Intel Xeon E5-2600 v4 Broadwell-EP Review

Intel's 3D NAND SSD Debut: DC P3520/P3320 And DC3700/3600

DC P3520 And DC P3320 Series SSDs

Intel is simultaneously launching four datacenter SSDs, which are particularly interesting because the DC P3520 and DC P3320 both employ the company's long-awaited 3D NAND. The jointly developed IMFT flash sets a new standard for density with 32 layers and 256Gb per MLC die and an impressive 384Gb per die of 3D TLC.

The new NAND enables incredible density. We'll see up to 512GB for a 16-die MLC package and up to 768GB in a 16-die TLC package. IMFT 3D NAND employs floating-gate technology, which is quite a bit different than what other NAND fabs are doing with their Charge Trap Flash (CTF). Intel has a long history with floating-gate transistors, and the company believes it can extract more performance and endurance compared to competing CTF designs. IMFT NAND also puts most of the CMOS under the array, which boosts efficiency and density.

We were able to snap a few pictures of the DC P3520 at Intel's Broadwell-EP press briefing. As you can see, the SSD is physically almost identical to the company's existing DC P3700 SSDs.

The DC P3320 comes in capacities as large as 2TB, matching its counterparts based on planar NAND. This is surprising considering the higher density possible with 3D NAND. But Intel indicated that the new design features the same controller as the previous-gen planar NAND-based products. That controller can only address up to 2TB due to DRAM management limitations.

Intel sells the DC P3320 in both 2.5" and add-in card form factors with 450GB (2.5"-only), 1.2TB and 2TB of flash. The company rates its DC P3320 for up to 365,000 random read and 22,000 random write IOPS. Those write numbers are similar to the low-endurance DC P3500 (23,000 IOPS), but the random reads are not nearly as fast as the DC P3500's 430,000 IOPS. The DC P3320 offers up to 1600 MB/s sequential reads and 1400 MB/s of sequential writes, which also lags its NVMe-based predecessors.

Intel attributes the lower performance to a loss of parallelism due to higher-capacity 3D NAND dies. Future models will sport an improved controller that manages more DRAM, thereby accommodating more capacity and parallelism, which ultimately improves performance. Intel doesn't get specific, but indicates that the DC P3320 will feature a lower price than the DC P3500 and a similar write endurance rating (0.3 DWPD for five years).

Intel continues its focus on performance consistency, touting the end-to-end data path protection that provides a resilience to silent data corruption. Intel is one of the few storage vendors confident enough to share field reliability data, and it continues to maintain an Annual Failure Rate (AFR) below 0.44%.

Intel also mentioned the new DC P3520 during its briefing. However, the company did not share any performance details. We did uncover a document last August that accurately foretold the DC P3608's release though, and it included information on the DC P3520. The slide above is a bit dated at this point; its listed availability was originally anticipated in Q4 2015. But other information in the same document proved true, so we are fairly confident that it still reflects the projected specifications. At the very least, Intel hinted that the DC P3520 will be a performance-oriented model, which agrees with the numbers listed above.

Intel DC D3700 And DC D3600 Series SSDs

Intel also announced dual-port active-active NVMe-based SSDs at the event, which closely resemble the 2.5" DC P3700 NVMe SSD we recently tested and the 2.5" DC P3320 pictured above.

SAS-attached SSDs still enjoy the advantage of two ports, which provide an active-active connection for High Availability (HA) features like multi-path and fail-over. These are extremely important in mission-critical applications, and NVMe's original lack of dual-port functionality hampered its adoption in many of the long-held SAS-based SSD bastions, such as all-flash arrays. In fact, we dinged the 2.5" Intel DC P3700 NVMe SSD for that exact reason in our review earlier this month.

The NVM Express consortium added dual-port support to later revisions of the standard, and Intel's DC D3700 and DC D3600 SSDs provide two PCIe 3.0 x2 connections into compatible backplanes. Although this allows multiple hosts to access the SSDs, it also cuts performance in half, from a top speed of 470,000 random 4KB read and 95,000 write IOPS, and 2100 MB/s sequential read 1500 MB/s sequential write throughput.

Intel's new NVMe SSDs are only available in a 2.5" form factor, and they require special backplanes to take advantage of the dual-port functionality. You'll only find the DC D3700 at 800GB and 1.6TB capacity points, though you get 10 DWPD of endurance. The DC D3600 is available in 1 and 2TB capacities with a 3 DWPD rating.

