models mirror the trio of desktop Core i7-3000s we’ve already reviewed? Specification-wise, they match the Core i7-3960X, -3930K, and 3820 exactly, adding ECC memory support as a principal differentiator. The Xeons also support up to 375 GB of memory, according to Intel, along with vPro technology.

Xeon E5-2600

Now we’re talking about hardware you can’t already get on the desktop side, since the -2600s support two-socket arrangements. The largest family of Xeon E5s, the -2600s are 17-strong, ranging from an 80 W dual-core model to a workstation-specific eight-core 150 W flagship. In between, you’ll find four- and six-core models at 80 and 95 W. A pair of low-power SKUs even dips down to 60 W.


Cores/Threads
Cache
TDP
QPI
Memory Support
Advanced
Xeon E5-2690
8/16
20 MB
135 W
8 GT/s
DDR3-1600
Xeon E5-2680
8/1620 MB130 W
8 GT/sDDR3-1600
Xeon E5-2670
8/1620 MB115 W
8 GT/sDDR3-1600
Xeon E5-2665
8/1620 MB115 W
8 GT/sDDR3-1600
Xeon E5-2660
8/1620 MB95 W
8 GT/sDDR3-1600
Xeon E5-2650
8/1620 MB95 W
8 GT/sDDR3-1600
Standard
Xeon E5-2640
6/12
15 MB
95 W
7.2 GT/s
DDR3-1333
Xeon E5-2630
6/1215 MB
95 W7.2 GT/sDDR3-1333
Xeon E5-2620
6/1215 MB
95 W7.2 GT/sDDR3-1333
Basic
Xeon E5-2609
4/4
10 MB
80 W
6.4 GT/s
DDR3-1066
Xeon E5-2603
4/4
10 MB
80 W
6.4 GT/s
DDR3-1066
Additional LGA 2011 SKUs
Xeon E5-2687W
8/16
20 MB
150 W
8 GT/s
DDR3-1600
Xeon E5-2667
6/12
15 MB
130 W
7.2 GT/s
DDR3-1333
Xeon E5-2643
4/8
10 MB
130 W
6.4 GT/s
DDR3-1066
Xeon E5-2637
2/4
5 MB
80 W


Low Power
Xeon E5-2650L
8/16
20 MB
70 W
8 GT/s
DDR3-1600
Xeon E5-2630L
6/12
15 MB
60 W
7.2 GT/s
DDR3-1333


Two eight-core Xeon E5-2687Ws, fully-loaded

We got our hands on a pair of Xeon E5-2687Ws, the aforementioned 150 W parts set aside explicitly for workstation configs. Armed with eight cores, a 3.1 GHz base clock rate (3.8 GHz at its highest Turbo Boost frequency), 20 MB of L3 cache, and 8 GT/s QPI links, this is pretty much top of the line, so long as you’re able to keep it cool.

Xeon E5-4600

Past-generation Xeon 5500 and 5600s were limited to dual-socket systems. So, it might seem strange that there’s an entire line of Xeon E5s built to drop into glueless quad-socket platforms. But as we already saw with the Xeon E7s, Intel doesn’t seem to be trying to segment its server CPUs based on processor count anymore. As a result, we have the Xeon E5-4600 series.

Spanning four- to eight-core models with two QPI links each, the E5-4600s are less expensive than the E7s, which employ four QPI links and up to 10 cores per CPU. On a sliding scale, Xeon E7s have an upper hand in enterprise performance, memory expandability, and RAS functionality, while the E5s rule in performance/watt and density-oriented HPC environments.


Cores/Threads
Cache
TDP
QPI
Memory Support
Advanced
Xeon E5-4650
8/16
20 MB
130 W
8 GT/s
DDR3-1600
Xeon E5-4640
8/1620 MB
95 W
8 GT/sDDR3-1600
Standard
Xeon E5-4620
8/1616 MB95 W
7.2 GT/s
DDR3-1333
Xeon E5-4610
6/12
15 MB95 W
7.2 GT/sDDR3-1333
Basic
Xeon E5-4607
6/12
12 MB
95 W
6.4 GT/s
DDR3-1066
Xeon E5-4603
4/8
10 MB
95W
6.4 GT/s
DDR3-1066
Low Power
Xeon E5-4650L
8/16
20 MB
115 W
8 GT/sDDR3-1600
Frequency-Optimized
Xeon E5-4617
6/12
15 MB
130 W
7.2 GT/sDDR3-1600


You’ll find eight -4600 SKUs sporting between four and eight cores, and with TDPs that range from 95 to 130 W.

