The massive 416 mm² large chip contains no less than 2263 million transistors. Each generation of Intel and AMD server CPUs seem to get a bit larger as you can see below.

The Xeon 5400, 5500/5600 and E5-2600 package on top, the Opteron 2300/8300 and 6100/6200 below.

So how does the new Xeon compare to the older Xeons and the latest Opterons? Let's take a look at the paper specs:

  Xeon E5-2600
"Sandy Bridge EP"
Opteron 6200
Opteron 6100
Xeon 5600
Cores (Modules)/Threads 8/16 8/16 12/12 6/12
L1 Instruction 8x 32 KB 4-way 8x 64 KB 2-way 12x 64 KB 2-way 6x 32 KB 4-way
L1 Data 8x 32 KB 8-way 16x 16 KB 4-way 12x 64 KB 2-way 6x 32 KB 8-way
L2 Cache 8x 256 KB 4x 2MB 12x 0.5MB 6x 256 KB
L3 Cache 20 MB 2x 8MB 2x 6MB 12MB
Max. Memory Bandwidth
(Per socket)
51.2 GB/s 51.2 GB/s 42.6 GB/s 32 GB/s
IMC Clock Speed = corespeed 2GHz 1.8GHz 2GHz
Interconnect 2x QPI 2.0 (8 GT/s) 4x HT 3.1 (6.4 GT/s) 4x HT 3.1 (6.4 GT/s) 2x QPI (4.8-6.4 GT/s)
Transistors (Billion) 2,26 2x 1,2 2x 904 1,17
Die Size (mm²) 416 2x 315 2x 346 248

The new Xeon comes with a huge die, and with its ring interconnect and improved RAS, it starts to look more like a successor of the Westmere-EX than the Westmere-EP Xeon. In fact the ring of the Xeon E5 is more advanced: it has a PCIe agent, PCU and IMC on the same ring as the 8 cores.

The massive die, the two extra cores, the integration of the PCIe controller and no competition in the high-end have made it easier for Intel to justify a price increase. The Sandy Bridge EP is somewhat more expensive than its predecessor, as you can see in the table below. The first clockspeed mentioned is the regular clock, the second the turbo clock with all cores active (most realistic one) and the last the maximum turbo clock.

Intel new vs. Intel 2-socket SKU Comparison
TDP Clock
Price Xeon
TDP Clock
High Performance High Performance
          2690 8/16 135W 2.9/3.3/3.8 $2057
X5690 6/12 130W 3.46/3.6/3.73 $1663 2680 8/16 130W 2.7/3.1/3.5 $1723
          2670 8/16 115W 2.6/3/3.3 $1552
          2665 8/16 115W 2.4/2.8/3.1 $1440
X5675 6/12 95W 3.06/3.33/3.46 $1440          
X5660 6/12 95W 2.8/3.06/3.2 $1219 2660 8/16 95W 2.2/2.6/3.0 $1329
X5650 6/12 95W 2.66/2.93/3.06 $996 2650 8/16 95W 2/2.4/2.8 $1107
Midrange Midrange
E5649 6/12 80W 2.53/2.66/2.8 $774 2640 6/12 95W 2.5/2.5/3 $885
          2630 6/12 95W 2.3/2.3/2.8 $612
E5645 6/12 80W 2.4/2.53/2.66 $551          
          2620 6/12 95W 2/2/2.5 $406
E5620 4/8 80W 2.4/2.53/2.66 $387          
High clock / budget High clock / budget
X5647 4/8 130W 2.93/3.06/3.2 $774 2643 4/8 130W 3.3/3.3/3.5 $885
E5630 4/8 80W 2.53/2.66/2.8 $551          
E5607 4/4 80W 2.26 $276 2609 4/4 80W 2.4 $294
Power Optimized Power Optimized
L5640 6/12 60W 2.26/2.4/2.66 $996 2650L 8/16 70W 1.8/2/2.3 $1107
5630 4/8 40W 2.13/2.26/2.4 $551 2630L 8/16 60W 2/2/2.5 $662

The Xeon E5-2690's somewhat out of the ordinary TDP (135W) is easy to explain. With a very small TDP increase (+5W) Intel's engineers noticed they could raise the clock of the best SKU with another 200 MHz from 2.7 GHz (130W) to 2.9 GHz. The E5-2690 was more or less a safeguard in the event that the Interlagos Opteron turned out to be a real "Bulldozer". As the Opteron could not meet these expectations, the high performance of the 135W chip allows Intel to ask more than $2000 for its best Xeon EP. Which is quite a bit more than what the best Xeon EP used to sell for so far ($1500-1600).

