WE’RE FAIRLY CERTAIN that Intel couldn’t possibly be any more confusing when it comes to its CPU line-ups these days and that’s just the standard desktop parts, but today we’re going to take a closer look at Intel’s Westmere-EX line of Xeon E7 processors. The E7 series of Xeon processors are those that are above the Sandy Bridge-EP socket 2011 parts and they use the older socket 1567, confused yet?
The E7 series of Xeon processors are set for a Q2 launch whereas the Sandy Bridge-EP/EN models aren’t expected until Q4 at the earliest. The E7 series is socket compatible with the current Xeon 7500 series and are drop-in compatible with current motherboards as long as the BIOS is upgraded. The E7 series will have the same TDP as the current Xeon 7500 series, although they’ll up the core count to 10 cores and get the additional L3 cache up to 30MB, as well as support for LV and LR DIMMs. Intel has also added better processor and memory power management features, support for AES-NI, TXT, VT and something called RAS that’s meant to improve memory reliability.
As you can see from the picture below, there will be three SKUs within the E7 series, namely the 2800, 4800 and 8800. The 2800 SKU is scalable to two sockets, the 4800 SKU to four sockets and finally the 8800 SKU to eight sockets. We’re looking at six to 10 cores per CPU and all models except the E7-8837 supports Hyper Threading. The L3 cache starts at 18MB, but higher-end models sports 24 or 30MB. Most models also features Intel’s Turbo mode with the exception of the models marked for the “basic” segment, which are also the only two models with a 4.8GHz QPI frequency and 800MHz memory support.
Only two SKUs are highlighted as being retail boxed processors, but this is hardly surprising considering that we’re actually looking at Intel’s highest-end Xeon processors here, something most people wouldn’t order online for the fun of it. Intel has also come up with a pair of new scalable memory buffers for the E7 series in the shape of the 7510 and the 7512. The 7512 is a low-power version of the 7510 which offers up to 26 percent reduction in TDP over the 7510. Both models support up to 4Gbit of DRAM for caching and each buffer can handle up to 128GB of RAM using four 32GB RDIMMs for a total of 2TB per four socket system.
As for later this year Intel should be launching the Xeon E5-2600 series which will use socket 2011 which will be limited to dual socket systems, although the quad socket compatible E5-4600 series is expected to follow in early 2012 alongside the more affordable E5-2400 series which uses socket 1356. All three SKUs will use the C600 chipsets, currently known as Patsburg. These Sandy Bridge-EP/EN processors are set to offer some new features and will be far most cost effective than the E7 series of Xeon processors.S|A
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