Intel lets loose Kaby Lake-based Xeon E3 v6 processors

We love our Core i5 and Core i7 CPUs around here, particularly when it comes to gaming, but not everyone has time for such frivolity. Workstation users have a different set of processing needs, usually revolving around a stable platform, ECC memory, and certified drivers. That's where the Intel's Xeon E3 v6 family of Kaby Lake-based CPUs come in.

The updated lineup contains a total of eight models, ranging from the humble-ish Xeon E3-1220 v6 with its four cores and clock speed up to 3.5 GHz, up to the mighty Xeon E3-1280 v6 and its four cores, eight threads, and turbo clocks up to 4.2 GHz. The TDP for all the CPUs in the family hovers around 72W, and the amount of cache is likewise the same for all models, at 8MB. Intel says the new models support ECC RAM in amounts up to 64GB and speeds up to DDR4-2400. Owners of existing setups with DDR3L RAM need not worry—that's supported, too. Seeing as the new Xeons are based on the Kaby Lake architecture, 10-bit HEVC encoding and decoding is on the menu, too.

Like you'd expect from workstation-grade processors, the Xeon E3 v6s support all the alphabet-soup virtualization technologies: TSX-NI, vPro, VT-d, and VT-x. Those concerned with system security will be happy to know that the whole host of security features (including AES-NI, SGX, Trusted Execution, and OS Guard) are all supported, too. Here's a full list of the models:

Model Cores Threads Base clock Turbo clock IGP Price
Xeon E3-1280 v6 4 8 3.9 GHz 4.2 GHz $612
Xeon E3-1275 v6 4 8 3.8 GHz 4.2 GHz Yes $339
Xeon E3-1270 v6 4 8 3.8 GHz 4.2 GHz $328
Xeon E3-1245 v6 4 8 3.7 GHz 4.1 GHz Yes $284
Xeon E3-1240 v6 4 8 3.7 GHz 4.1 GHz $272
Xeon E3-1230 v6 4 8 3.5 GHz 3.9 GHz $250
Xeon E3-1225 v6 4 4 3.3 GHz 3.7 GHz Yes $213
Xeon E3-1220 v6 4 4 3.0 GHz 3.5 GHz $193

The three models whose number ends in a 5 (E3-1225, E3-1245, and E3-1275) all pack Intel's spankin' HD Graphics 630 IGP. The company claims that when armed with this IGP, "designers may no longer need a discrete graphics card for some of the most commonly-used workloads." According to Intel, the IGP in the E3-1275 v6 CPU should offer three times the performance as the one in the old E3-1275 v2 when measured with SPEC graphics tools. The company also says that chips with these P630 IGPs are up to the task of "entry professional VR," among other pro applications. The P630 graphics driver is certified for use with multiple pro applications, too.

The general theme seems to be one of upgrading the CPU rather than replacing an entire machine, given that the Xeon E3 v6 processors still go into Socket 1151, have dual-channel memory controllers, and will fit existing motherboards with C232 and C236 chipsets, likely only at the cost of a BIOS update. Those looking to make use of the P630 IGP will need the higher-end C236, though. As a recap, when compared to the C232, the C236 chipset has IGP support, 20 lanes of PCIe 3.0 instead of eight, and support for Intel Active Management Technology, Node Manager, and Rapid Storage Technology features. The new CPUs should be available to OEMs right away.

Comments closed
    • bronek
    • 3 years ago

    Of course E3-1280 draws attention, but IMO it is safe to ignore, due to stupid price jump. In other words, this one looks like marketing gimmick.

    If you look at middle part such as E3-1270 , it actually makes sense. It is basically i7 7700, but without IGP (waste of die space and power, if you are gaming with a discrete GPU), with slightly higher base frequency (sweet!), and support for ECC (potentially useful) and only slightly more expensive compared to 7700.

    • HERETIC
    • 3 years ago

    @redocbew
    It’s going to be a while before AMD has any significant presence in server land again anyway.

    This might help-
    *Zen HEDT CPU’s are called Threadripper!
    *Each CPU will include 64 PCI-E Lanes!
    *It includes 4 CCX’s.
    *Lower SKU(Probably 12/24) 140W TDP, Higher SKU (Probably 16/32) 180W TDP.
    *Socket will be an SP3 LGA
    *Platform’s name will probably be X399
    *Chips will be B2 revisions.
    *32MB L3 Cache
    *ES’s are 3,3 or 3,4GHz base and 3,7GHz Boost
    *It is aimed for Retail SKU to have 3,6 Base/4GHz Boost
    *ES’s that are in the wild have 2500 CB R15.
    *Infinity Fabric can have a bandwidth up to 100GB/S
    *Announcement; COMPUTEX at Taiwan, sales will start after 2-3 weeks following COMPUTEX.

