A SQL Server Hardware Tidbit a Day – Day 20

For Day 20 of this series, I want to talk about the new processor numbering system for Xeon processors that Intel introduced on April 5, 2011. This new system will be used for the Xeon E3, E5 and E7 family processors. The model numbers for older Xeon processors were unchanged when this new numbering system was introduced.

Figure 1:Model Number Example for the Xeon E5-2690


Processor Name=Brand (Intel® Xeon® processor) + Number (E3- 1 2 35)

Figure 2: New Intel Xeon Processor Numbering System

The first two digits in the model number are the Product Line (E3, E5, or E7). After the Product Line designation, you have a four digit number that tells you more details about the particular processor. The first digit is the “wayness”, which is the number of physical CPUs that are allowed in a “node” (which is a physical server). This first digit can be 1, 2, 4, or 8. The second digit is the socket type, in terms of its physical and electrical characteristics. The last two digits are the processor SKU, with higher numbers generally being higher performance. Finally, you may have an L at the end, which is for energy efficient, low electrical power processors.

The E3 Product Line is for single-processor servers or workstations. The first generation of this line (E3-1200 series) is essentially the same as the desktop Sandy Bridge processors that were released in January 2011. The E5 Product Line is primarily for two-socket servers, with some overlap into the four-socket server space with the E5-4600 Series.

The E7 Product Line (the Westmere-EX) has different models that are meant for two-socket servers, four-socket servers, and eight-socket and above servers. The E7-2800 Series is for two-socket servers, the E7-4800 Series is for four-socket servers, while the E7-8800 Series is for eight-socket and above servers.

Going forward, you will see new releases appending a v2, v3, etc. to the model number to indicate a newer generation processor that uses the same basic model number as an earlier processor.

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