What Intel is Offering

So what are Intel newest offerings and how do they compare to AMD? First, since power consumption is more important in servers than in high-end desktops, Intel selects the 2.93GHz Nehalems with the lowest power consumption (less than or equal to 95W TDP) and sells them in the server market. The 95W-130W TDP parts are for the desktop market. There is a 3.2GHz Xeon W5580 at 130W, but it's only targeted at the workstation market.

Processor Speed and Cache Comparison
Xeon model Speed (GHz) Max. Turbo Max. Turbo
4 cores busy
L3 Cache (MB) TDP (W)
X5570 2.93 3.33GHz 3.2GHz 8MB 95
X5560 2.8 3.2GHz 3.066GHz 8MB 95
X5550 2.66 3.066GHz 2.93GHz 8MB 95
E5540 2.53 2.8GHz 2.66GHz 8MB 80
E5530 2.4 2.66GHz 2.53GHz 8MB 80
L5520 2.26 2.4GHz 2.33GHz 8MB 60
L5510 2.13 No turbo No Turbo 4MB 60
E5520 2.26 2.4GHz 2.33GHz 8MB 80
E5506 2.13 No turbo No Turbo 4MB 80
E5504 2 No turbo No Turbo 4MB 80
E5502 1.86 No turbo No Turbo 4MB 80

Notice that the fastest 95W parts are able to boost their frequency with two 133MHz increments even if all four cores are busy. In reality, we have noticed that with most business workloads a 2.93GHz Xeon X5570 is running at 3.066 most of the time and from time to time even at 3.2GHz, but relatively rarely at 2.93GHz. In other words, you get a bit more clock speed than advertised. In rendering we noticed that peaking at 3.2GHz was rather rare, so the workload really determines how high the CPU will clock.

 


1366 pads make contact with the new Xeon motherboards

 

The E5520 to E5540 Xeons boost their clock speed by only one increment if all cores are busy. The E550x versions are really the low end: they get no Hyper-Threading (SMT) nor are they able to boost their clock speed (Turbo mode).

Index Testing Methodology
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  • gwolfman - Tuesday, March 31, 2009 - link

    Why was this article pulled yesterday after it first posted? Reply
  • JohanAnandtech - Tuesday, March 31, 2009 - link

    Because the NDA date was noon in the pacific zone and not CET. We were slightly too early... Reply
  • yasbane - Tuesday, March 31, 2009 - link

    Hi Johan,

    Any chance of some more comprehensive Linux benchmarks? Haven't seen any on IT Anandtech for a while.

    cheers
    Reply
  • JohanAnandtech - Tuesday, March 31, 2009 - link

    Yes, we are working on that. Our first Oracle testing is finished on the AMD's platform, but still working on the rest.

    Mind you, all our articles so far have included Linux benchmarking. All mysql testing for example, Stream, Specjbb and Linpack.
    Reply
  • Exar3342 - Monday, March 30, 2009 - link

    Thanks for the extremely informative and interesting review Johan. I am definitely looking forward to more server reviews; are the 4-way CPUs out later this year? That will be interesting as well. Reply
  • Exar3342 - Monday, March 30, 2009 - link

    Forgot to mention that I was suprised HT has such an impact that it did in some of the benches. It made some huge differences in certain applications, and slightly hindered it in others. Overall, I can see why Intel wanted to bring back SMT for the Nehalem architecture. Reply
  • duploxxx - Monday, March 30, 2009 - link

    awesome performance, but would like to see how the intel 5510-20-30 fare against the amd 2378-80-82 after all that is the same price range.

    It was the same with woodcrest and conroe launch, everybody saw huge performance lead but then only bought the very slow versions.... then the question is what is still the best value performance/price/power.

    Istanbul better come faster for amd, how it looks now with decent 45nm power consumption it will be able to bring some battle to high-end 55xx versions.
    Reply
  • eryco - Tuesday, April 14, 2009 - link

    Very informative article... I would also be interested in seeing how any of the midrange 5520/30 Xeons compare to the 2382/84 Opterons. Especially now that some vendors are giving discounts on the AMD-based servers, the premium for a server with X5550/60/70s is even bigger. It would be interesting to see how the performance scales for the Nehalem Xeons, and how it compares to Shanghai Opterons in the same price range. We're looking to acquire some new servers and we can afford 2P systems with 2384s, but on the Intel side we can only go as far as E5530s. Unfortunately there's no performance data for Xeons in the midrange anywhere online so we can make a comparison. Reply
  • haplo602 - Monday, March 30, 2009 - link

    I only skimmed the graphs, but how about some consistency ? some of the graphs feature only dual core opterons, some have a mix of dual and quad core ... pricing chart also features only dual core opterons ...

    looking just at the graphs, I cannot make any conclusion ...
    Reply
  • TA152H - Monday, March 30, 2009 - link

    Part of the problem with the 54xx CPUs is not the CPUs themselves, but the FB-DIMMS. Part of the big improvement for the Nehalem in the server world is because Intel sodomized their 54xx platform, for reasons that escape most people, with the FB-DIMMs. But, it's really not mentioned except with regards to power. If the IMC (which is not an AMD innovation by the way, it's been done many times before they did it, even on the x86 by NexGen, a company they later bought) is so important, then surely the FB-DIMMs are. They both are related to the same issue - memory latency.

    It's not really important though, since that's what you'd get if you bought the Intel 54xx; it's more of an academic complaint. But, I'd like to see the Nehalem tested with dual channel memory, which is a real issue. The reason being, it has lower latency while only using two channels, and for some benchmarks, certainly not all or even the majority, you might see better performance by using two (or maybe it never happens). If you're running a specific application that runs better using dual channel, it would be good to know.

    Overall, though, a very good article. The first thing I mention is a nitpick, the second may not even matter if three channel performance is always better.
    Reply

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