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Benchmark Results: Sandra 2010

Intel Xeon 5600-Series: Can Your PC Use 24 Processors?
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Synthetics generally do the best job of showing what a given hardware configuration is capable of, even if real-world software doesn’t reflect the same result. In Sandra’s Arithmetic benchmark, we see linear scaling from one Core i7-980X to a pair of Xeon X5680s—equivalent to a pair of 980Xs on the same board.

The Xeon W5580s scale as expected. But because they run 133 MHz slower than the X5680s, you don’t see the 66% scaling that’d result in 196 GIPS and 141 GFLOPS from a pair of 3.33 GHz CPUs.

The same story holds true here. Sandra, optimized for as many threads as you can throw at it, fully employs the resources available on our test systems to scale in an almost-linear manner.

Back when I reviewed the Core i7-980X, Sandra 2010 helped demonstrate the potential of AES-NI in the 32 nm part with AES256 bandwidth numbers as high as 11.1 GB/s. This looks like an omission on Intel’s part. While our Core i7-980X engineering sample includes AES-NI support, as reported by CPU-Z, this feature is not enabled on our Xeon X5680 processors—also confirmed by the latest version of CPU-Z. The result is that effective AES throughput is significantly lower here than what you’d find on a production CPU.

The silver lining is that the multi-socket configurations scale according to execution resources, so the SHA256 scores for a pair of Xeon X5680s are up double compared to the Core i7-980X.

One of the benefits to going with Intel’s Xeon 5600-series is support for DDR3-1333 data rates with two modules per channel. Our dual-socket, triple-channel, 12-slot configuration is perfect for putting that to the test.

The bad news is that we don’t see any bandwidth gain at DDR3-1333 versus the Xeon 5500-series setup, running at DDR3-1066. Fortunately, with a number near 35 GB/s, we’re still far in excess of what previous-generation architectures could have achieved with an off-die memory controller and front side bus. And while scaling isn’t quite 2:1 versus a single-socket Core i7-980X, the bandwidth increase is ample to keep both six-core processors fed with data. We haven’t found many (if any) situations where the Westmere (Nehalem) architecture is starved for data with its triple-channel controller.

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  • 17 Hide
    one-shot , July 26, 2010 6:16 AM
    Or 24 Logical cores, not really Processors.
  • 13 Hide
    wh3resmycar , July 26, 2010 7:03 AM
    Quote:
    So many cpu's in task manager...do all but 1 go unused running a single threaded app? shame intel had to go this route with more cores instead of making single core with hyper-threading work faster. you should really only need 2 logical cpu's and hyper threading accomplishes it with 1.


    i have a feeling you dont understand what the word "workstation" means.
  • 13 Hide
    Tamz_msc , July 26, 2010 6:29 AM
    I was expecting an even better performance from these CPUs.The performance is still limited by the software you use.
Other Comments
  • 17 Hide
    one-shot , July 26, 2010 6:16 AM
    Or 24 Logical cores, not really Processors.
  • 12 Hide
    Zerk , July 26, 2010 6:20 AM
    24 threads, 12 cores.

    A+ Excellent Review.
  • 11 Hide
    enzo matrix , July 26, 2010 6:20 AM
    one-shotOr 24 Logical CPUs, not really Processors.

    Misleading title. I was excited because I assumed intel had finally come out with 12-core server CPUs.
  • 13 Hide
    Tamz_msc , July 26, 2010 6:29 AM
    I was expecting an even better performance from these CPUs.The performance is still limited by the software you use.
  • 0 Hide
    shin0bi272 , July 26, 2010 6:35 AM
    Enzo MatrixMisleading title. I was excited because I assumed intel had finally come out with 12-core server CPUs.

    they could have gone 4x 6 core cpus without HT too.
  • -3 Hide
    cangelini , July 26, 2010 6:45 AM
    Enzo MatrixMisleading title. I was excited because I assumed intel had finally come out with 12-core server CPUs.


    The Xeon 5600-series tops out with 6 cores and 12 threads, yielding 24 logical processors between two sockets. =)
  • 13 Hide
    wh3resmycar , July 26, 2010 7:03 AM
    Quote:
    So many cpu's in task manager...do all but 1 go unused running a single threaded app? shame intel had to go this route with more cores instead of making single core with hyper-threading work faster. you should really only need 2 logical cpu's and hyper threading accomplishes it with 1.


    i have a feeling you dont understand what the word "workstation" means.
  • -4 Hide
    Anonymous , July 26, 2010 7:39 AM
    Hyper threading was kind of cool back in the P4 days, but now I don't see the point. Virtually nothing that >people actually use< has any benefit to see from it.. It just makes for cool screenshots imo..

