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Intel Xeon E5-2600: Doing Damage With Two Eight-Core CPUs

Test Setup And Benchmarks

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
Processors2 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
MotherboardsIntel 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
MemoryCrucial 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 DriveIntel SSDSA2BZ200G3 200 GB SATA 3 Gb/s (SSD 710)
GraphicsAMD FirePro V5900
Power SupplyIntel DPS-750XB A 750 W
Chicony CPB09-003A 1000 W
System Software And Drivers
Operating SystemWindows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
DirectXDirectX 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 2.2Version: 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 EffectsVersion: CS5.5Tom's Hardware Workload, SD project with three picture-in-picture frames, source video at 720p, Render Multiple Frames Simultaneously
Adobe PhotoshopVersion: CS5Tom's Hardware Workload, Radial Blur, Shape Blur, Median, Polar Coordinates filters
Adobe Premiere ProVersion: CS5.5Paladin Workload, Maximum Render Quality, H.264 Blu-ray profile
e-on Software Vue 8 PLE1920x1080 landscape render, Global Illumination enabled
SolidWorks 2010PhotoView 360Render 01-Lighter Explode.SLDASM (SolidMuse.com)Image Output Resolution: 1920x1080, Render: Preview Quality “Good”, Final Render Quality “Best”
Euler3DCFD simulation over NACA 445.6 aeroelastic test wing at Mach .5
3ds Max 2012Version: 10 x64 Rendering Space Flyby Mentalray (SPECapc_3dsmax9), Frame: 248, Resolution: 1440 x 1080
BlenderVersion: 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 2010Compile Chrome project (1/31/2012) with devenv.com /build Release
ABBYY FineReader 10Version: 10 Professional Build (10.0.102.82)Read PDF, save to Doc, Source:Political Economy (J. Broadhurst 1842) 111 Pages
7-ZipVersion 9.22 beta LZMA2, Syntax "a -t7z -r -m0=LZMA2 -mx=5", Benchmark: 2010-THG-Workload
WinRARVersion: 4.11 RAR, Syntax "winrar a -r -m3", Benchmark: 2010-THG-Workload
WinZipVersion: 16.0 Pro WinZip CLI, Benchmark: 2010-THG-Workload
Synthetic Benchmarks and Settings
SiSoftware Sandra 2012 SP2CPU Test=CPU Arithmetic/Multimedia, Memory Test=Bandwidth Benchmark, Cryptography, Cache Performance
Cinebench 11.5CPU Test, Built-in benchmark
  • CaedenV
    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 :)
    Reply
  • dalethepcman
    No 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. :)
    Reply
  • willard
    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.
    Reply
  • nforce4max
    I must say DROOL :O

    Reply
  • esrever
    why aren't AMD cpus tested too? I wouldn't mind seeing how 2x interlagos stacks up.
    Reply
  • reclusiveorc
    I wonder how fast TempEncode would chew thru transcoding avi/wmv files to mp3/mp4
    Reply
  • willard
    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
    Reply
  • cangelini
    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.
    Reply
  • willard
    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.
    Reply
  • Onus
    What, 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.
    Reply