Intel Corporation continued the transition to the company’s Nehalem chip design with the launch of the Intel Xeon 7500 processor series. In less than 90 days, Intel has introduced all-new 2010 PC, laptop and server processors that increase energy efficiency and computing speed and include a multitude of new features that make computers more intelligent, flexible and reliable.
Expandable to include from two to 256 chips per server, the new Intel Xeon processors have an average performance three times that of Intel’s existing Xeon 7400 series on common, leading enterprise benchmarks and come equipped with more than 20 new reliability features.
The combined scalable performance, advanced reliability and total cost of ownership advantages of the Xeon 7500 series will further accelerate the shift from proprietary systems to industry-standard Intel processor-based servers. These new capabilities enable IT managers to consolidate up to 20 older single-core four-chip servers onto a single server using Intel Xeon 7500 series processors, while maintaining the same level of performance. In doing so, they could also see up to a 92 percent estimated reduction in energy costs and a return on their investment estimated within one year due to reductions in power, cooling and licensing costs.
“The Xeon 7500 brings mission critical capabilities to the mainstream by delivering the most significant leap in performance, scalability and reliability ever seen from Intel,” said Kirk Skaugen, vice president of the Intel architecture group and general manager of Intel’s data centre group. “This combination will help users push to new levels of productivity and accelerate the industry’s migration away from proprietary architectures. We are democratising high-end computing.”
Mission-critical workloads run by customers that simply cannot afford unscheduled downtime such as hospitals or stock exchanges can take advantage of more than 20 new features in reliability, availability and serviceability (RAS). These reliability capabilities are designed to improve the protection of data integrity, increase availability and minimise planned downtime.
For example, this is the first Xeon processor to possess Machine Check Architecture (MCA) Recovery, a feature that allows the silicon to work with the operating system and virtual machine manager to recover from otherwise fatal system errors, a mechanism until now found only in the company's Intel Itanium processor family and RISC processors.
The Intel Xeon processor 7500 series offers scalability through modular building blocks enabled by Intel QuickPath Technology (QPI) interconnect. With QPI, cost-effective and highly scalable eight-processor servers can be built that don’t require specialised third-party node controller chips to “glue” the system together. Intel is also working with system vendors to deliver ultra-scale systems with 16 processors for the enterprise, and up to 256 processors and support for 16 terabytes (one terabyte is equal to 1,000 gigabytes) of memory for high-performance computing “super nodes”, running bandwidth-demanding applications such as financial analysis, numerical weather predictions and genome sequencing.
The Intel Xeon processor 7500 series represents the largest performance leap in Xeon family history, with the chip being an average three times faster across a range of benchmarks.
The new processor series also meets the growing trend of IT organisations virtualising large mission-critical workloads for applications such as Enterprise Resource Planning. With up to eight times the memory bandwidth of the Intel Xeon processor 7400 series and four times the memory capacity with 16 memory slots per processor, the Xeon 7500 series can support one terabyte of memory in a four-socket platform. Intel Virtualisation Technologies, which include new I/O virtualisation capabilities and Intel Virtualisation Technology (VT) FlexMigration, enables live VM migration across all Intel Core microarchitecture-based platforms. This ensures investment protection for administrators seeking to use pools of virtualised systems to facilitate failover, disaster recovery, load balancing and optimal server maintenance and downtime.
The Intel Xeon processor 7500 series supports up to eight integrated cores and 16 threads, and can scale up to 32 cores and 64 threads per four-chip platform or 64 cores and 128 threads per eight-chip platform. It is available with frequencies up to 2.66 GHz and 24 MB of Intel Smart Cache memory, four Intel QPI links and Intel Turbo Boost technology. Thermal Design Point (TDP) power levels range from 95 watts to 130 watts.
The Intel Xeon processor X7560, with eight cores and 24MB cache size, is built for highly parallel, data demanding and mission-critical workloads, whereas the Intel Xeon processor X7542 is a frequency-optimised six-core option at 2.66 GHz targeted for super node high-performance computing applications in science and financial services.
Enterprise software vendors expected to support the high-end features of Intel Xeon processor 7500-based platforms, include Citrix, IBM, Microsoft, Novell, Oracle, Red Hat, SAP AG and VMware. System manufacturers were expected to announce systems based on the Intel Xeon processor 7500/6500 processor starting today.