    I guess what this review says is that, if you want performance for stuff you do at home you should pretty much just get a Nehalem i7 6c with some fast ram. The xeons seems to be behind on everything multimedia, much as expected.
  • 7 Hide
    Otus , July 26, 2010 8:06 AM
    cangeliniThe Xeon 5600-series tops out with 6 cores and 12 threads, yielding 24 logical processors between two sockets. =)

    You should have written "logical processors" or "logical cores" and no one would have argued.
    mheagerNot true. Hyper threading makes it so if one app gets stuck in an endless loop it doesn't suck up all the cpu and freeze the computer.

    The OS can do that even on a single core with no HT. Not to mention the case with many physical cores which non-HT CPUs have nowadays.
  • -2 Hide
    kokin , July 26, 2010 8:08 AM
    mheagerNot true. Hyper threading makes it so if one app gets stuck in an endless loop it doesn't suck up all the cpu and freeze the computer.

    But why should it get stuck in an endless loop with all that computing power?
  • 3 Hide
    mindbreaker , July 26, 2010 9:12 AM
    Since when do the chip makers get to choose not to have their chips tested? Is this a news magazine or isn't it? Test those G34 socket AMD Opterons!

    And guys; chess is still one of the best applications to see the potential of a chip with all threads pegged. Crafty has a benchmark if the Fritz one is not using all the threads. Or you can do things more hands on; just see how much time it requires to get StockFish 1.8 to reach depth 30 in the start position. It is free and the #2 engine in the world.
  • 3 Hide
    jeffunit , July 26, 2010 9:30 AM
    Nice picture of a memory module. Unfortunately, it isn't a picture of the kingston KVR1333D3E9SK3/3G which has ECC, and hence 9 memory chips per side.
  • 4 Hide
    cangelini , July 26, 2010 9:55 AM
    jeffunitNice picture of a memory module. Unfortunately, it isn't a picture of the kingston KVR1333D3E9SK3/3G which has ECC, and hence 9 memory chips per side.


    Blargh. That's what I get for relying on Kingston's stock photography. Photo of one of my actual modules is in there now.
  • 2 Hide
    cangelini , July 26, 2010 9:56 AM
    mindbreakerSince when do the chip makers get to choose not to have their chips tested? Is this a news magazine or isn't it? Test those G34 socket AMD Opterons! And guys; chess is still one of the best applications to see the potential of a chip with all threads pegged. Crafty has a benchmark if the Fritz one is not using all the threads. Or you can do things more hands on; just see how much time it requires to get StockFish 1.8 to reach depth 30 in the start position. It is free and the #2 engine in the world.


    Hoping to get AMD in on the next round, for sure!
  • 0 Hide
    Reynod , July 26, 2010 9:59 AM
    Enjoyed reading this ... thanks Chris.
  • 0 Hide
    amdfangirl , July 26, 2010 11:03 AM
    It's interesting to see it unable to beat the i7-980X at times.

    Just shows not everything is ready for operation more cores.
  • 0 Hide
    Marco925 , July 26, 2010 1:15 PM
    Quote:
    Can Your PC Use 24 Processors?


    I'm still on dual core... :(  so no.
  • -6 Hide
    wotan31 , July 26, 2010 1:34 PM
    I'll bet Windows won't work with this many processors. The crap OS will probably BSOD. Even it boots, Windows is a virtual retard when it comes to thread management - it scales VERY poorly once you go above 4 cpu's. Linux or OSX on the other hand, would definitely benefit from such technology, since both of those have advanced thread management.
  • -5 Hide
    wotan31 , July 26, 2010 1:35 PM
    Tamz_mscI was expecting an even better performance from these CPUs.The performance is still limited by the software you use.

    Correct... if the software you use is Windows. Use a real OS that's based on UNIX and can actually scale properly when you give it serious hardware. Windows is a tinker toy in comparison.
  • 1 Hide
    scook9 , July 26, 2010 1:51 PM
    Pretty epic review :) 
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