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Test Setup And Benchmarks

Intel Xeon E5-2600: Doing Damage With Two Eight-Core CPUs
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Intel sent us one of its P4000 enclosures and an W2600CR motherboards to test with. The roomy enclosure was much more acoustically-friendly than some of the Intel workstations we've tested in the past.

Crucial's team also stepped up to help us with this story, sending over 96 GB of very hard-to-find registered DDR3-1600 memory to populate our Xeon E5 and 5500/5600 platforms. DDR3-1333 is far more common, but it's unable to push our Xeon E5s to their highest supported data rate with one module installed per channel. Although registered modules are inherently slower than unbuffered memory, we actually realized better memory bandwidth using Crucial's hardware than a 32 GB quad-channel desktop kit that stood in while we set these workstations up.

Test Hardware
Processors
2 x Intel Xeon E5-2687W (Sandy Bridge-EP) 3.1 GHz, Eight Cores, LGA 2011, 8 GT/s QPI, 20 MB Shared L3, Hyper-Threading enabled, Power-savings enabled

2 x Intel Xeon X5680 (Westmere-EP) 3.33 GHz, Six Cores, LGA 1366, 6.4 GT/s QPI, 12 MB Shared L3, Hyper-Threading enabled, Power-savings enabled

2 x Intel Xeon W5580 (Nehalem-EP) 3.2 GHz, Four Cores, LGA 1366, 6.4 GT/s QPI, 8 MB Shared L3, Hyper-Threading enabled, Power-savings enabled

1 x Intel Core i7-3960X (Sandy Bridge-E) 3.3 GHz, Six Cores, LGA 2011, 15 MB Shared L3, Hyper-Threading enabled, Power-savings enabled
Motherboards
Intel W2600CR (LGA 2011) Intel 5520/ICH10R, BIOS 50;53;28;112

Intel S5520SCR (LGA 1366) Intel 5520/ICH10R, BIOS 50;53;28;112

Gigabyte X79-UD5 (LGA 2011) Intel X79 Express, BIOS F9
Memory
Crucial 64 GB (8 x 8 GB) DDR3-1600 Registered ECC, MT36KSF1G72PZ-1G6M1HF

G.Skill 32 GB (4 x 8 GB) DDR3-1600 Unbuffered, F3-12800CL9Q2-32GBZL
Hard Drive
Intel SSDSA2BZ200G3 200 GB SATA 3 Gb/s (SSD 710)
Graphics
AMD FirePro V5900
Power Supply
Intel DPS-750XB A 750 W

Chicony CPB09-003A 1000 W
System Software And Drivers
Operating System
Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
DirectX
DirectX 11
Graphics DriverFirePro Driver 8.911.3.1


Although we’ve seen AMD’s share of workstation CPU market grow to nearly five percent (in 2006, according to Jon Peddie Research), it’s now essentially zero. We’ve repeatedly invited AMD to participate in our workstation-oriented coverage, but it concedes that it’s no longer a player in this space.

Unlike the last time we looked at a pair of Xeon processors, AMD does have a suitable workstation chipset available in the SR5690, so we’d still very much like to see the company get more involved in courting professional customers (especially since it has all of those FirePro cards to sell them...). For now, we have four different configurations spanning three generations of Intel hardware.

Benchmarks and Settings
Audio/Video Encoding
MainConcept 2.2
Version: 2.2.0.5440
Video: MPEG-2 to H.264, MainConcept H.264/AVC Codec, 28 sec HDTV 1920x1080 (MPEG-2)
Audio: MPEG-2 (44.1 kHz, Two-Channel, 16-Bit, 224 Kb/s)
Codec: H.264 Pro, Mode: PAL 50i (25 FPS), Profile: H.264 BD HDMV
HandBrake CLIVersion: 0.9.5
Video: Big Buck Bunny (720x480, 23.972 frames) Five Minutes
Audio: Dolby Digital, 48 000 Hz, Six-Channel, English to Video: AVC1 Audio1: AC3 Audio2: AAC (High Profile)
Lame MP3Version: 3.98.3
Audio CD "Terminator II SE", 53 min, convert WAV to MP3 audio format, Command: -b 160 --nores (160 Kb/s)
Applications
Adobe After Effects
Version: CS5.5
Tom's Hardware Workload, SD project with three picture-in-picture frames, source video at 720p, Render Multiple Frames Simultaneously
Adobe Photoshop
Version: CS5
Tom's Hardware Workload, Radial Blur, Shape Blur, Median, Polar Coordinates filters
Adobe Premiere Pro
Version: CS5.5
Paladin Workload, Maximum Render Quality, H.264 Blu-ray profile
e-on Software Vue 8 PLE
1920x1080 landscape render, Global Illumination enabled
SolidWorks 2010
PhotoView 360
Render 01-Lighter Explode.SLDASM (SolidMuse.com)
Image Output Resolution: 1920x1080, Render: Preview Quality “Good”, Final Render Quality “Best”
Euler3D
CFD simulation over NACA 445.6 aeroelastic test wing at Mach .5
3ds Max 2012
Version: 10 x64
Rendering Space Flyby Mentalray (SPECapc_3dsmax9), Frame: 248, Resolution: 1440 x 1080
Blender
Version: 2.62
Syntax blender -b thg.blend -f 1, Resolution: 1920x1080, Anti-Aliasing: 8x, Render: THG.blend frame 1, Cycles renderer and internal tile renderer (9x9)
Visual Studio 2010
Compile Chrome project (1/31/2012) with devenv.com /build Release
ABBYY FineReader 10
Version: 10 Professional Build (10.0.102.82)
Read PDF, save to Doc, Source:Political Economy (J. Broadhurst 1842) 111 Pages
7-Zip
Version 9.22 beta
LZMA2, Syntax "a -t7z -r -m0=LZMA2 -mx=5", Benchmark: 2010-THG-Workload
WinRAR
Version: 4.11
RAR, Syntax "winrar a -r -m3", Benchmark: 2010-THG-Workload
WinZip
Version: 16.0 Pro
WinZip CLI, Benchmark: 2010-THG-Workload
Synthetic Benchmarks and Settings
SiSoftware Sandra 2012 SP2
CPU Test=CPU Arithmetic/Multimedia, Memory Test=Bandwidth Benchmark, Cryptography, Cache Performance
Cinebench 11.5
CPU Test, Built-in benchmark
Display all 80 comments.
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
    esrever , March 6, 2012 5:19 PM
    why aren't AMD cpus tested too? I wouldn't mind seeing how 2x interlagos stacks up.
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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