At both the Intel Haswell launch and the first shipping Haswell Xeon silicon, I lamented the lack of a Crystal Well Xeon part in the line-up.  It would make sense that a large L4 cache on a CPU would be a prime target for workstation and server applications, as well as the gaming methodology used by Crystal Well in the Mac/Clevo laptops and Brix Pro system.  Thus when searching for information on Xeon E3 SKUs today, my surprise came at the listing of Iris Pro 5200 enabled Xeon silicon.

Slipping somewhat under the radar, the Xeon E3-1284L v3 is a BGA only processor, featuring lower frequencies than any other Crystal Well SKU to date.  The 47W quad-core part has a base clock of 1.8 GHz, hitting 3.2 GHz as the max turbo frequency.  That is a big jump from base to turbo, so it would be interesting to see what the breakdown turbo frequencies are depending on per-core loading.  As with the other similar SKUs, we have 32GB DDR3-1600 support, however ECC is supported and the memory bandwidth comparison on ark.intel.com would make this component aimed more for laptops and mobile devices rather than desktops.  The integrated Iris Pro 5200 graphics have the highest base frequency of any Iris Pro part at 750 MHz, rising to 1.0 GHz at turbo which is incidentally the lowest turbo frequency of the Iris Pro 5200 range.  vPro, VT-x, VT-d and TSX-NI are all enabled for this part as well.

Both CPU-World and ark.intel put the release of this part at Q1’14 (CPU-World states February 2014), however much like the initial Crystal Well parts, I would imagine we were 6 months out from seeing any products with the CPU coming to market.  It could turn out that this SKU is just a specific customer’s request – it would seem a little odd just to have one processor of this nature in the Xeon line-up.  But if your volume is sufficient, Intel might make it just for you.

Anand, Ganesh and I have each taken four separate looks at different Crystal Well hardware, including Intel’s Customer Reference Board, the iMac, a Clevo and the GIGABYTE Brix Pro.  

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  • S3anister - Monday, March 10, 2014 - link

    This is very interesting. I have also been waiting to see if any Xeon SKUs would come out that featured Crystal Well (even if only as an L4 cache). It would be much appreciated if Anandtech could get their hands on one of these for review. Reply
  • iAPX - Friday, March 14, 2014 - link

    Pretty interesting for low-cost Workstation: dual-core is not an issue for many tasks, and Iris Pro with certified Drivers would be hot.

    I use a MacBook Pro 17Inch with Radeon HD 6750M that is SLOWER for nearly any usage than Iris Pro. It's still a workhorse for serious professional usage (including Photography and OpenCL-enabled tools such as Photoshop CC or PixelMator).

    So a low-cost Workstation, that is not a performance Workstation but a solidly designed and build computer, created to work 10 or 12hrs a day, for under $1000, is a serious product!
    Reply
  • MrSpadge - Monday, March 10, 2014 - link

    Certain workstation and server loads should benefit tremendously from the L4 cache. But why cripple that chip with a 47 W TDP?! Just give us an unlocked version! Reply
  • DanNeely - Monday, March 10, 2014 - link

    It's the same BGA as is used in mobile parts, just with the Xeon name slapped on now. My guess is that there aren't enough connection points designated for power delivery to support traditional desktop/server level TDPs. Reply
  • jasonelmore - Monday, March 10, 2014 - link

    Its got ECC Memory support, which is no simple task of slapping a new sticker on the side of the box. Reply
  • Kevin G - Monday, March 10, 2014 - link

    Considering that the memory controller on all Haswell's supports ECC, it is effectively slapping a new sticker on the box. All Intel does to enable/disable ECC is to blow some small fuses on the die. Oddly, Intel does't list which package this chip uses but I'd be surprised if it was different than the other BGA packages used by other mobile Haswells. Reply
  • DanNeely - Monday, March 10, 2014 - link

    I believe that's just a case of fusing it on/off on current processors; not creating separate die for each ram type. While I believe ECC does need a few additional datalines; if it comes out in a BGA package with the same number of balls or just enough extra to enable ECC; it'd clearly just be a reuse of the existing mobile version and thus have all the caveats it does. Only if it comes out in a substantially different package would I expect there to be enough additional power delivery capacity to power substantially higher TDPs.

    Intel does have 65W crystalwell parts; I suspect that's probably the power cap, and that they're just testing the water with a single Xeon part. If sales are good they'll probably offer one at that level in the future (unless the higher power through the solider joints impacts system lifetime at high sustained loads); if not it'll vanish into the memory hole until the eDRAM cache moves on die in a future processor generation.
    Reply
  • Kevin G - Monday, March 10, 2014 - link

    The 47W TDP is likely from the relatively high based clock seed of 750 Mhz on the GPU. Note that the other Crystalwell parts have a 200 Mhz based GPU speed. Things are reversed when talking about GPU turbo as the E3-1284L v3 only his 1 Ghz while the other parts scaled to 1.2 or 1.3 Ghz. Reply
  • MrSpadge - Tuesday, March 11, 2014 - link

    No, the iGPU consumes next to nothing when not under active use. The clock & power gating is really good there, at idle it's far more efficient than any discrete GPU. The 47 W TDP is there to allow the Haswell cores to actually complete some work :) Reply
  • k2_8191 - Monday, March 10, 2014 - link

    Hmm, why don't they make 150W TDP Crystalwell whose base clock is >3GHz rather than lower TDP one?
    It must be the best performing Xeon very suitable for HPC workloads.
    Maybe the eDRAM is easily affected by heat?
    Reply

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