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Intel reveals new Xeon E7 v2 processors with up to 15 cores

Intel Corp. on Wednesday unveiled its new family of Xeon E7 processors for enterprise-class servers that brings unprecedented compute performance and introduces new reliability, availability and serviceability (RAS) features never-before-seen on Xeon products. The new central processing units are designed for up to 32-socket servers and will power various machines that need high performance as well as improved reliability.

The new Xeon E7 2800, 4800 and 8800 v2 family of microprocessors code-named “Ivy Town” includes models with 6, 8, 10, 12 and 15 cores with or without Hype-Threading technology as well as up to 37.5MB of unified L3 cache. The chips feature two on-chip DDR3 memory controllers each with two memory channels (that support 800MT/s – 1867MT/s effective frequencies for traditional DDR3 modules as well as up to 2667MT/s speeds to connect to a memory extension buffer using voltage-mode single-ended (VMSE) interface). Each chip supports up to 1.5TB of memory, which radically improves performance for Big Data and in-memory applications. The Xeon E7 v2 “Ivytown” processors feature high-speed serial input-output, including 40 lanes of PCI Express (2.5/5.0/8.0Gbps), four lanes of direct media interface (DMI) (2.5/5.0Gbps), and 60 lanes of QPI (6.4/7.2/8.0Gbps) interface to connect with other central processing units (CPUs).

Just like predecessors, Intel Xeon E7 v2 family of microprocessors come with integrated reliability, availability and serviceability (RAS) capabilities designed for mission-critical computing. In addition, the new chips support Run Sure technology designed for “five nines” solutions [which are available for 99.999% of time] essential for business-critical data by reducing frequency and cost of planned and unplanned downtime.

Hardware-embedded security has also been strengthened in Intel’s new Xeon E7 v2 product family, creating a more secure system to transfer data and conduct advanced analytics. The new capabilities include Intel Data Protection technology with Secure Key and Intel Platform Protection technology with OS Guard for faster and more secure encryption, and improved protection against malware.

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“Organizations that leverage data to accelerate business insights will have a tremendous edge in this economy,” said Diane Bryant, senior vice president and general manager of Intel’s data center group. “The advanced performance, memory capacity and reliability of the Intel Xeon processor E7 v2 family enable IT organizations to deliver real-time analysis of large data sets to spot and capitalize on trends, create new services and deliver business efficiency.”

To fit up to 15 Ivy Bridge cores into 155W thermal design envelope, Intel had to implement numerous measures to cut overall power consumption of the CPU and reduce power leakage. The “Ivy Town” design uses lower-leakage transistors in non-timing-critical paths, achieving 63% usage in the cores and over 90% in the non-core area. Overall, leakage accounts for about 22% of the total power at the typical process corner, quite impressive for a multi-core chip with relatively high frequency.

The Xeon E7 v2 “IvyTown” processor consists of 4.31 billion transistors and is manufactured using 22nm process technology. The design supports a wide array of product offerings with thermal design power ranging from 40 to 155W and frequencies ranging from 1.4 to 3.8GHz.

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Starting today, 21 system manufacturers from around the world will announce more than 40 Intel Xeon processor E7 v2 family-based platforms. Numerous analytics software vendors also support Xeon processor E7 v2 family-based platforms, including Altibase, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, Pivotal, QlikView, Red Hat, SAP, SAS, Software AG, Splunk, Sungard, Teradata, TongTech, Vertica and YonYou.

Intel Xeon E7 v2 family at present includes 20 microprocessors with 6, 8, 10, 12 or 15 cores. Eventually, there will be other processors based on the same design and featuring similar RAS and security capabilities with decreased power consumption.

KitGuru Says: Intel Xeon E7 v2 “Ivy Town” chips bring a lot of Xeon capabilities to the next level. For example, support of up to 1.5TB of DDR3 per socket will let the new chips to power systems that will rival proprietary machines designed for analytics, Big Data and in-memory applications. Enhanced security and RAS capabilities will put Xeon E7 v2 into the same line with microprocessors originally developed for mission critical computing, such as Intel Itanium. The new CPUs are without any doubts a breakthrough for Intel.

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