      • cmrcmk
      • 3 years ago

      [citation needed]

    • Unknown-Error
    • 3 years ago

    Death to RyZen?

      • Redocbew
      • 3 years ago

      At those prices, not likely. It’s going to be a while before AMD has any significant presence in server land again anyway.

      • lycium
      • 3 years ago

      edit: nevermind

    • chuckula
    • 3 years ago

    Coolest part about this story: The correct usage of the term “loose” in the title.

      • evilpaul
      • 3 years ago

      I’m still puzzled how practically everyone gets that wrong.

        • Fieryphoenix
        • 3 years ago

        Because they are all stupid loosers.

    • blastdoor
    • 3 years ago

    When does E5 V5 come out?

      • Anonymous Coward
      • 3 years ago

      Hah, two socket customers don’t need new stuff.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 3 years ago

    LOLOLOLOL at that E3-1280 v6 price. I mean, the Ark page says the same thing, but holy crapolla.

      • mcarson09
      • 3 years ago

      Yeah the ark page is what Intelk thinks something is worth….

      If you wants to see real world E3 prices just go to ebay ;D

        • derFunkenstein
        • 3 years ago

        I think you missed the fact that the top model costs nearly 2x what the next one down does. I was laughing at that, because that’s insanity.

          • Thorburn
          • 3 years ago

          Hey. Disabling the IGP and bumping the base clock 100MHz adds A LOT OF VALUE.

          • mcarson09
          • 3 years ago

          Intel can charge those kind of prices when AMD doesn’t show up to the party for 10 years. The joke is on the AMD fangirls because while AMD had a nice desktop run they left the workstation/server segment to Intel.

            • ClickClick5
            • 3 years ago

            You are aware AMD’s new server line is coming out very soon right? Right?

    • mcarson09
    • 3 years ago

    Xeon e3 for workstation…. Best joke of the month! Everyone knows The Xeon e5 is the workhorse Xeon. The E3s can’t address enough memory and they are nothing more than rebadged mid-range desktop CPU.

    • synthtel2
    • 3 years ago

    I thought HD 630 was GT2. Is P630 substantially different, or were they just using GT1 on E3s before? (Either way they’re overselling it, but it changes the magnitude.)

    Also your P630 link is broken.

      • RAGEPRO
      • 3 years ago

      Neither of those things. HD 630 is GT2, and P630 is just HD 630 with certified drivers, heh.

        • synthtel2
        • 3 years ago

        Ah, they’re comparing all the way back to IVB. Shady.

    • JosiahBradley
    • 3 years ago

    Wow these are bad at price per performance, 4 core workstation/server anything for 600$ hahahaha.

      • MOSFET
      • 3 years ago

      The $600 product is a halo. Really, no is buying it, especially since the base clocks have been upped through the line (however slightly, and it is slight). But this product line as a whole will sell extremely well. The most common steps since Sandy Bridge have been 3.2/3.6, 3.4/3.8, and 3.6/4.0 (not always present). Those steps are all odd numbers this time around. And starting with Skylake, max mem doubled from 32GB to 64GB. One can fit a lot of VMs or websites into 64GB.

    • shank15217
    • 3 years ago

    Another Intel artificial segmentation, thankfully there is Ryzen, now if only there were some workstation class boards.

      • mcarson09
      • 3 years ago

      Without a chipset/bios that enables the “workstation” features you won’t be able to use ECC with Ryzen unless the desktop boards have ECC functions baked into their bios… The E3 xeon will work in desktop boards, but you can’t access the functions that come along with the cpu having ECC support. AMD and Intel have locked these down in their workstation chipsets for years even though the cpu controls those functions.

        • shank15217
        • 3 years ago

        The memory is connected directly to the cpu, has nothing to do with chipsets.

          • mcarson09
          • 3 years ago

          You clearly didn’t read what I wrote. The desktop boards don’t offer bios options to change the options related to ECC, on desktop boards it’s disabled by default.

