Intel debuted a new generation of processors for dual-socket servers at the Intel Developer Forum 2013 this week. As the name suggests, the Xeon E5-2600 v2 series, codenamed Ivy Bridge-EP, is the successor of the E5-2600 series. The new generation has more cores, better performance, faster memory access, and new virtualisation features. We've compared the 12-core top-of-the-line Xeon E5-2697 v2 and the energy-efficient Xeon E5-2650L v2 to the previous generation, Sandy Bridge-EP.
This introduction is obviously closely related to the introduction of the new Core i7 Ivy Bridge-E processors for high-end desktops last week. That launch is particularly interesting for the server side of things. First, because the main improvements are to do with the energy consumption. For a personal desktop at home, this obviously isn't as interesting as it is for companies with racks filled with servers running 24/7.
The name Xeon E5-2600 v2 actually is pretty aptly chosen, because the new CPUs are very similar to the previous generation. The new chips use the same Socket 2011 as their predecessors, work on the same platform, comply with existing TDP requirements, and can as such be implemented in existing servers. The only thing that's necessary is a BIOS update. As the architecture is largely the same, exactly the same software will run on the E5-2600 v2 as on the original E5-2600s.
And because no significant changes have been made in the architecture, workloads that run well on existing Xeon E5-2600 systems will work as well or even better on the new versions. That's good news for IT managers, saving them long and costly validation procedures. Intel clearly sees the E5-2600 v2 as a drop-in replacement: the same platform, but more powerful and more efficient. You can read the rest of Intel Xeon E5-2600 v2 preview on Hardware.info.