Interesting Upcoming Intel Processors

There has been quite a bit of leaked news and rumors about several future Intel processor families over the past couple of weeks, from what I consider to be pretty reliable sources. I’ll start out with the desktop and mobile processors and then move to the server processors.

Right now, it is a little unclear when the 14nm Intel Broadwell desktop processors will be released. These are a Tick release, built on the current Haswell microarchitecture, that was originally supposed to come out in late 2014. There were stories of early yield problems with the 14nm manufacturing process that caused Intel to delay the release in the desktop space. Low-power, mobile Broadwell processors have been available for several months now. The Core i7 Broadwell-U was released in Q1 of 2015, and these are typically used in high-end Ultrabooks, even through they only have two physical cores (plus hyperthreading).

My guess is that we might see higher power, mobile Broadwell-H and desktop Broadwell-S processors in the June-July 2015 timeframe. These will be compatible with the existing desktop LGA1150 socket and Z97 chipset motherboards that Haswell and Haswell Refresh processors used. The rumored models include the Core i7-5775C and Core i5-5675C. Personally, I plan on skipping Broadwell on the desktop, and waiting for Skylake.

Also in the mobile and desktop space (which is a useful preview of upcoming server processor families), there is news of the upcoming 14nm Skylake family being released in the August-September 2015 timeframe. Skylake is a Tock release (meaning a new microarchitecture) that will require a new LGA-1151 socket and a new Z170 chipset for enthusiast desktop machines. Supposedly, the unlocked enthusiast Skylake-S desktop processors (Core i7-6700K and Core i5-6600K) will be released sometime in August 2015. These are supposed to have at least 10% better performance than the current Haswell Refresh “Devil’s Canyon” processors in that same segment (Core i7-4790K and Core i5-4690K), even though the new processors will have lower power consumption and slightly lower clock speeds.

The mainstream Skylake-H for laptops is due for release in September of 2015, so if you are thinking about a new laptop, you might want to wait a few months. I definitely plan on building at least one Skylake-S desktop, pretty much as soon as they are available.

In the server processor space, there is a lot of recent new information. Back on May 5, 2015, Intel announced the Xeon E7 v3 family (Haswell-EX) that I talked about here. Next out of the gate will be the Xeon E5-4600 v3 family (Haswell-EP for four-socket servers), probably in Q4 2015, which I don’t think will be a good choice for SQL Server usage. This is because of the relatively poor scaling that I have seen in benchmark results for the earlier E5-4600 family processors. If you need to have a four-socket database server, a modern Xeon E7 v3 is a much better choice.

A more interesting introduction will be the 14nm Xeon E5-2600 v4 family (Broadwell-EP for two-socket servers), which will probably show up in Q1 or Q2 of 2016. This will be a Tick release, building on the Haswell microarchitecture that will have up to 22 physical cores and DDR4 2400 support. This processor should work in existing model servers such as the Dell PowerEdge R730.

Later in 2016, we should see the 14nm Xeon E7-4800/8800 v4 family (Broadwell-EX for four and eight-socket servers) that will have up to 24 physical cores.

Finally, in 2017, we should see a new 14nm Skylake server CPU that may merge the E5 and E7 lines into a single family, with up to 28 physical cores that will be part of the Purley platform which is detailed here and in Figure 1 below.

As these new processor families are released, with ever higher physical core counts, I really hope that Intel continues to have lower core count, “frequency-optimized” SKUs, with higher clock speeds and much lower SQL Server license costs.


Figure 1: Intel Server Platform Roadmap

Presenting Hardware 201 for the Denver SSUG

I did a live presentation at the May 21, 2015 meeting of the Denver SQL Server User’s Group, which was held at the newly remodeled Microsoft office in the Denver Tech Center.

Here is the abstract for my presentation:

Hardware 201: Selecting and Sizing Database Hardware for OLTP Performance

The foundation of database performance is the underlying server hardware and storage subsystem. Even the best designed and optimized database application can be crippled by an inadequate hardware and storage infrastructure. Recent advances in new processors and chipsets, along with improvements in magnetic and SSD storage have dramatically changed the evaluation and selection process compared to the past. Many database professionals struggle to keep up with new technology and often simply let someone else make their hardware selection and sizing decisions. Unfortunately, the DBA usually gets the blame for any performance issues that crop up later. Don’t let this happen to you! This session covers current and upcoming hardware from Intel and gives you the tools and resources to make better hardware selection decisions to support SQL Server OLTP workloads.