            • Redocbew
            • 3 years ago

            These chips won’t work in a desktop board anyway unless you get one of the few using a C232 or C236 chipset, and you don’t want to do that.

            • mcarson09
            • 3 years ago

            The E3 xeons work is their corresponding ZXX chipset boards boards but without ECC functionally. You guys really shine when it comes to things you have no knowledge of.

            • Redocbew
            • 3 years ago

            Can we skip to the part where you lose interest and just go away?

      • Amien
      • 3 years ago

      Still waiting for an AM4 board with confirmed ECC support. I’m building a WS next week ;_;

      • raddude9
      • 3 years ago

      If the rumours of the 16-core Ryzens are true:

      [url<]https://www.forbes.com/sites/antonyleather/2017/03/19/monster-amd-ryzen-16-core-cpu-could-be-on-the-way-1000-cheaper-and-faster-than-intel/#7e765f8d3d62[/url<] then workstation functionality might never make it to the 8-core chips. Amd will just reserve that for their "Naples-lite" platform.

        • Anonymous Coward
        • 3 years ago

        Does it make sense for them to have 2, 4 and 8-channel sockets? I would be concerned that the motherboards above 2 channels will be small volume and expensive, which ruins most of the fun. This would presumably be a dual-die solution, making it less suitable for many desktop tasks.

        Perhaps this makes sense as an alternative to dual sockets in this price class.

    • jts888
    • 3 years ago

    I’m struggling to grasp the target market for these chips. What low-end CPU buyer needs/wants to spring for ECC? For people who just want to run lightweight NASs, there are cheaper/lower power alternative around, and things like Xeon-Ds at least have the courtesy to throw in 10 GbE MACs.

      • willmore
      • 3 years ago

      NAS people will scream endlessly about the need for ECC.

      And then they’ll run flakey beta filesystems on those machines.

        • hansmuff
        • 3 years ago

        I am a NAS people and I don’t scream anything, but I do use ECC on my NAS using ZFS. It’s a very valid and by far not uncommon use case.

          • willmore
          • 3 years ago

          And there they are.

            • Waco
            • 3 years ago

            Well he (hansmuff) is correct. ECC is essentially required if you care about your data. ZFS is not a “beta filesystem” and FreeNAS isn’t a “beta OS” any more than PC-BSD is.

            • hansmuff
            • 3 years ago

            If you call ZFS a flakey filesystem you have no idea what you are talking about. That’s an idiotic statement by any benchmark. You might want to educate yourself about the roots, progress and significance of ZFS before shooting your mouth off about things.

        • mcarson09
        • 3 years ago

        The guys that use software RAID setups are the worst. Hardware RAID or go home!

          • Bauxite
          • 3 years ago

          Hardware RAID is dead Jim. Plenty of checkbox cards are sold in OEM builds, but been shrinking awhile.

          Software is provably superior in performance (as a whole system) and reliability. All the big builds went software awhile ago, though most of it is not even RAID anymore. Clearly not talking about fake bios bullshit either. For a fun mental exercise, find a hardware NVMe RAID card 🙂

            • Waco
            • 3 years ago

            This. Hardware RAID has its place, but it’s not in a NAS.

            • mcarson09
            • 3 years ago

            The cost of hardware raid is not that great, but “NAS people” tend to cut corners because they are cheap or poor.

            • Krogoth
            • 3 years ago

            The problem isn’t cost. The problem is that the drawbacks of Hardware RAID become more apparent when you are handling large drive counts and nested RAIDs while the tangible benefits of Hardware RAID evaporate.

            • Waco
            • 3 years ago

            The cost of hardware RAID is data safety. It’s not a cost play by any means.

            Software RAID is superior to hardware RAID as soon as you get into filesystems that actually preserve your data…which is basically always.

            The 150 petabytes of storage about 50 yards away from me is entirely software RAID and runs at > 1 TB/s. 😉

            • mcarson09
            • 3 years ago

            No it’s not. Definitely not with 24/48/64 disk arrays.

            • Waco
            • 3 years ago

            You’re living in the past, then. If you’re still using legacy filesystem to serve important data…well…it must not be that important.

            • Krogoth
            • 3 years ago

            Hardware RAID isn’t dead but it doesn’t make sense for large nested RAIDs.

            Hardware RAID is better when you are dealing with simple RAIDs with a modest number of HDDs but the benefits that has over software RAID evaporates (HBA card becomes a performance bottleneck and reliability issue) when you moved into massive number of HDDs and complex nested RAIDs.

