Comparing Westmere-EX and Nehalem-EX

Yesterday, Intel announced that their flagship server processor, the Xeon Nehalem-EX, is being succeeded by the Xeon Westmere-EX, a process-shrinking " tick" in Intel's terminology. By shrinking Intel's largest Xeon to 32nm, the best Westmere-EX Xeon is now clocked 6% higher (2.4GHz versus 2.26GHz), gets two extra cores (10 versus 8) and has a 30MB L3 (instead of 24MB).

As is typical for a tick, the core improvements are rather subtle. The only tangible improvement should be the improved memory controller that is capable of extracting up to 20% more bandwidth out of the same DIMMs. The Nehalem-EX was the first quad-socket Xeon that was not starved by memory bandwidth, and we expect that the Westmere-EX will perform very well in bandwidth limited HPC applications.

With the launch of Westmere-EX (and Sandy Bridge on the consumer side before it), it appears Intel is finally ready to admit that their BMW-inspired naming system doesn't make any sense at all. They've promised a new, "more logical" system that will be used for the coming years. The details of the new Xeon naming system are presented in the image below.

There is some BMW-ness left (e.g. the product line 3-5-7), but the numbers make more sense now. You can directly derive from the model number the maximum number of sockets, the type of the socket, and whether the CPU is low-end, midrange, or high-end. Intel also has the "L" suffix present for low power models.

Westmere-EX SKUs and Performance


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  • koinkoin - Thursday, April 7, 2011 - link

    Well, some of the customers I work with have some very specific work load. They do research and development and for them it is worth to have the best performance when they buy the system…

    About price, yes and no, as with 64 memory slot you can get a good price per gigabit compared to a system with only 18 slots or so if you need around 256GB or more memory. So there it can be good, but again specific.

    But you are right, for most Virtualization system I would rather go with 2U system like the Dell R710 who fit a good balance of CPU power and memory options at a better price. You can have them redundant so you can lose one or more to distribute your loads.
  • pugster - Thursday, April 7, 2011 - link

    Our company is planning to buy a couple of blades but they have the older generation x56xx cpus. I hope that they have this available soon. Reply
  • Michael REMY - Sunday, April 10, 2011 - link

    i'd like to see 3d benchmark performances....

    it should be awesome !

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