E5-2600v3 As mentioned in our last blog post, Intel recently released their new Xeon E5-2600v3 server processor family. Here we will give you a full run down of there Haswell-EP processor family. 

As you are undoubtedly aware, there are three distinct lines under the Xeon banner. The E3 line is Intel's entry level server processor which closely align the desktop core configaution. Then they have the E7 line which is there highest end Xeon's allowing upto 8 CPU's per system, supporting upto 6TB (yes 6TB!) of memory and mainly targeting to use for machine crictical applications. We have to be honest, very rarely have we received orders for E7 Xeon systems

Their E5 line is the mid level Xeon processor range. This is the way most of customers go. The 2 in the name signifies that we are looking at single and dual capable processor parts here. This is the line Intel has recently updated to its new Haswell architecture, the E3 line being updated to it just last year. 

There a few key differences to new architecture, one of the biggest being the move to DDR4 memory and the njump from 12 cores max in the E5-2600v2 to 18 cores in this latest generation. Please see the images below for the full specification list of the entire Xeon E5-2600v3 Haswell-EP family:   

                                   E5-2600v3 Family   

E5-2600v3 Family   

The new generation of Xeon processors are the first to launch support for DDR4 (double data rate fourth generation) memory. DDR4 memory features higher bandwidth interface and is faster than DDR2 and DDR3 technologies. The new memory support makes the new E5-2600 deliver 50% increased power efficiency and 50% improved bandwidth use. They can give a frequency of up to 2133 MHz use 2x QPI 1.1 channels with up to 9.6 GT/s. These processors support PCIe 3.0 with up to 8 GT/s and 40 lanes.

The chipset will be Wellsburg PCH. This gives support for a huge number of SATA ports at 10. A large number of USB devices can be used with six USB 3.0 ports, and eight USB 2.0 ports. Wellsburg also supports DMI2 with 4x lanes. 

LAN improvements will have the new Fortville (40 GbE) that can be included.

The LLC cache numbers appear to follow a 2.5 MB cache per core in most cases, but some are different, like the E5-2699 v3 with a possible 45 MB cache total. The two basic SKU's, or E5-2609 v3 and E5-2603 v3, do not support hyper-threading and turbo boost. Also, note that not all SKU's support DDR4 memory with 2133 MHz speed.

E5-2600v3 Platform

Here we see a platform overview of the E5-2600 v3 line up. The C610 series chipset offers many improvements over the C602 chipset. It includes enhanced SATA support, enterprise SMbus, and MCTP support. In addition, Intel SPS 3.0 firmware with BMC-assist modules is included.
 

Per-Core P-States (PCPS) allow cores to run at individual frequencies/voltages. Energy efficient turbo mode (EET) monitors stall behavior and increases throughput. Uncore voltage/frequency scaling (USF) in Nehalem would allow cores to turbo up, but uncore would remain at a fixed frequency; Sandy Bridge core and uncore turbo up and down together. With Haswell-EP, each core and uncore, are now treated independently. Core bound applications can drive frequency higher without needing to increase uncore. LLC/Memory bound applications can drive frequency higher without burning core power.

Final Thoughts

Our final conclusion is clearly, the biggest advantage of the new Haswell-EP processors is the increased number of cores. We think that in itself is a huge benefit to many systems that are in use today.

Adding a large number of cores to a package also creates core communication problems. The new On-Die Interconnects create simplified paths for data to travel from one core to another. Going from core 18 to core one and moving data from memory now takes a shorter path through buffered bi-directional interconnects. This lowers latency, improves response time, and increases performance for applications.

The new DDR4 memory also has a big impact on system performance. We can now install DIMMs with larger capacity in less slots. This helps to keep RAM speeds higher, as we do not need to spread the RAM out into smaller capacity DIMMs. Even with a max RAM, load out speed is still double what it was with DDR3.

Intel Advanced Vector Extensions (AVX), now updated with the new AVX2, show a huge boost to floating point bandwidth. We see close to double the bandwidth in our Linpack tests. With the growing amount of encrypted and compressed data, AVX2 shows good results in speeding these processes up. Not everything is all nice and shiny with E5-v3 processors though. In August 2014, Intel announced a bug in the TSX implementation on Haswell and early Broadwell CPUs, which resulted in disabling the TSX feature on affected CPUs via a microcode update.

Overall, we see big power saving gains and performance boosts with the new Haswell-EP processors. Intel has addressed many problems with power use, multi-core processing, and VM applications. The new systems offer much needed performance improvements for today's heavy VM environments. 

 

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