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Intel launches Xeon E5 v2 processor family for servers and workstations

Chip updated to 22nm Ivy Bridge core for 30 percent performance boost
Tue Sep 10 2013, 20:44
Intel Xeon E5 chip V2

SAN FRANCISCO: CHIPMAKER Intel has launched its 22nm Xeon E5-2600 v2 family of processors for two-socket servers and workstations, promising better performance, updated memory bandwidth and improved security features.

Kicking things off at this week's Intel Developer Forum (IDF), the firm's corporate VP and GM of Intel's Datacenter and Connected Systems Group Diane Bryant said that the chip, which went into production in June, is "widely available from today".

Updating the chip to the 22nm Ivy Bridge core architecture, the Xeon E5-2600 v2 is the successor to the existing E5-2600 line, which is based on Sandy Bridge technology. Bryant claimed v2 will bring improvements in single-threaded performance plus a focus on power efficiency.

"The second generation of Xeon E5s supports the broad raage of server applications, but we have also implemented very targeted features and capabilities into the processors to serve optimally storage and network as well," Bryant said.

"The second generation Xeon E5 is much more than just a process shift, we've taken advantage of the high density smaller transistors of 22nm to pack in lots more function, increasing the number of cores by five percent from eight cores to 12 cores, the level of cache by 50 percent from 20MB to 30MB, we've doubled the system memory capacity from 750GB to 1.5TB and we've increased the DRAM frequency from 1600 to 18066MHz."

Bryant said that the Xeon E5-2600 v2 comes in three separate die flavours: One for four to six-core chips with 15MB of shared L3 cache, another for six to 10 cores with 25MB of L3 cache, and the third for the 12-core chips with 30MB of L3 cache, targeting maximum performance.

The 12-core die also features a more complex ring bus arrangement connecting the on-chip components, because the cores here are arranged in three groups rather than two, and boasts an additional memory controller to boost memory bandwidth.

"All of this functionality we've added in, we've done it while decreasing the power and we are able to do that thanks to 22nm efficiency as well as power efficiency features and advanced power controls," Bryant added.

With up to 12 cores and 30MB of cache, the Xeon E5-2600 v2 is expected to deliver up to 30 percent more performance while fitting within the same power envelope as the previous generation.

As part of the v2 update, Intel has introduced two new security features. One is "OS guard", which isolates the operating system (OS) privilege level from the application privilege level to prevent malware from spoofing the OS into taking action on its behalf, a class of attacks that Bryant claimed worries cloud providers due to its rise in popularity.

The second feature is called "Secure Key", which - embedded at instruction level into the processor - implements new instructions that generates a random 64-bit key.

Another improvement in the Xeon E5-2600 v2 is in PCI Express peer-to-peer bandwidth, a feature aimed at the scenario when servers are configured with Intel's Xeon Phi co-processor technology for high-performance computing (HPC) applications.

The Xeon E5 is shipping now to "make infrastructure more responsive", Bryant said, adding that 93 percent of all infrastructure networking now runs on Intel chips. µ

 

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