Intel is taking its newly launched Core i7 Sandy Bridge-E platform to the enterprise market with a new line of Xeon processors. Intel's new enterprise variations include the Sandy Bridge-EN and Sandy Bridge-EP. The Sandy Bridge-EN is designed for high-density, low-power servers, while the Sandy Bridge-EP is designed for high-performance servers and workstations. The Sandy Bridge-EP is multi-socket capable platform.
The Sandy Bridge-EP appears to be basically the same design as the Sandy Bridge-E, but has several additional features not found with the Core processors. The Sandy Bridge-EP offers two QuickPath Interconnect (QPI) links, which utilize QPI 8.0 GT/s. This will help facilitate high-bandwidth inter-socket communication in multi-socket systems, up to eight cores, sixteen threads enabled by HyperThreading, and up to 20 MB of L3 cache memory. Sandy Bridge-EP will utilize a quad-channel DDR3 integrated memory controller (DDR3-1600 MHz) with support up to 768 GB of memory, via two sockets, eight DDR3 channels in all, LRDIMMs. In addition, Intel Integrated I/O has support for up to 80 lanes of PCIe 3.0.
Intel claims up to 80 percent performance boost versus its prior generation Westmere-EP platform. Using a Xeon X5690 six-core processor (@ 3.64 GHz) as the baseline, Intel put its new Xeon E5-2690 eight-core processor (@ 2.90 GHz) to the test. Performance results showed an improvement across the board on all testing; OLTP Database (TPC-C Oracle), Middle-Tier Java (SPECjbb 2005), Integer Throughput (SPECint_base2006), Floating Point Throughput (SPECfp_rate_base2006), Memory Bandwidth (STREAM_MP Triad), and Matrix Multiplication (Linpack).
Intel provided details on its new Data Direct I/O Technology (DDIO). DDIO works to increase I/O performance by up to 2.3 times that of previous generation, reduces latency and allows system memory to remain in low power state.