Intel unveils 10-core, 32-nm Xeon processors

— 11:23 AM on April 6, 2011

Say hello to the latest additions to Intel's server processor lineup: the Xeon E7-8800, E7-4800, and E7-2800 processors, all 32-nm offerings based on a new Nehalem-derived design that crams 10 Hyper-Threaded cores and 30MB of L3 cache on a single, king-sized piece of silicon. Intel offers variants suited for servers with two to 256 sockets, and it claims a performance lead of up to 40% over the Xeon 7500 series, its previous core-count champion.

Yep, that's 10 cores. Count 'em.

The new silicon, codenamed Westmere-EX, has more than just preposterous core and cache counts to woo server makers. Intel says Westmere-EX also features new power-saving functionality, which "reduces the power draw of idle portions of the chip," as well as AES-NI and TXT instructions, which were not available in the Xeon 7500 series. AES-NI speeds up data encryption and decryption, while TXT (short for Trusted Execution Technology), "creates a secure platform at boot-up by protecting applications from malicious threats."

Intel's Xeon E7 family includes 18 siblings, 10 of which have all of their cores enabled. Three of those tick along at 2.4GHz with a 130W thermal envelope, while the low-voltage E7-8867L hits a still-respectable 2.13GHz with a 105W TDP. The highest-clocked member of the family runs at 2.67GHz with a 130W envelope, but it has only eight cores and 24MB of cache. As you might expect, these new offerings aren't cheap: Intel charges a whopping $4,616 for the top-of-the-line Xeon E7-8870.

Look for Xeon E7 servers soon from your favorite vendors, including Cisco, Cray, Dell, HP, IBM, Lenovo, NEC, Oracle, and many more.

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