Features supported by the drives are similar to what you get from SAS-based SSDs, including reservations, scatter/gather lists, multiple namespaces and in-controller memory buffers. Intel indicates that the mulitple namespace capability runs in hardware, which is better than SAS' software-based approach, increasing efficiency.

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  • utroz
    Hmm well we know that Broadwell-E chips must be coming very very soon if Intel let this info out.
  • bit_user
    Wasn't there supposed to be a 4-core 5.0 GHz SKU? Single-thread performance still matters, in many cases.
  • turkey3_scratch
    328798 said:
    Wasn't there supposed to be a 4-core 5.0 GHz SKU? Single-thread performance still matters, in many cases.


    In most server applications it doesn't matter as much as multithreaded performance. If you need single-core strength, getting a consumer chip is actually better, but you probably aren't running a server if single-threaded is your focus.
  • PaulyAlcorn
    Quote:
    Wasn't there supposed to be a 4-core 5.0 GHz SKU? Single-thread performance still matters, in many cases.

    I read the rumors on that as well, but nothing official has surfaced as of yet to my knowledge.
  • bit_user
    1712875 said:
    328798 said:
    Wasn't there supposed to be a 4-core 5.0 GHz SKU? Single-thread performance still matters, in many cases.
    In most server applications it doesn't matter as much as multithreaded performance. If you need single-core strength, getting a consumer chip is actually better, but you probably aren't running a server if single-threaded is your focus.
    Try telling that to high-frequency traders. I'm sure they want the reliability features of Xeons (ECC, for example), but the highest clock speed available.

    And the fact that Intel even released low-core high-clock SKUs is an acknowledgement of this continuing need. Clock just not as high as I'd read. With the other specs basically matching the Haswell version, the only difference is ~5% IPC improvement. Seems pretty poor improvement, for a die-shrink.
  • firefoxx04
    Would nice to have a quad core xeon that turbos at 4.4ghz just like the 4790k. I had to go with a 4690k when building an autocad system because it only uses one core and needs that core to be fast... this means i have to sacrifice ecc support.
  • bit_user
    2074532 said:
    Quote:
    Wasn't there supposed to be a 4-core 5.0 GHz SKU? Single-thread performance still matters, in many cases.
    I read the rumors on that as well, but nothing official has surfaced as of yet to my knowledge.

    On wccftech (not the most reliable source, I know), they claimed:

    Model: Intel Xeon E5-2602 V4
    Cores/threads: 4/8
    Base clock: 5.1 GHz
    Turbo clock: TBD
    L3 Cache: 5 MB
    TDP: 165W

    Given what we know about 2.5 MB/core of L3 Cache, the 5 MB figure sounds suspicious. It's conceivable they could disable some to hit the target TDP, I guess.
  • firefoxx04
    We cant get skylake to consistently hit 5ghz... why would a xeon chip suddenly hit 5ghz?
  • JamesSneed
    211300 said:
    We cant get skylake to consistently hit 5ghz... why would a xeon chip suddenly hit 5ghz?


    I'm not saying the 5Ghz rumor is true but Intel has always known which chips can hit higher clocks during certification if the chip is a top end or low end chip cores disabled etc. I'm sure they could cherry pick a few to sell for $$$ if they wanted. Now are they I have no real idea.
  • bit_user
    211300 said:
    We cant get skylake to consistently hit 5ghz... why would a xeon chip suddenly hit 5ghz?
    Well, I was surprised, too.

    There are obviously things you can do in chip design that allow one to reach different timing targets. And I was hoping they might've refined their 14 nm process, since the time the first Broadwells launched. So, I thought, with more TDP headroom afforded by this socket (roughly double what Skylake has to work with), maybe they could do it.

    I thought maybe Intel was addressing some pent-up demand for high clockspeed applications. That said, it seemed particularly odd in Broadwell, given that it generally seems oriented towards lower clockspeed / lower power applications.

    But maybe it was a typo, or even a blatant lie, in order to track down leakers.
  • alidan
    Quote:
    We cant get skylake to consistently hit 5ghz... why would a xeon chip suddenly hit 5ghz?


    proper binning and sold specifically as that because of what it hits, this could double/triple the value of the chip at least compared to other lower binned versions.
  • thor220
    Quote:
    Wasn't there supposed to be a 4-core 5.0 GHz SKU? Single-thread performance still matters, in many cases.


