Intel Xeon E5-2600 Given Official Launch

Posted by at 4:41 pm on March 6, 2012

Intel ended one of the longest waits for one of its processors today by launching and detailing the Xeon E5-2600. Its mid-range server and workstation chip is a superset of the much newer Sandy Bridge-E architecture and can carry a full eight cores (up from six) and handle a much larger 768GB memory ceiling. The extra cores, along with a shrink from 45 to 32 nanometers and new AVX support, should make it about 80 percent faster than the Xeon 5600 it replaces.

The smaller process contributes to a theoretically 50 percent more efficient design. Equally new for Xeons in this class are PCI Express 3.0 support, an interface controller built directly into the chip, and a Data Direct I/O format that lets peripherals talk directly to the processor’s cache.

A total of 16 chips are in the line.  All of them , but the two entry quad-core 1.8GHz and 2.4GHz models, support Turbo Boost to dynamically overclock some cores. These use 80W of power and carry 10MB of cache. Six-core versions range from 2GHz to 2.9GHz, carry 15MB of cache, and typically use 95W of power. Eight-core processors have the same clock speeds but a larger 20MB of cache and usually between 95W to 135W of power.

Special versions exist, such as a low-power 2GHz six-core edition that uses 60W of power and a comparable 1.8GHz eight-core version using 80W of power. One dual-core 3GHz edition and a 3.3GHz quad-core edition exist for those who prioritize speed over parallelism.

Bulk prices range from as little as the $198, 1.8GHz quad Xeon to $2,050 for the 2.9GHz, eight-core model. Dozens of companies have committed to shipping E5-based systems, including Acer, ASUS, Dell, HP, IBM, Lenovo, and Supermicro. Many of them are launching soon, if not immediately.

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