Xeon E5-2400

All of the Xeon E5-x600 processors drop into the LGA 2011 interface with which we’re already familiar. But Intel is introducing another socket for premium 1S and entry-level 2S systems called LGA 1356. Although it’s the true successor to LGA 1366, the 1356-pin socket isn’t compatible (likely as a result of power changes and the on-die PCI Express control). Like its precursor, though, LGA 1356 processors employ three memory channels and a single QPI link connecting CPUs in a 2S configuration. They also offer fewer third-gen PCI Express lanes: 24 rather than 40.

A second new interface is less of a big deal in the server space than it would be for desktop users, since the enterprise guys don’t spend a lot of time popping new CPUs into rack-mounted machines. As a result, the Xeon E5-2400s are simply Intel’s way to get more mileage out of its architecture and bridge the gap between its single-socket E5s and the more performance-oriented E5-x600s.

Feature
Xeon E5-2600 Family
Xeon E5-2400 Family
Processor Interface
LGA 2011
LGA 1356
Memory Channels
4 Per CPU
3 Per CPU
Max DIMM Slots
24
12
Max Memory
768 GB
384 GB
PCIe Lanes/Controllers
80 / 20
48 / 12
Thermal Targets
150, 135, 130, 115, 95, 80, 70, 60 W
95, 80, 70, 60 W
Usage
Server/Workstation
Server


Keeping Them Cool

Intel’s Core i7-3000 processors are its first desktop models to ship without any bundled cooling, leaving power users to pick their own solution (fortunately, we have you covered there with Big Air: 14 LGA 2011-Compatible Coolers For Core i7-3000, Reviewed). That was a controversial decision, since enthusiasts all use pedestal enclosures with fairly similar dimensions.

The server and workstation spaces aren’t as general, though. Some of these chips might find their way into freestanding small business boxes, while others go into narrow 1U chassis. It’s a little more understandable that you buy cooling for these Xeon E5s separately, based on your application.

Three heat sinks cover all 37 of the processors being introduced. Two of them, STS200P and STS200PNRW, are 25.5 mm-tall for rack-mounted environments. The former is a square 91.5x91.5 mm, while the latter is 70 mm wide and 106 mm long to accommodate the narrower sockets typical of HPC-oriented blades. Both are passive and rated for TDPs of up to 130 W. The third cooler, STS200C, includes a removable fan and is able to cope with thermal ceilings of up to 150 W.

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Top Comments
  • 19 Hide
    willard , March 6, 2012 4:54 PM
    dalethepcmanNo gaming benchmarks? I know this is a high workstation / mid server build, but you know some of the boutiques will make a gaming rig out of any platform. Just out of curiosity, I would have liked to see 2x7970 or 2x580 and a few gaming benchmarks thrown in.

    I'd be really surprised to see these in gaming machines, even in the high end boutiques. That's a $2k processor they reviewed, and basically all it offers over the $1k SB-E chip (for gamers) is an extra pair of cores, which games can't make use of.
  • 18 Hide
    willard , March 6, 2012 5:24 PM
    esreverwhy aren't AMD cpus tested too? I wouldn't mind seeing how 2x interlagos stacks up.

    Anandtech benched those next to the new Xeons. Went about as well as Bulldozer vs. Sandy Bridge.

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/5553/the-xeon-e52600-dual-sandybridge-for-servers/6
  • 14 Hide
    cangelini , March 6, 2012 5:25 PM
    esreverwhy aren't AMD cpus tested too? I wouldn't mind seeing how 2x interlagos stacks up.

    Mentioned on the test page--I've invited them to send hardware and they haven't moved on it yet.
Other Comments
  • 8 Hide
    CaedenV , March 6, 2012 4:36 PM
    My brain cannot comprehend what CS5 would look like with this combined with a 1TB R4 drive, and the GTX680 version of the Quatro would look like... and I am sure my wallet cannot!

    Great article! I was not expecting my mind to be blown away today, and it was :) 
  • 19 Hide
    willard , March 6, 2012 4:54 PM
    dalethepcmanNo gaming benchmarks? I know this is a high workstation / mid server build, but you know some of the boutiques will make a gaming rig out of any platform. Just out of curiosity, I would have liked to see 2x7970 or 2x580 and a few gaming benchmarks thrown in.

    I'd be really surprised to see these in gaming machines, even in the high end boutiques. That's a $2k processor they reviewed, and basically all it offers over the $1k SB-E chip (for gamers) is an extra pair of cores, which games can't make use of.
  • 9 Hide
    nforce4max , March 6, 2012 5:07 PM
    I must say DROOL :o 

  • 14 Hide
    esrever , March 6, 2012 5:19 PM
    why aren't AMD cpus tested too? I wouldn't mind seeing how 2x interlagos stacks up.
  • 0 Hide
    reclusiveorc , March 6, 2012 5:19 PM
    I wonder how fast TempEncode would chew thru transcoding avi/wmv files to mp3/mp4
  • 18 Hide
    willard , March 6, 2012 5:24 PM
    esreverwhy aren't AMD cpus tested too? I wouldn't mind seeing how 2x interlagos stacks up.