            Software RAID’s (not the simple fake BIOS non-sense) main advantage isn’t performance though. It is reliability and flexibility which are far more important under a large array of HDDs and complex nested RAIDs.

            • Redocbew
            • 3 years ago

            A complex array built on a hardware RAID controller means someone is going to have a very bad day(or two, or three…) when that controller dies.

            • Waco
            • 3 years ago

            Eh, it’s pretty easy to recover from a dead controller with standard RAID5/RAID6 arrays. Painful, sometimes, but 100% possible.

            • Waco
            • 3 years ago

            Hardware RAID is dead for anything at scale where scale is >= 4 drives, IMO.

      • weaktoss
      • 3 years ago

      People building FreeNAS boxes, maybe? Then again, Pentiums would be fine for that purpose.

        • Waco
        • 3 years ago

        FreeNAS == ECC required, basically. You can get away without it, but not if you care about your data.

      • ChicagoDave
      • 3 years ago

      A few scenarios come to mind:

      – Workstation CPU handling critical code/files (animation, CAD, etc). GPU is probably a Quadro or Firepro

      – Website(s) and other system servers for a small company or someone rolling their own

      – Use to spin up a dozen VMs as a testing environment for trialing new internal software before if goes to production. Basically have your main production system running beast 20+ core processors, and then a much smaller separate testing environment

      I think for NAS the D series are capable. Even if you wanted to build your own firewall/router/dns server etc I think you’d be fine scrounging from an old computer in the basement or closet rather than building a new 4 core Xeon box.

      I’m very curious to see if Intel drops the prices for their Enthusiast line when they drop. While I’m personally not that impressed with this first round of Ryzen processors, I imagine Intel has to drop their E series pries jut a bit. No movement on these Xeons compared to their earlier versions.

        • bronek
        • 3 years ago

        For all cases but first , more cores would usually result in better performance for the same money (yes, looking at Ryzen). As for the first one, that depends on actual software being used but again, more cores might be faster.

          • Beahmont
          • 3 years ago

          … You must have missed the part about ECC. You know that thing Ryzen doesn’t do.

            • DrDominodog51
            • 3 years ago

            Ryzen does have ECC, and Asrock mobos claim to support ECC memory. No one has tested it yet though.

            • chuckula
            • 3 years ago

            Including Asrock!

      • MOSFET
      • 3 years ago

      I love Xeon-D but the platform is really, really expensive. This is closer to what I can afford to run in the garage.

      • crystall
      • 3 years ago

      In a word: workstations. I have a Xeon E3 1270v2 because I need excellent single thread performance, decent throughput (in compilation workloads in my case) and support for ECC memory. I am considering buying one of these though with Ryzen supporting ECC I decided to hold back until the entire lineup is available before deciding on what to pick.

      • ColeLT1
      • 3 years ago

      I use dual proc E5’s for my VM farms, but for physical servers (backup exec w/tape library, exclaimer email archive, anything that needs a server OS) that like high IPC but not huge core counts, I get E3’s.

      I used to use desktop chips/boards, they worked fine but you had to do driver INF mods to get the drivers to install on a server OS.

    • ozzuneoj
    • 3 years ago

    Can these be used in a Z270 system? If so, the 1230 seems like a really nice CPU for $250. For some reason I doubt we’ll see them hit retail at these prices though.

    Previous E3 models were compatible with standard desktop chipsets if I remember correctly.

      • Glorious
      • 3 years ago

      The E3v5s were not, and the v6s are almost certainly in the same boat.

        • ozzuneoj
        • 3 years ago

        Too bad. The V3 and earlier models always looked like nice options for those not interested in overclocking. Since Kaby is already clocked so close to its limit (compared to something like Sandy), I’d take a locked i7 or equivalent if it bought the price down a bunch.

      • Krogoth
      • 3 years ago

      Yes, they will work with 2xx series boards but you will not be able to use VT-d and ECC support.

        • ozzuneoj
        • 3 years ago

        Are you sure? Things I’ve read online indicate that the v5 no longer works on standard desktop chipsets, as Glorious said.

    • PBCrunch
    • 3 years ago

    So it took Intel about three months to make a bunch of new Ark pages for the existing Core i5 and i7 CPU lineup.

      • Klimax
      • 3 years ago

      Extended validation and possible reduction in errata. (Instead of a dozen of pages just few…)

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