Xeon E5-2600 v2 series brings Ivy Bridge-EP to servers, workstations

Last week, Ivy Bridge-E premiered in a trio of processors aimed at Intel's high-end X79 desktop platform. Today, similar silicon dubbed Ivy Bridge-EP heads to enterprise aboard the new Xeon E5-2600 and E5-1600 v2 product families, bringing more cores, more cache, higher memory speeds, and virtualization improvements to server and workstation systems with one and two sockets.

The server and workstation chips packs as many as 12 cores and 24 threads, up from 8 cores and 16 threads in Sandy Bridge-EP. The L3 cache has ballooned from 20MB to 30MB, and the peak speed supported by the quad-channel DDR3 memory controller has risen from 1600MHz to 1866MHz. Intel has also added APIC (Advanced Programmable Interrupt Controller) virtualization, a feature that purportedly shrinks virtualization overhead by up to 4%.

The original Xeon E5-2600 and E5-1600 families are based on two different Sandy Bridge-EP dies. One has four cores, and the other sports eight. (Two of those eight cores are disabled for the six-core parts.) The new Xeon E5-2600 v2 and E5-1600 v2 lineups features three versions of Ivy Bridge-EP: one with six cores, another with 10, and a 12-core monster. That flagship uses a different internal ring arrangement and more complicated routing to squeeze a dozen Ivy Bridge cores onto a single piece of silicon.

Here's a breakdown of the functional differences between Sandy Bridge-EP, which powers the Xeon E5-1600 and E5-2600 families, and Ivy Bridge-EP, which drives the v2 lineups. Keep in mind that Sandy is built on a 32-nm process, while Ivy is manufactured using Intel's state-of-the-art 22-nm fab tech with tri-gate transistors. The specs below apply to the E5-2600 and E5-2600 v2 series, which are for two-socket systems; Intel also offers E5-1600 and E5-1600 v2 chips for single-socket workstations.

  Xeon E5-2600 v2 family Xeon E5-2600 family
QPI ports 2 2
QPI speed (GT/s) 6.4, 7.2, 8.0 6.4, 7.2, 8.0
Cores 4, 6, 8, 10, or 12 4, 6, or 8
Threads per socket Up to 24 threads Up to 16 threads
L3 cache Up to 30MB Up to 20MB
Maximum base speed 3.5GHz 3.3GHz
Maximum Turbo speed 4.0GHz 3.8GHz
Memory channels 4 4
Max DIMMs per two-socket system 24 DIMMs 24 DIMMs
Memory speed (1.5V) up to 1866MHz up to 1600MHz
Memory speed (1.35V) up to 1600MHz up to 1333MHz
Max memory capacity 1536GB 768GB
PCIe lanes per processor 40 40
PCIe speed (GT/s) PCIe 3.0 at 8GT/s PCIe 3.0 at 8GT/s
TDP (W) 150 (workstation only), 130,115 95, 80, 70, 60W 150 (workstation only), 135, 130,115 95, 80, 70, 60W

Intel claims Ivy Bridge-EP delivers "up to 35 percent higher performance on average over previous generation Intel Xeon processor-based servers across a broad range of benchmarks."

The Xeon E5-2600 v2 family includes 18 processors aimed at two-socket servers. Those processors have 4-12 cores, TDPs of 60-150W, and base clock speeds ranging from 1.7GHz to 3.5GHz. The two lowest-end variants lack Turbo Boost and Hyper-Threading, but the others have those features enabled. Prices range from $202 for the most pared-down model to $2614 for the top-of-the-line 12-core, 24-thread part.

Intel has also rolled out four new processors for workstations. The E5-2687W v2 is for dual-socket configs; it has eight cores, a 3.4GHz clock speed, and a 150W TDP. The other workstation chips make up the E5-1600 v2 series and are aimed at single-socket setups. They have only 4-6 cores and thermal envelopes up to 130W—but they do run at a slightly speedier 3.5-3.7GHz. Turbo Boost and Hyper-Threading are enabled across the workstation range.

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