Intel Adds Ivy Bridge To Xeon Server Chip Range

Intel is introducing a line of Ivy Bridge-based Xeon processors aimed at smaller businesses and the increasingly competitive market for microservers

Intel is introducing a host of new Xeon processors, including the E3-1200 v2 lineup, the first server chips based on the vendor’s 22-nanometre Ivy Bridge architecture.

The 11 E3-1200 v2 chips were among a total of 28 processors across three product lines – not only the E3-1200 family, but also the Xeon E5-4600 and E5-2400 lines, based on Intel’s 32nm Sandy Bridge architecture – that offer greater performance and power efficiency.

Intel officials said the new products also will offer businesses pathways for adding more processors – and more performance – to their infrastructures without increasing power or operating costs.

Server rollout

IBM, Dell and Hewlett-Packard headline a large number of systems makers – which also include Lenovo, SGI and Supermicro – rolling out new servers and workstations powered by the new Xeons.

The new processors are the latest server offerings from Intel over the past year. The company in April 2011 unveiled the high-end Xeon E7 family aimed at high-availability, high-scalability workloads. In March came the E5-2600 chips for cloud environments and analytics.

The E5-4600 chips are aimed at such high-density environments as high-performance computing (HPC), while the E5-2400 chips are for two-socket systems for small and midsized businesses (SMBs), according to Michele Fisher, strategic marketing and business development manager for Intel.

The E3-1200 v2 is targeted at small single-socket servers, including the nascent microserver space, which is small but growing and a key focus of not only Intel but also its rivals, including ARM Holdings and its manufacturing partners. The E3-1200 v2 chips come with Intel’s new three-dimensional Tri-Gate transistor architecture, which is designed to improve performance while driving down power consumption, key attributes for microservers and other low-power systems.

Intel officials said the E3-1200 v2 chips are 32 percent more energy-efficient than previous versions, and also come with such server-class features as Intel’s Advanced Encryption Standard New Instructions security technology, ECC memory support and Rapid Storage Technology for greater reliability, and faster memory and support for PCI Express 3.0 for faster access to data. The E3-1220L v2 has a power envelope of 17 watts.


Dell earlier this month rolled out the PowerEdge C5220, a microserver running on an E3-1200 V2. Company officials said that with the new chips, Dell’s microserver can offer almost twice the performance and 50 percent greater density than similar systems based on previous Intel processors.

The microserver space is expected to be a highly competitive one, not only with Intel and rival Advanced Micro Devices driving down the power consumption of their chips, but also as Calxeda, Marvell Technologies and Nvidia look to leverage ARM’s low-power chip designs – now found in most smartphones and tablets – for low-power servers.

Intel’s other Xeon chips are designed to bring greater density capabilities to businesses. The E5-4600 chips are designed for four-socket systems that run such workloads as databases, cloud transactions and HPC, according to Dylan Larson, Intel’s Xeon platform marketing director.

The chips, which offer up to eight cores, also give businesses good reason to make the move from two-socket to four-socket systems, offer 24 percent lower total cost of ownership over four years than comparable two-socket systems, Larson told eWEEK.

Four-socket system

The E5-4600 chips allow for more dense server designs and offer more memory and I/O capabilities while driving up power efficiency, enabling businesses to migrate workloads from two-socket to more cost-effective four-socket systems. A four-socket system running the E5-4600 chips can offer up to twice the performance while lowering acquisition, licensing, power and cooling costs, Larson said.

“Here is a pathway from two-way to four-way servers,” he said.

Four-socket systems are well-suited for such applications as scientific research, financial services and communications infrastructures, and also are attractive in fast-growing regions such as China, Larson said.

Intel is looking to give SMBs a similar upgrade path with its E5-2400 chips, enabling them to move from single-socket to two-socket servers. Two-socket servers with the new chips offer almost three times the performance of previous Intel-based one- and two-socket systems.

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