Intel’s Xeon E7 v2 is Here: Say Hello to 30 Threads on a Single Chip

Posted on February 19, 2014 9:00 AM by Rob Williams

Intel might be taking its good ole time bringing an 8-core desktop processor to market, but it sure hasn’t been resting on its laurels where its server parts are concerned. This past fall, the Santa Clara company rolled-out its E5 v2 lineup, which followed-up to the E3 v2 parts released in 2012. Now, it’s time to release the truly big guns – the parts that mean so much business, it’s hard to put it into words.

It’s time for Xeon E7 v2, dubbed “IvyTown”, and based on Ivy Bridge.

Intel Xeon E7 v2 DieIntel Xeon E7 v2 15-core Die Shot (Wallpaper Version)

Prior to E7 v2, the beefiest Xeon Intel offered featured 12 cores and 24 threads. With this latest launch, those values have been boosted to 15 cores and 30 threads. That alone is impressive, but consider the fact that we’re talking about chips that have more than 4 billion transistors under the hood, and chips that can be paired in configurations of 2, 4, and 8. Mind-boggling? Yes, and I love it.

Fun Facts

  • Intel’s v2 15-core consists of 4.31 billion transistors.
  • It’d take 4,000 22nm transistors to match the width of a human hair.
  • 8-socket v2 platforms can use 192x 64GB sticks of RAM, for 12TB total.
  • In a maxed-out config, a Xeon v2 server would have 240 threads at its disposal.

As an Ivy Bridge derivative, E7 v2 is built using a 22nm process, an upgrade from 32nm. Perhaps more notable than that though is the fact that select models feature up to 37.5 MB of L3 cache. Here’s another mind-boggling fact: 37.5 MB isn’t exclusive to the 15-core models; even a 6 and 10-core are being made available with the same cache density (granted, their prices reflect it).

Westmere-EX supported up to 16 DIMMs per socket, whereas Ivy Bridge-EX upgrades that to 24 DIMMs. What’s more, 64GB modules are now supported, which would allow up to 1.5TB of RAM per socket to be installed, for a total of 3TB in a 2-socket server, 6TB in a 4-socket, and 12TB in an 8-socket.

Other enhancements include the upgrade to DDR3-1600 supported RAM, up to 3x 8.0GT/s QPI interconnects per socket, 32x PCIe 3.0 lanes per socket, and a slew of new enterprise features that were first introduced with E5 v2 this past fall.

The current E7 v2 lineup is as follows:

Intel Xeon v2 SeriesClockCoresThreadsCacheQPITDPPrice
E7-8893 v23.40 GHz61237.5 MB8.0 GT/s155W$6,841
E7-8891 v23.20 GHz102037.5 MB8.0 GT/s155W$6,841
E7-8890 v22.80 GHz153037.5 MB8.0 GT/s155W$6,841
E7-8880 v22.50 GHz153037.5 MB8.0 GT/s130W$5,729
E7-8870 v22.30 GHz153030 MB8.0 GT/s130W$4,616
E7-8850 v22.30 GHz122424 MB7.2 GT/s105W$3,059
E7-8880L v22.20 GHz153037.5 MB8.0 GT/s105W$5,729
E7-8857 v23.00 GHz121230 MB8.0 GT/s130W$3,838
E7-4890 v22.80 GHz153037.5 MB8.0 GT/s155W$6,619
E7-4880 v22.50 GHz153037.5 MB8.0 GT/s130W$5,506
E7-4870 v22.30 GHz153030 MB8.0 GT/s130W$4,394
E7-4860 v22.60 GHz122430 MB8.0 GT/s130W$3,838
E7-4850 v22.30 GHz122424 MB7.2 GT/s105W$2,837
E7-4830 v22.20 GHz102020 MB7.2 GT/s105W$2,059
E7-4820 v22.00 GHz81616 MB7.2 GT/s105W$1,446
E7-4809 v21.90 GHz61212 MB6.4 GT/s105W$1,223
E7-2890 v22.80 GHz153037.5 MB8.0 GT/s155W$6,451
E7-2880 v22.50 GHz153037.5 MB8.0 GT/s130W$5,339
E7-2870 v22.30 GHz153030 MB8.0 GT/s130W$4,227
E7-2850 v22.30 GHz122424 MB7.2 GT/s105W$2,558

There seems to be an E7 v2 for everyone and their dog, which is to be expected given the unexpected demands of the configurations that these chips will fall into. It’s nice to see that Intel didn’t want to release just a couple 15-cores; instead, there’s 10 to choose from, the least-expensive of which is the E7-4870 v2 at $4,394 (2.30GHz, 30MB L3).

Interested in real benchmarks performed on these new chips? Look no further than here.

Oh, how I wish I had the need for a 240 thread server…

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