    Anandtech benched those next to the new Xeons. Went about as well as Bulldozer vs. Sandy Bridge.

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/5553/the-xeon-e52600-dual-sandybridge-for-servers/6
  • 14 Hide
    cangelini , March 6, 2012 5:25 PM
    esreverwhy aren't AMD cpus tested too? I wouldn't mind seeing how 2x interlagos stacks up.

    Mentioned on the test page--I've invited them to send hardware and they haven't moved on it yet.
  • 10 Hide
    willard , March 6, 2012 5:32 PM
    cangeliniMentioned on the test page--I've invited them to send hardware and they haven't moved on it yet.

    I would guess that's because Interlagos is garbage compared to the new Xeons and they know it. I don't think they're terribly eager for the front page of Tom's Hardware to show the low end Xeon's beating the best Interlagos has to offer.
  • 9 Hide
    cangelini , March 6, 2012 5:47 PM
    willardI would guess that's because Interlagos is garbage compared to the new Xeons and they know it. I don't think they're terribly eager for the front page of Tom's Hardware to show the low end Xeon's beating the best Interlagos has to offer.

    Not really my place to speculate--only to point out that I similarly wanted to see AMD hardware included and explain why it isn't there :) 
  • 5 Hide
    willard , March 6, 2012 5:48 PM
    jtt283What, or who, was the target? Are there military applications for this weapon?Sorry, vote me down all you like, but the title was just silly.

    No, the title is a fairly common phrase in American English.

    "Now that I've got X, I can really do some damage" would probably be the way I hear it used most often.
  • 6 Hide
    willard , March 6, 2012 5:49 PM
    cangeliniNot really my place to speculate--only to point out that I similarly wanted to see AMD hardware included and explain why it isn't there

    Yeah, I understand that you're in a sensitive position. But being a lowly commenter, I'm free to speculate all I want!

    Muahahahaha!
  • 6 Hide
    cangelini , March 6, 2012 5:52 PM
    willardYeah, I understand that you're in a sensitive position. But being a lowly commenter, I'm free to speculate all I want!Muahahahaha!

    Precisely ;-)
  • 1 Hide
    wiyosaya , March 6, 2012 6:08 PM
    Interesting results.

    In my opinion, the SolidWorks test is also one of those not representative of typical SolidWorks tasks. PhotoView only renders realistic images of a SolidWorks model. Personally, I think the Specviewperf SolidWorks test would be significantly more representative of average SolidWorks use.

    Although I really hate to draw this comparison, PhotoView is more like using Power Point to organize a display of images created in Photoshop. In this comparison, most of the grunt work is done by Photoshop rather than Power Point, as is most of the grunt work done in SolidWorks then rendered in PhotoView. Performance differences revealed by the Specviewperf test are more informative, IMHO. See these.
  • 0 Hide
    juan83 , March 6, 2012 6:08 PM
    great review.. i wonder myself how long we 'll have to wait to see 8 cores and 16 threads on desktop segment as a default pc.. (or less than 400 dolars)

    we have to wait to long for that..
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , March 6, 2012 6:37 PM
    I would love one of those with a pair of FireGL cards and a mix of SCSI and SSD drives. I'm sure a dual core version of all of that will run me close to $8K though. Consider though how much Sun SPARC stations and SGI Workstations costed a decade or so ago? Workstations that were not nearly as capable went 20-25k. A dual core E5-2687 with FireGL cards and SSD drives is the fastest workstation you could put together on any platform and you can do it for far less than the 25k from years ago. Absolutely crazy to think about it in those terms.
  • 3 Hide
    EXT64 , March 6, 2012 6:52 PM
    I think you need to run some folding at home on that. I can't imagine what it would get in PPD, considering how well the old Intel 6 cores (Gulftown) do.
  • 1 Hide
    jaquith , March 6, 2012 7:11 PM
    Great article and thanks! 16-cores/32-threads is nice! :) 

    Reading this however, all I can do is think how PO'ed I am at Intel not enabling the 7th & 8th cores on the SB-E i7-3960X and i7-3930K.
  • 5 Hide
    cangelini , March 6, 2012 7:14 PM
    jaquithGreat article and thanks! 16-cores/32-threads is nice! Reading this however, all I can do is think how PO'ed I am at Intel not enabling the 7th & 8th cores on the SB-E i7-3960X and i7-3930K.

    I'm going to drop these into X79 and compare the numbers to see how power is affected. Maybe get a little overclocking out of them, just to check ;-)
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