CHIPMAKER Intel is finally set to launch its Xeon E5 chips next week with server and workstation vendors keen to show it isn't going to be a paper launch and that chips are already in the channel.
The UK distributor for Supermicro, Boston invited The INQUIRER into its labs to take a look at an Intel Xeon E5 workstation. While we were asked not to publish benchmarks until next week, the firm did allow us to share pictures of the working system and the Socket 2011 Xeon E5 chips, known as Sandy Bridge E.
Boston's workstation is based around a dual-socket Supermicro motherboard. The firm said it has many other Supermicro Xeon E5 SKUs and because of the widely publicised delays the firm, like its rivals, has had loads of time to test and validate its kit.
The system has two Sandy Bridge Xeon E5 chips in it, coupled to one 128GB SSD and two 1TB hard drives. Graphics are courtesy of an Nvidia Quadro 4000 board and it doesn't take a genius to work out that it is a fast bit of kit, though you will have to wait a little longer to see how much faster it is than single processor alternatives.
Although we can't talk about performance figures for a few more days, we can certainly say there were no issues with stability. Heat wasn't particularly noticeable, though we were running the system in a heavily air-conditioned lab, nevertheless the heatsinks could be touched without burning flesh.
Boston confirmed to The INQUIRER that Xeon E5 chips have been in the channel for a few weeks now and confirmed to us that it won't be a paper launch. We have also been shown Xeon E5 systems from other large vendors that give credence to the notion that Intel's Xeon E5 will arrive, for real, next week. µ