    A really high clock on a server platform seems like an overclocker's dream to me. Stability and performance. Not to mention that server processors use solder instead of that cheap paste Intel uses in their consumer processors.
  • RedJaron
    Doesn't sound right to me. A server chip binned that high would be ridiculously expensive, more than even the 5960X. I can't see then selling more than a couple hundred to the richest and most eccentric computer enthusiasts.
  • LudeMasta99
    How many FPS will I get in Crysis with this?
  • Adriano Bordignon
    How does Photoshop behave under this cpu?
  • bit_user
    570460 said:
    Doesn't sound right to me. A server chip binned that high would be ridiculously expensive, more than even the 5960X. I can't see then selling more than a couple hundred to the richest and most eccentric computer enthusiasts.
    FWIW, IBM introduced Power6 processors in 2007 & 2009 that were clocked up to 5 GHz. No doubt, they cost an arm and a couple legs.
  • Waldek
    Slightly off the topic, but... I was curious about the data centers' power consumption statistics. The article says 416.2 TWh per year. This is true. What the article says incorrectly, however, is that it would be more than 182 countries (of 192). The correct example would be that this gives the datacenters of the world 11th place in the power consumption ranking in the world. For example, the UK alone consumes 320 TWh (and is currently number 11 worldwide). The datacenters consume currently ca. 5% of the world's power usage...
  • sincreator
    Getting a chip to hit 5.0ghz or more stable is pretty rare to say the least. Silicon Lottery https://siliconlottery.com/collections/2011-3 specializes in picking out binned chips to sell, and they don't even have one model that is clocked that high.
  • PaulyAlcorn
    Quote:
    Slightly off the topic, but... I was curious about the data centers' power consumption statistics. The article says 416.2 TWh per year. This is true. What the article says incorrectly, however, is that it would be more than 182 countries (of 192). The correct example would be that this gives the datacenters of the world 11th place in the power consumption ranking in the world. For example, the UK alone consumes 320 TWh (and is currently number 11 worldwide). The datacenters consume currently ca. 5% of the world's power usage...


    The article does not state that it is more than the *combined* total of 182 countries, merely that it consumes more power than each of them compared individually. You are right,mentioning that it would place 11th in the world is probably a better way of stating the statistic.
  • bit_user
    248772 said:
    Getting a chip to hit 5.0ghz or more stable is pretty rare to say the least. Silicon Lottery https://siliconlottery.com/collections/2011-3 specializes in picking out binned chips to sell, and they don't even have one model that is clocked that high.
    Sure, but there's a difference between binning chips designed to run at a lower clock vs. actually designing a chip to hit higher clock speeds. There's no reason Intel can't make chips that clock higher, but they don't choose to because they think there's not sufficient market demand for something which burns so much power. AMD tried this with 225 W TDP Bulldozers, a few years back.

    I remember reading that the Pentium 4 was originally designed to scale up to 10 GHz, by the end of its production. Of course, back then, the only way they could hit those speeds was to use really long pipelines composed of very simple stages. Then, when they discovered that leakage of newer process nodes was higher than anticipated, they were left with a very inefficient architecture that was stuck below the clock speeds that would've made it competitive.

    These days, I think Intel could do it without such a drastic architectural tradeoff. But it still comes down to a power vs. clock, no matter what.
  • utroz
    328798 said:
    570460 said:
    Doesn't sound right to me. A server chip binned that high would be ridiculously expensive, more than even the 5960X. I can't see then selling more than a couple hundred to the richest and most eccentric computer enthusiasts.
    FWIW, IBM introduced Power6 processors in 2007 & 2009 that were clocked up to 5 GHz. No doubt, they cost an arm and a couple legs.


    Those IBM chips had a really long pipeline to allow clock speeds that high as well as an SOI process node basically built from the ground up for them. I wonder what version of 14nm Intel is using for Broadwell-E/EP/EX as I know they had one version they used for the Broadwell-U,Y,H,DT(C) and when they moved to Skylake they used an updated version of 14nm. Is it possible that Broadwell_E/EP/EX are using the updated 14nm process?
  • pastorpastor
    nice review, but I'm deceived, there is no important 3d rendering benchmarks like cinebench 3dsmax / VRAY