Hot on the heels of AMD's 12-core Opteron launch, Intel has countered with the formal release of its Nehalem-EX processor, now officially known as the Xeon 7500 series.
As we've explained in some of our previous coverage, Nehalem-EX has a rather impressive feature set: a native eight-core design (with 16 threads, thanks to Hyper-Threading), Turbo Boost, 24MB of shared L3 cache, four QuickPath Interface links, four DDR3 memory channels, and support for up to 16 memory modules per socket—even more than the 12 modules supported by the latest Opterons.
Intel has also beefed up these CPUs with some reliability features straight out of the Itanium playbook. Those include Machine Check Architecture Recovery, which Intel describes as "a feature that allows the silicon to work with the operating system and virtual machine manager to recover from otherwise fatal system errors."
Thanks to QuickPath, Xeon 7500 systems can be built with two to eight sockets. Intel says it's collaborating with server vendors on "ultra-scale" machines with "16 processors for the enterprise, and up to 256 processors and support for 16 terabytes . . . of memory for high- performance computing 'super nodes' running bandwidth-demanding applications such as financial analysis, numerical weather predictions and genome sequencing." Impressive stuff.
Here's what the Xeon 7500 launch lineup looks like:
|Processor||Speed||L3 cache||Sockets||TDP||Turbo Boost||Cores/threads||Price|
|Xeon X7560||2.26 GHz||24 MB||2/4/8||130W||Yes||8/16||$3,692|
|Xeon X7550||2.00 GHz||18 MB||2/4/8||130W||Yes||8/16||$2,729|
|Xeon E7540||2.00 GHz||18 MB||2/4/8||105W||Yes||6/12||$1,980|
|Xeon E7530||1.86 GHz||12 MB||2/4||105W||Yes||6/12||$1,391|
|Xeon E7520||1.86 GHz||18 MB||2/4||95W||No||4/8||$856|
|Xeon L7555||1.86 GHz||24 MB||2/4/8||95W||Yes||8/16||$3,157|
|Xeon L7545||1.86 GHz||18 MB||2/4/8||95W||Yes||6/12||$2,087|
|Xeon X7542||2.66 GHz||18 MB||2/4/8||130W||Yes||6/6||$1,980|
|Xeon X6550||2.00 GHz||18 MB||2||130W||Yes||8/16||$2,461|
|Xeon E6540||2.00 GHz||18 MB||2||105W||Yes||6/12||$1,712|
|Xeon E6510||1.73 GHz||12 MB||2||105W||No||4/8||$744|
On the performance side of things, these new processors are purportedly three times faster than Xeon 7400 CPUs in "leading enterprise benchmarks." They also have eight times the memory bandwidth and four times the memory capacity. Intel goes so far as to promise the "largest performance leap in [Xeon] history."
You can look forward to Xeon 7500-powered servers from vendors including Bull, Cisco, Cray, Dell, Fujitsu, Hitachi, HP, IBM, Inspur, NEC, Oracle, SGI, Supermicro, and Quanta.