Since the new Xeon has two extra cores and integrates the I/O hub (IOH), it is understandable that the TDP values are a bit higher compared to the older Xeon.

How does these new Xeon SKUs compare to the Opteron? See below.

AMD vs. Intel 2-socket SKU Comparison
TDP Clock
Price Opteron Modules/
TDP Clock
High Performance High Performance
2665 8/16 115W 2.4/2.8/3.1 $1440          
2650 8/16 95W 2/2.4/2.8 $1107 6282 SE 8/16 140W 2.6/3.0/3.3 $1019
Midrange Midrange
2640 6/12 95W 2.5/2.5/3 $885 6276 8/16 115W 2.3/2.6/3.2 $788
2630 6/12 95W 2.3/2.3/2.8 $639 6274 8/16 115W 2.2/2.5/3.1 $639
          6272 8/16 115W 2.0/2.4/3.0 $523
2620 6/12 95W 2/2/2.5 $406 6238 6/12 115W 2.6/2.9/3.2 $455
          6234 6/12 115W 2.4/2.7/3.0 $377
High clock / budget High clock / budget
2643 4/8 130W 3.3/3.3/3.5 $885          
          6220 4/8 115W 3.0/3.3/3.6 $455
2609 4/4 80W 2.4 $294 6212 4/8 115W 2.6/2.9/3.2 $266
Power Optimized Power Optimized
2630L 8/16 60W 2/2/2.5 $662 6262HE 8/16 85W 1.6/2.1/2.9 $523

Let's start with the midrange first, as the competition is the fiercest there and these SKUs are among the most popular on the market. Based on the paper specs, AMD's 6276, 6274 and Intel's 2640 and 2630 are in a neck-and-neck race. AMD offers 16 smaller integer clusters, while Intel offers 6 or 8 heavy, slightly higher clocked cores with SMT. And while we did not receive a Xeon E5-2630 for benchmarking purposes, we were able to quickly simulate one by disabling the 2 cores of our Xeon 2660, which gave us a six-core processor at 2.2 GHz with 20 MB L3-cache. This pseudo-2660 should perform very similar to the real Xeon 2630, which is clocked 4.5% higher, but has 5 MB less L3-cache.

Meanwhile in the high performance segment we'll be comparing our six-core 2660 with the Opteron 6276. The CPUs in this comparison aren't going to be in the same price bracket, but as the AMD platform is typically a bit cheaper the 2660 and the Opteron 6276 end up having similar total platform costs. Otherwise for a more straightforward comparison based solely on CPU prices the 2660's closest competitor would be the Opteron 6274. We don't have one of those on hand, but you can get a pretty good idea of how that would compare by knocking 4% off of the performance of the 6276..

Finally, for the "Power Optimized" market there seems to be little contest over who is going to win there. Intel's chip is a bit more expensive, but it offers a much lower TDP, just as many threads, and a higher clockspeed. Considering that the Intel chip also integrates the PCIe controller, it looks like Intel will have no trouble winning this battle by a landslide. Fortunately for AMD, this review is mostly about the more popular midrange market.

Introduction The New Xeon Platform


View All Comments

  • tipoo - Wednesday, March 07, 2012 - link

    Like the Ivy bridge comments, just for future readers note that this was a reply to a deleted troll and no longer applies. Reply
  • IntelUser2000 - Tuesday, March 06, 2012 - link

    Johan, you got the percentage numbers for LS-Dyna wrong.

