Haswell-Based Xeon E3-1200: Three Generations, Benchmarked

Three Generations Of Xeon E3-1275 CPUs

Intel maintained processor interface compatibility between the Sandy and Ivy Bridge-based Xeon E3s, both of which dropped into LGA 1155 sockets. In most cases, upgrading from one to the other was achievable through a firmware update. With the introduction of Haswell, notable changes (such as the fully-integrated voltage regulator) necessitate a new interface called LGA 1150, which naturally requires updated motherboards and platforms.

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ProcessorArchitectureManufacturing ProcessInterfaceIntroduced
Intel Xeon E3-1200Sandy Bridge32 nmLGA 11552011
Intel Xeon E3-1200 v2Ivy Bridge22 nmLGA 11552012
Intel Xeon E3-1200 v3Haswell22 nmLGA 11502013

In addition to the interface change that happened between Ivy Bridge and Haswell, Intel also transitioned to 22 nm manufacturing between Sandy and Ivy Bridge, true to its tick-tock cadence. The primary beneficiary of this technology advancement was the mobile segment. But because Intel's Xeon E3-1200 series leverages the same architectures as Intel's Core i3, i5, and i7 CPUs, those mobility-oriented enhancements (primarily affecting power) make their way into the Xeon line-up, too.

Up until recently, the Xeon E5s were all based on the older 32 nm Sandy Bridge-EP/EN architecture. Intel introduced its v2 family at IDF earlier in the month. But the company is still one generation behind in the Xeon E5 series compared to these Haswell-based E3s.

In terms of specifications, the following table compares all three generations:

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Header Cell - Column 0 Xeon E3-1275Xeon E3-1275 v2Xeon E3-1275 v3
# of Cores4
# of Threads8
Base Clock Rate3.4 GHz3.5 GHz
Max. Turbo Boost Frequency3.8 GHz3.9 GHz
Shared L3 Cache8 MB
Instruction Set ExtensionsSSE4.1/4.2, AVXSSE 4.1/4.2, AVX 2.0
Thermal Design Power95 W77 W84 W
Max. Memory32 GB, Unbuffered ECC DDR3
Max. Memory Data RateDDR3-1066/1333DDR3-1333/1600
# of Memory Channels2
Max. Memory Bandwidth21 GB/s25.6 GB/s
Processor GraphicsHD Graphics P3000HD Graphics P4000HD Graphics P4600
Graphics Base Frequency850 MHz650 MHz350 MHz
Graphics Max. Dynamic Frequency1.35 GHz1.25 GHz1.25 GHz
# of Displays Supported23
PCI Express Revision2.03.0
Quick Sync VideoYes
VT-x with EPTYes

The changes from one launch to the next are apparent, and the most noteworthy evolution, ironically, might be processor-based graphics. Intel is leaning on its HD Graphics 4600 implementation; again, there are no Iris Pro 5200-equipped Xeons. The HD Graphics P4600 engine sports 20 execution units, or four more than the generation prior.

  • dgingeri
    I have two Dell T110 II servers, one with an E3-1230 and one with an E3-1220v2, that cost me less than $800 each. I can tell you, they are great little machines, perfect for self-teaching Windows Server or ESXi. I now have the E3-1220v2 set up as my Windows 2008r2 router/DNS/DHCP/file/print server, and it uses a mere 45W of power when idle. The E3-1230 is my ESXi 5.1 machine right now.
  • CommentariesAnd More
    Best article to say in your face to those who think Xeons are poor performers.
  • vmem
    honestly not surprising at all

    I think 'meh' will be the overwhelming majority consensus on this chip
  • g-unit1111
    11571644 said:
    honestly not surprising at all

    I think 'meh' will be the overwhelming majority consensus on this chip

    That's kind of the way I see it. I don't think the Xeon is anything to write home about like some people on this board do, but the average user and/or gamer won't notice a lick of difference between an i5, i7, and low end Xeon. I would only recommend them in instances of things like Photoshop and heavy duty CS5 usage, but even then an i7-4770K or i7-4820K would be a better choice.
  • InvalidError
    While ARM chips may be doubling performance on a fairly regular basis, you need to keep in mind that ARM chips are starting from pretty far back. By the time they catch up with mainstream x86 chips, they will most likely hit very similar IPC and frequency scaling brick walls as x86 chips and won't gain much ground beyond that.

    The only real threat from ARM is to profit margins: once ARM catches up, it may become more difficult for Intel to maintain the large premiums they currently command across most markets.
  • the1kingbob
    Did Toms looks at the AMD 6100, 6200, and 6300? That would make to be an interesting comparison since the underlying architecture changed from the 6200 to 6300 (i think, maybe 6100 to 6200)
  • Amdlova
    people in my county buy this processor for gaming... need a seriosly test on this. 1230v2 have same price 3570k here!
  • dgingeri
    "I would only recommend them in instances of things like Photoshop and heavy duty CS5 usage, but even then an i7-4770K or i7-4820K would be a better choice." They wouldn't be any advantage in either case. The advantage of the Xeon isn't performance, but stability. It's use of ECC memory makes it much better for purposes like a high end workstation for an engineer or digital artist so their work isn't lost or interrupted by a memory error and crash or in servers where it can stay running reliably for months at a time.

    In addition, the chipsets and platforms used with Xeons are more stringently held to industry standards, making them known quantities for device makers. Enterprise raid controllers are frequently unsupported on a standard desktop system with a Core i7 4770 and Z87 chipset, while they would be supported on a Xeon E3-1275v3 with a C226 chipset, even though the actual silicon design is exactly the same between the two.

    There really isn't any difference in the silicon itself between a Haswell Core i7 and a Haswell Xeon E3, so there won't be a performance difference. The difference is in the stability of equipment surrounding each.
  • pjkenned
    InvalidError - these are not in the same league as the ARM chips. Avoton and Rangeley are the real ARM competitor. I JUST got two Avoton 8-core platforms in the lab as this article was going live (benchmarks here: http://forums.servethehome.com/processors-motherboards/2444-intel-avoton-c2750-benchmarks-supermicro-a1sai-2750f.html ) If ARM was targeting Centerton (the Atom S1260), they are targeting a platform way behind Avoton and the E3 reviewed above.

    the1kingbob - I have AMD Opteron 3000, 4000 and 6000 series chips in the lab and use them daily. The Operton 3300 series would be the closest platform but the performance is significantly behind the Haswell Xeon E3-1275 V3. Those Opterons also do not have integrated GPUs like the E3-12x5 V1 V2 and V3 chips so are hard to compare.
  • InvalidError
    11572444 said:
    InvalidError - these are not in the same league as the ARM chips.
    And I never said they were - at least for now. But ARM might get there if they manage to sustain their current improvement pace for a few years while AMD and Intel remain stuck for most intents and purposes.

    Yes, Intel released some cut-down x86 chips to compete with ARM for low-power market segments but this is only a temporary fix since Intel will likely add much of that stuff back in to keep up with ARM as ARM performance ramps up. The interesting part in 3-5 years will be where ARM will go once they hit the same steep diminishing return slope AMD and Intel are on.