Intel's six-core processors
- By David Nagel
- Sep 16, 2008
Intel this week began rolling out its new line of Xeon processors targeted toward server markets. The new Xeon 7400 series features four- and six-core configurations designed to be used in systems with at least four processors and is targeted largely toward data centers and, in particular, virtualization applications.
The new Xeon 7400 series, based on Intel's 45 nanometer high-k process (PDF), offers both performance improvements and improved energy efficiency, according to information released by Intel. With 16 MB of shared level-3 cache and clock speeds of 2.66 GHz, the 7400 series' performance improvements are up to 50 percent compared with previous-generation chips, according to Intel's literature.
A Dell PowerEdge R900 using four 7400s (24 processing cores) running VMware ESX server 3.5 scored a record VMmark result of 18.49. Additional performance data can be found here.
In terms of energy efficiency, the processors use as little as about 11 watts per core, or 65 watts total for the six-core version and 50 watts for the quad-core version. In practical terms, this translates to a 10 percent maximum reduction in power consumption for a four-socket design using six-core processors in virtualization applications.
"The arrival of these processors extends Intel's lead in the high-end server segment," said Tom Kilroy, vice president and general manager of Intel's Digital Enterprise Group, in a statement released on Monday. "This new processor series helps IT manage increasingly complex enterprise server environments, providing a great opportunity to boost the scalable performance of multi-threaded applications within a stable platform infrastructure."
The product's features include "additional cores, large shared caches and advanced virtualization technologies," Kilroy added.
Intel said that beginning this week, some 50 manufacturers around the world are expected to announce new servers based on the Xeon 7400 series.
In the category of quad-socket rack server makers, the manufacturers include Dell, Fujitsu, Fujitsu-Siemens, Hitachi, HP, IBM, NEC, Sun, Supermicro and Unisys. Those making quad-socket blade servers include Egenera, HP, Sun and NEC.
IBM, NEC and Unisys are building Xeon 7400 into servers that offer up to 16 sockets, for up to 96 processing cores.
On the software side, Citrix, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, Red Hat, SAP and VMware are supporting the new processors.