More CPU Competition Coming for Intel

On January 9, 2019, AMD CEO and President Dr. Lisa Su presented a CES 2019 Keynote where she demonstrated (at 1:25:00 in the video) a 7nm, eight core/sixteen thread, 3rd Generation AMD Ryzen “Matisse” desktop processor running the Cinebench R15 Multithreaded (MT) benchmark vs. a 14nm, eight core/sixteen thread Intel Core i9-9900K “Coffee Lake” desktop […]

How to Check if Your Processor Supports Second Level Address Translation (SLAT)

If you want to run Docker for Windows, you will need to be running Windows 10 Professional, Windows 10 Enterprise, Windows 10 Pro for Workstations, or Windows 10 Education Edition. Since Docker for Windows requires Microsoft Hyper-V, you will also need a processor on your host machine that supports second level address translation (SLAT) in […]

New Intel Desktop Processor Families

Intel formally announced its 9th generation Core mainstream desktop processors on October 8, 2018 at its Fall Launch Event in New York. So far, they have announced three members of this family. The prices below are the MSRP prices. Actual street prices are a currently little higher, especially for the Core i9-9900K. Supply is also […]

Checking Your Intel Processor Features Regarding the Meltdown Exploit

By now, you have probably heard plenty about the Spectre and Meltdown exploits that affect many modern processors. The Meltdown exploit (CVE-2017-5754) in particular only affects Intel processors. Microsoft has already patched most of their client and server operating systems to mitigate against Meltdown. Depending on the exact model of Intel processor you are using, […]

Performance Effects of Meltdown and Partial Spectre Fixes on Intel Core i7-7500U Laptop

I have a fairly recent vintage HP Spectre x360-13w023dx laptop (slightly over a year old) that has an Intel Core i7-7500U (Kaby Lake-U) processor, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, and a 512GB Samsung PM961 M.2 NVMe SSD that is running Windows 10 Professional Version 1709. Last night, I installed the Windows 10 January 2018 Security Update […]

Checking Your Meltdown and Spectre Mitigation Status in Windows

As I have previously discussed, there has been an explosion of information and speculation about the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities. Here is the official information about all three vulnerabilities. Spectre CVE-2017-5753 (Bounds Check Bypass) CVE-2017-5715 (Branch Target Injection) Meltdown CVE-2017-5754 (Rogue Data Cache Load) Checking Your Meltdown and Spectre Mitigation Status in Windows Microsoft has […]

AMD Ryzen Threadripper HEDT on August 10, 2017

If you have been thinking about buying/building a new desktop development/testing machine that has enough resources to run multiple concurrent large virtual machines or a large SQL Server workload, you might want to consider an AMD Ryzen Threadripper-based machine. AMD is doing a hard launch of this processor family on August 10, 2017. The two […]

CPU-Z 1.80 is Available

CPU-Z 1.80 was released on July 10, 2017. It adds support for the new Intel Skylake-X and Kabylake-X high-end desktop processors (HEDT). It also adds information about your preferred core(s) in the Clocks dialog on the About tab. In case you are wondering what that means, some of the latest Intel processors have a new […]

New Flagship Xeon E5 and E7 Processors

Intel has recently released two, new “flagship” Xeon processors, one for the E7 v4 product family, and one for the E5 v4 product family. The new Intel Xeon E7-8894 v4 processor has 24 physical cores, and runs at a slightly higher base clock speed of 2.4GHz, compared to the 2.2GHz base clock speed of the […]

Intel Speed Shift Support in Windows Server 2016

If you are gathering evidence to help make the case for a complete data platform upgrade in 2017, you want to find as much information as possible to bolster your argument. This post is meant to assist you in your efforts. By early-mid 2017, Windows Server 2016 will have been GA long enough to convince […]

Intel Xeon E7 Processor Generational Performance Comparison

Intel has a fairly recent document titled Accelerated Operations for Telecom and Financial Services which is also listed under Accelerate OLTP Database Performance with Intel TSX. It describes the “performance” increases seen with the AsiaInfo ADB from moving from 2.8GHz Intel Xeon E7-4890 v2 (Ivy Bridge-EX), to 2.5GHz Intel Xeon E7-8890 v3 (Haswell-EX), and finally […]

