Feeds

Intel sneak peeks Westmere EP server silicon

Four and six cores, Turbo Boost, AES

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

With IBM and Intel gearing up the high-end Power7 and "Tukwila" Itanium launches for next Monday, Intel's preview of its "Westmere-EP" processors for servers and workstations and a slew of research projects was always going to get lost in the shuffle.

The preview is set for Monday as the International Solid State Circuits Conference kicks off in San Francisco. But in an apparent effort to prevent the preview from being lost amidst all the talk of the Power7, Intel gave the press a preview pre-brief this morning, showing off the papers it plans to present at the conference.

Chip makers will be chip makers.

Separate from the conference, Intel is also launching the long-overdue quad-core Tukwila Itanium. But that is a separate story, which you can read all about here.

The Westmere-EP chips are kickers to last year's quad-core Nehalem-EP Xeon 5500 processors, which were launched at the end of March 2009 and which have very much helped keep the server business staggering along, somewhat bewildered but not falling completely down, throughout last year. With a shrink to the second generation of Intel's high-k metal gate 32 nanometer wafer baking processes from the 45 nanometer tech used to make the Xeon 5500s, it wasn't hard to guess that Intel would be adding some more cores to or cranking the clocks on the Westmere-EPs.

As it turns out, and as you no doubt figured out because there is a speed limit on clock speeds enforced by the Thermal Police these days, Intel is going to be adding more cores and more on chip cache to the Westmere-EP chips.

Specifically, the Westmere-EP is using the extra transistor budget that the slide from 45 to 32 nanometer processes allows to add two more cores to the processor and to boost the on-chip L3 cache by 50 per cent to 12 MB per chip. Nasser Kurd, senior principle engineer at Intel's Architecture Group confirmed to El Reg that Intel will deliver four-core variants of these chips. Nasser also confirmed that the Westmere-EP chips will support Turbo Boost, which allows for the clock speed of the processor cores to be jacked up a bit as other elements of the chip are quiesced.

Generally speaking, the Westmere-EPs will have the same clock speed range and the same thermal envelopes as the existing Xeon 5500s, but Intel is has not yet announced specific SKUs and won't until the middle of March or so when these new chips are formally launched. The Westmere-EPs will plug into the same sockets and use the same chipsets and DDR3 main memory as the Xeon 5500s and have three memory channels per socket like them as well.

Intel Westmere EP 6 Core

The 32 nanometer, six core Westmere-EP chip

The six-core Westmere-EP chip has 1.17 billion transistors and is 240 square millimeters in size. As you can see from the pretty picture above, it is implemented in two halves of three cores each. The core regions have their own clock speed and power supply, and with the tweaks to the Westmere design the L3 cache and memory controller regions - what Intel calls the "uncore" areas - get their own, separate power gating.

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Next page: Uncore power gating

More from The Register

next story
Docker's app containers are coming to Windows Server, says Microsoft
MS chases app deployment speeds already enjoyed by Linux devs
Intel, Cisco and co reveal PLANS to keep tabs on WORLD'S MACHINES
Connecting everything to everything... Er, good idea?
SDI wars: WTF is software defined infrastructure?
This time we play for ALL the marbles
'Urika': Cray unveils new 1,500-core big data crunching monster
6TB of DRAM, 38TB of SSD flash and 120TB of disk storage
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
Windows 10: Forget Cloudobile, put Security and Privacy First
But - dammit - It would be insane to say 'don't collect, because NSA'
Oracle hires former SAP exec for cloudy push
'We know Larry said cloud was gibberish, and insane, and idiotic, but...'
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.