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Intel rolls out Xeon E5 processor family

Jack Loo | March 7, 2012
Technology bellwether claims performance, energy efficiency and security improvements.

collin tan sg head intel

Collin Tan, country manager, Intel Singapore

Intel today unveiled Xeon E5-2600 processor family, the successor to the Xeon 5600 series.

The new chip, based on Intel’s Sandy Bridge microarchitecture, boasts an overall 80 percent performance gain over the 5600, which is based on the vendor’s prior Westmere architecture.

“This launch is tremendous for us because we have a new architecture, not just a shrink in processor size. This is why there is a huge performance gain,” said Collin Tan, country manager, Intel Singapore.

Intel’s Turbo Boost technology allows the chip to automatically increase processor frequencies to take advantage of power and thermal headroom.

The Advanced Vector Extensions feature provides new instructions that improve performance by two times for applications that rely on floating point or vector computations. These include applications such as financial analysis, media content creation and high performance computing.

Reduced latency

Compared to the 5600 chip, the input/output (I/O) controller has been integrated directly into the processor die, reducing latency by 30 percent, the first time Intel has been able to do so for its chips.

In today’s processors, most of the latency is caused by I/O controllers, said Tan. Intel’s solution is to integrate these into the processors.

Another feature is Intel’s Data Direct I/O technology that allows controllers and adapters to route I/O traffic directly to processor cache, reducing trips to system memory reducing power consumption and I/O latency.

Intel has also developed security features for users operating in virtual environments. One is Trusted Execution Technology (TXT) that ensures physical servers and hypervisors boot only into cryptographically verified “known good states”. Tan described the process as “fingerprint matching”, where an alert would be created and applications would not be allowed to run.

“This is important in the cloud environment where applications migrate from servers to servers,” said Tan. He also spoke of a function called trusted pools, a way to define which servers virtual machines can migrate to. “This is to deal with situations where applications might be hijacked when they are being moved around servers,” he added.

Intel is touting new features, Node Manager and Data Center Manager, that can address energy efficiency concerns that data centre managers can face.

“You have the granularity where you can throttle individual servers down to CPUs real-time. You can also set power limits for server usage, avoiding power trips within the data centre,” said Tan.

Meanwhile, Dell has launched seven new blade, rack and tower servers of its PowerEdge family based on Intel’s E5 processor. Dell said the new series is catered for customers ranging from small business to hyper-scale data centres. HP is also previewing its E5-based Proliant Gen8 servers this month. The vendor says its servers are able to cut overall maintenance and power costs in data centres while maintaining high server uptimes.



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