    You said for the first one: the Xeon E5-2660 offers 20% better performance, the 2690 is 31% faster. It is interesting to note that LS-Dyna does not scale well with clockspeed: the 32% higher clockspeed of the Xeon E5-2690 results in only a 14% speed increase.

    E5-2690 vs Opteron 6276: +46%(621/426)
    E5-2660 vs Opteron 6276: +26%(621/492)
    E5-2690 vs E5-2660: +15%(492/426)

    In the conclusion you said the E5 2660 is "56% faster than X5650, 21% faster than 6276, and 6C is 8% faster than 6276"


    LS Dyna Neon-

    E5-2660 vs X5650: +77%(872/492)
    E5-2660 vs 6276: +26%(621/492)
    E5-2660 6C vs 6276: +9%(621/570)

    LS Dyna TVC-

    E5-2660 vs X5650: +78%(10833/6072)
    E5-2660 vs 6276: +35%(8181/6072)
    E5-2660 6C vs 6276: +13%(8181/7228)

    It's funny how you got the % numbers for your conclusions. It's merely the ratio of lower number vs higher number multiplied by 100.
  • JohanAnandtech - Wednesday, March 07, 2012 - link

    Argh. You are absolutely right. I reversed all divisions. I am fixing this as we type. Luckily this does not alter the conclusion: LS-DYNA does not scale with clockspeed very well. Reply
  • alpha754293 - Wednesday, March 07, 2012 - link

    I think that I might have an answer for you as to why it might not scale well with clock speed.

    When you start a multiprocessor LS-DYNA run, it goes through a stage where it decomposes the problem (through a process called recursive coordinate bisection (RCB)).

    This decomposition phase is done every time you start the run, and it only runs on a single processor/core. So, suppose that you have a dual-socket server where the processors say...are hitting 4 GHz. That can potentially be faster than say if you had a four-socket server, but each of the processors are only 2.4 GHz.

    In the first case, you have a small number of really fast cores (and so it will decompose the domain very quickly), whereas in the latter, you have a large number of much slower cores, so the decomposition will happen slowly, but it MIGHT be able to solve the rest of it slightly faster (to make up for the difference) just because you're throwing more hardware at it.

    Here's where you can do a little more experimenting if you like.

    Using the pfile (command line option/flag 'p=file'), not only can you control the decomposition method, but you can also tell it to write the decomposition to a file.

    So had you had more time, what I would have probably done is written out the decompositions for all of the various permutations you're going to be running. (n-cores, m-number of files.)

    When you start the run, instead of it having to decompose the problem over and over again each time it starts, you just use the decomposition that it's already done (once) and then that way, you would only be testing PURELY the solving part of the run, rather than from beginning to end. (That isn't to say that the results you've got is bad - it's good data), but that should help to take more variables out of the equation when it comes to why it doesn't scale well with clock speed. (It should).
  • IntelUser2000 - Tuesday, March 06, 2012 - link

    Please refrain from creating flamebait in your posts. Your post is almost like spam, almost no useful information is there. If you are going to love one side, don't hate the other. Reply
  • Alexko - Tuesday, March 06, 2012 - link

    It's not "like spam", it's just plain spam at this point. A little ban + mass delete combo seems to be in order, just to cleanup this thread—and probably others. Reply
  • ultimav - Wednesday, March 07, 2012 - link

    My troll meter is reading off the charts with this guy. Reading between the lines, he's actually a hardcore AMD fan trying to come across as the Intel version of Sharikou to paint Intel fans in a bad light. Pretty obvious actually. Reply
  • JohanAnandtech - Wednesday, March 07, 2012 - link

    We had to mass delete his posts as they indeed did not contain any useful info and were full of insults. The signal to noise ratio has been good the last years, so we must keep it that way.

    Inteluser2000, Alexko, Ultimav, tipoo: thx for helping to keep the tone civil here. Appreciate it.

    - Johan.
  • tipoo - Wednesday, March 07, 2012 - link

    And thank you for removing that stuff. Reply
  • tipoo - Tuesday, March 06, 2012 - link

    We get it. Don't spam the whole place with the same post. Reply

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