Intel's Nehalem-EP Xeons Deliver Explosive Performance

Rob Williams

Staff member
From our front-page news:
When Intel launched their Core i7 processors last fall, we, like the rest of the editorial press, we were blown away. Hit with the right workload, the Nehalem architecture blew past not only the competition, but Intel's own Yorkfield as well. As we'd expect, things don't change too much on the server side of things, given the fact that its servers that tend to excel where multi-threading is concerned. HyperThreading worked well in our tests, and it works even better in server applications.

Our friends at The Tech Report have taken the brand-new high-end Xeon CPU for a spin, the 3.2GHz W5580, and are left more than impressed. Thanks to the numerous architectural differences over Yorkfield, and improved design compared to the latest Opterons, the latest Xeon manages to clean house in every-single test... well, all except the power consumption, where it draws more power at full load (to be expected from a 130W processor).

Where memory-intensive applications are concerned, the latest Xeon wins without worry. Thanks to the triple-channel memory controller, and the dropping of latency-plagued FB-DIMMs, the Xeon catches up to the Opteron and blows past it. As we found in our launch Core i7 article, complex algorithms is where the Nehalem architecture shines, and this article has the graphs to prove just how useful that is with server-based scenarios. Oh, but there's one caveat. The $1,600 price tag. That's simply the high-end model reviewed though. There are many more options available for you workstation/server builders working on a more modest budget.


Although we've seen Nehalem on the desktop, it's even more impressive in its dual-socket server/workstation form. That's true for several reasons, including the fact that this architecture was obviously designed with the server market in mind. This system layout translates particularly well into multi-socket systems, where its scalability is quite evident. Another reason Nehalem looks so impressive here is the simple reality that the past few generations of Xeons were handcuffed by FB-DIMMs, not only in due to added power consumption, but also in terms of memory latencies and, as a result, overall performance.

Source: The Tech Report


Techgage Staff
Staff member
I went through Anandtech's article on those... it was everything I was expecting it to be, a total blowout. The bright side is that AMD's 2.9GHz 2389 is priced the same as Intel's 2.6Ghz X5550. In effect this is AMD's highest server model against Intel's lowest "X" server model. The cheaper E model Xeons start losing various bits & pieces that will slowly bring down performance.

By that I mean I wasn't sure they'd even be able to wage a price/performance war, but it looks like they can still do so without cutting into company muscle. AMD is really aiming to ramp up hex-core Istanbul early, and now we know why. The Opteron models would need a better than 230MHz clockspeed advantage over their Xeon counterparts to start winning those benchmarks... that leaves a 530Mhz gap AMD would need to overcome with Shanghai, and that isn't going to happen.
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