Here is a link to the PDF version of my presentation.

I was actually a last-minute substitution speaker for this meeting, and I was happy that I could help!

We actually did get a big turnout for the event. The Denver SSUG does a good job with their meetings, and they are a lot of fun. It is always a good idea to try to attend your local user’s group meetings, since you are likely to learn something and it is a very good opportunity to network.

If you are a SQL Server UG organizer, you might be interested in knowing that SQLskills has a number of speakers that regularly do remote presentations for user groups around the world. If you are interested in having one of us speak remotely at your event, please drop an e-mail to

SQL Server Diagnostic Information Queries for May 2015

I revised a number of the queries this month in just the SQL Server 2012 and 2014 versions of the script.  As usual, the main enhancements are additional comments and documentation about the queries, including more information about how to interpret the results, including some more links to relevant blog post articles. 

Since SQL Server 2008 R2 and older are out of Mainstream support from Microsoft (and because fewer of my customers are using these old versions of SQL Server), I am not going to be updating the scripts for these older versions of SQL Server every single month going forward.  I started this policy last month, and so far, I have not heard many complaints.

Rather than having a separate blog post for each version, I have just put the links for all five major versions in this single post. There are two separate links for each version. The first one on the top left is the actual diagnostic query script, and the one below on the right is the matching blank results spreadsheet, with labeled tabs. 

Here are links to the latest versions of these queries for SQL Server 2014 and 2012:

SQL Server 2014 Diagnostic Information Queries (May 2015)

SQL Server 2014 Blank Results

SQL Server 2012 Diagnostic Information Queries (May 2015)

SQL Server 2012 Blank Results


Here are links to the most recent versions of these scripts for SQL Server 2008 R2 and older:

SQL Server 2008 R2 Diagnostic Information Queries

SQL Server 2008 R2 Blank Results

SQL Server 2008 Diagnostic Information Queries

SQL Server 2008 Blank Results

SQL Server 2005 Diagnostic Information Queries

SQL Server 2005 Blank Results

The basic instructions for using these queries is that you should run each query in the set, one at a time (after reading the directions for that query). It is not really a good idea to simply run the entire batch in one shot, especially the first time you run these queries on a particular server, since some of these queries can take some time to run, depending on your workload and hardware. I also think it is very helpful to run each query, look at the results (and my comments on how to interpret the results) and think about the emerging picture of what is happening on your server as you go through the complete set. I have some comments in the script on how to interpret the results after each query.

You need to click on the top left square of the results grid in SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) to select all of the results, and then right-click and select “Copy with Headers” to copy all of the results, including the column headers to the Windows clipboard. Then you paste the results into the matching tab in the blank results spreadsheet.

About half of the queries are instance specific and about half are database specific, so you will want to make sure you are connected to a database that you are concerned about instead of the master system database. Running the database-specific queries while being connected to the master database is a very common mistake that I see people making when they run these queries.

Note: These queries are stored on Dropbox. I occasionally get reports that the links to the queries and blank results spreadsheets do not work, which is most likely because Dropbox is blocked wherever people are trying to connect.

I also occasionally get reports that some of the queries simply don’t work. This usually turns out to be an issue where people have some of their user databases in 80 compatibility mode, which breaks many DMV queries, or that someone is running an incorrect version of the script for their version of SQL Server.

It is very important that you are running the correct version of the script that matches the major version of SQL Server that you are running. There is an initial query in each script that tries to confirm that you are using the correct version of the script for your version of SQL Server. If you are not using the correct version of these queries for your version of SQL Server, some of the queries are not going to work correctly.

If you want to understand how to better run and interpret these queries, you should consider listening to my three latest Pluralsight courses, which are SQL Server 2014 DMV Diagnostic Queries – Part 1SQL Server 2014 DMV Diagnostic Queries – Part 2 and SQL Server 2014 DMV Diagnostic Queries – Part 3. All three of these courses are pretty short and to the point, at 67, 77, and 68 minutes respectively. Listening to these three courses is really the best way to thank me for maintaining and improving these scripts…

Please let me know what you think of these queries, and whether you have any suggestions for improvements. Thanks!