Intel (finally) uncages Nehalem-EX beast
Like Itanium. But you might actually use it
Intel's switch to the Nehalem architecture was finally completed Tuesday with the launch of the Nehalem-EX Xeon 6500 and 7500 processors, the last of the Core, Xeon, and Itanium chips to get the Quick Path Interconnect and a slew of features that make Intel chips compete head-to-head with alternatives from Advanced Micro Devices. The price war at the midrange and high-end of the x64 market can now get underway, while the all-out, total price war awaits the debut of AMD's Opteron 6100 processors in the second quarter.
Since the summer of 2008. Intel has been previewing its top-end, eight-core Nehalem-EX beast, which we now know as the Xeon X7560. As it has done with prior generations of Xeons, the Nehalem-EX line is not comprised of one or two chips, but a mix of chips with different features (clock speed, cache memory, HyperThreading, and Turbo Boost) dialed up and down to give customers chips tuned for specific workloads.
While last year's Nehalem-EP Xeon 5500 and this year's Westmere-EP Xeon 5600 processors are aimed at workstations or servers with two sockets, with the Nehalem-EX lineup, Intel has broadened the definition of its Expandable Server (this is apparently what EX is short for, with EP is supposed to be an abbreviation for Efficient Performance) to include two-socket machines as well as the four-socket and larger machines that prior generations of Xeon MP processors were designed for.
Intel, no doubt, would have preferred to keep the Xeon DP and Xeon MP product lines more distinct, and charged a hefty premium for machines that needed expanded processor sockets or memory capability. But server makers and their customers were having none of that. With the rapid adoption of server virtualization and the need for larger memory footprints even for two-socket boxes, the Nehalem-EX processors have been tweaked so they can be used to support very fat memory configurations on even two-socket workhorse servers. This will eat into the volume Xeon 5500 and 5600 market, to be sure, but it is better to sell a Xeon 6500 or 7500 server in a two-socket box than have a customer dump Intel for AMD.
The Xeon 6500 and 7500 processors will also blur some lines between Xeon processors and the former "flagship" Itanium processors, which were supposed to take over the desktop and server arena starting a decade ago, but have been relegated mostly to high-end servers from HP running HP-UX, NonStop, and OpenVMS at this point in their history. The Itaniums were distinct in many ways from the Xeons, but the main distinction they held was better reliability, availability, and serviceability (RAS) features than Xeons had, and on par with mainframe, RISC, and other proprietary architectures from days done by.
The eight-core Nehalem-EX Xeon 7500 beast
But at the launch event today in San Francisco, Kirk Skaugen, vice president of the Intel Architecture Group and general manager of its Data Center Group, made no bones about the fact that the Nehalem-EX processors and their related Boxboro chipset that is shared with the Itanium 9300 processors launched in early February have common RAS features.
The new chip, explained Skaugen, has 20 new RAS features, including extended page tables and virtual I/O capabilities as well as a function that is in mainframes, RISC iron, and Itaniums called machine check architecture recovery, which allows a server to have a double-bit error in main memory and cope with it without halting the system. With Windows, Solaris, and Linux supporting these RAS features, as well as VMware's ESX Server hypervisor, this makes servers based on the Xeon 7500s just as suitable a replacement for proprietary midrange and mainframe platforms and RISC/Unix servers as the formerly beloved Itaniums.
Ah, the mainframe guy still trying to justify his existence!
It is the same as the TCP/IP principle - you know that the IP layer will have errors, so you compensate for them in the TCP layer. You know a 'pc' will not be resilient, so you cluster/grid/RAC/virtual farm 2 or more of them to compensate.
So you get the similar performance for an order of magnitude reduction in cost.
sigh again again
Again your post is again full of various strange statements so it is kind of hard to know where to begin.
First on the spec_int part.
Well I'd rather wait with the SPEC_INT comparisons, Intel is reporting base numbers only. Which makes it kind of an invalid comparison, cause the specint numbers for Nehalem-EX could be significant better. So we'll just wait and see those ones.
Now what caught my eye is these benchmarks:
Fujitsu PRIMEQUEST* 1800E 64 cores 8 sockets -> 3,321,826 BOBS/
IBM System x* 3850 X5 32 cores 4 sockets -> 2,012,730 BOBS.
This you have to compare to
IBM Power 750 Express 32 cores 4 sockets -> 2,478,929 BOBS
Which would mean that a 3.0 GHz power 750 would be faster, than the x3850. Now as for price then a half filled x3850 costs half that of a half filled power 750.
And SAP 2 Tier.
Fujitsu PRIMEQUEST* 1800E 64 cores 8 sockets -> 16.000 users.
IBM System x* 3850 X5 32 cores 4 sockets -> 10.450 users
This you have to compare to
IBM Power 750 Express 32 cores 4 sockets -> 15.600 users
So to match POWER7 you need a big boy 12U PrimeQuest 1800E, Now I don't have the price of that box, but other PrimeQuest boxes I have seen are in the same price range as a power 780.
But AC's comments on RAS features on Nehalem EX are relevant. These are the same reasons why people buy SD/MX000 and POWER 7XX boxes.
Again you get what you pay for.
Just admit it, lowest clocked POWER7 is as fast as the highest clocked Nehalem-EX and when the number of sockets grow.. then POWER7 is a sure winner.
And I don't know where you get your 256 socket x86 Solaris boxes from.. Well.. Sure SGI makes some but it's not like they support Solaris on that machine. Sure compile it yourself.. if Oracle hasn't cut support for something you need. As they are doing on other platforms right now.
And MC based boxes.. lets see some numbers rather than your mad ramblings.
$3,157 for an 8-core 1.86Ghz 95W chip from Intel for 4 socket systems
$1,165 for a 12-core 2.2Ghz 80W chip from AMD for 4 socket systems