More Intel Broadwell Server Processor Families Available

Back on March 31, 2016 (the last day of Q1 2016), Intel released the 14nm Xeon E5-2600 v4 Product Family (Broadwell-EP), which is currently the highest single-threaded performance product family for two-socket servers. You can read about some of the specific enhancements in this family in this document: Intel® Xeon® Processor E5-2600 V4 Product Family […]

Recommended Intel Xeon E5-2600 v4 Processors for SQL Server

Updated March 31, 2016: Today, Intel has released the fourth generation, 14nm Xeon E5-2600 v4 processor family, code-named “Broadwell-EP”. This is a Tick release from Intel, taking the existing Haswell microarchitecture, and shrinking it from 22nm to 14nm. This new family of processors has more physical cores, a larger total shared L3 cache size, and […]

CPU-Z Benchmark Survey

The latest version of the free CPU-Z utility has a quick CPU benchmark test that just takes a couple of minutes to run. As part of a personal project that I am working on (which I think will be very interesting and beneficial to the SQL Server community), I am trying to collect as many […]

Building a Z170 Desktop System with a Core i7-6700K Skylake Processor

Back when I started at SQLskills in May of 2012, I built myself a pretty nice Z77 chipset system with an Intel Core i7-3770K Ivy Bridge processor and 32GB of RAM, running Windows 7 Enterprise Edition. This system uses an ASUS P8Z77-V Deluxe motherboard, with one 512GB OCZ Vertex 4 SSD. It was about the […]

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 […]

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 […]

Intel Xeon E7 v3 Product Family Released

On May 5, 2015, Intel announced the new E7 v3 Product Family, which is also known as the Haswell-EX, which is meant for four and eight-socket servers. This 22nm processor is a Tock release (which means that it is using a new processor microarchitecture compared to the previous 22nm Ivy Bridge-EX). An updated graphic that […]

Balancing Your Available SQL Server Core Licenses Evenly Across NUMA Nodes

One issue I recently ran into with a customer was a case where they were using a new, two-socket server with two Intel Xeon E5-2697 v2 Ivy Bridge-EP processors. This particular 22nm processor has twelve physical cores, plus hyper-threading, so you can have 24 logical cores for one entire physical processor, and 48 logical cores […]

Windows Power Plan Effects on Newer Intel Processors

I recently was working with a customer who had purchased a new Lenovo ThinkServer RD640 with two 22nm Intel Xeon E5-2697 v2 Ivy Bridge-EP processors. This processor was introduced in Q3 of 2013, and it is one generation behind the latest Intel Xeon E5-2600 v3 series processors. This server had a new, default installation of […]

SQL Server 2014 Hardware Analysis Case Study

Imagine that you have been given the go-ahead to upgrade your entire data platform stack from SQL Server 2008 Enterprise Edition to SQL Server 2014 Enterprise Edition. You need to come up with a recommendation for your new database server hardware, looking to maximize performance while controlling your SQL Server 2014 license costs. To help […]

New Intel Data Center SSDs

Intel has announced two new series of their 2.5-inch and 1.8-inch SATA data center solid-state drives. These are the upper-tier DC S3710 Series and mid-level DC S3610 Series. The DC S3710 replaces the previous DC S3700 Series, which was introduced back in late 2012. The high-level specifications for the entire Intel Solid-State Drive Data Center […]

Getting the Best Performance From an Intel DC P3700 Flash Storage Card

I recently had the opportunity to work on a new Dell PowerEdge R720 system that has two, 2TB Intel DC P3700 PCIe Flash Storage Cards installed. This particular card is the largest capacity model of the high-end P3700 series (Intel has lower-end P3600 and P3500 cards in this same family). As with most flash storage, […]

Intel Xeon E5-2600 v3 Product Family and SQL Server

Intel finally announced their latest 22nm Xeon E5 v3 Product Family (Haswell-EP) today, which includes 27 different processor models (SKUs) for both one and two-socket servers. These SKUs go from four-core models, all the way up to eighteen-core models. This is an Intel Tock release, meaning a new microarchitecture, but still using the 22nm manufacturing […]

One Intel Processor Family to Avoid For SQL Server 2012/2014

On January 9, Intel launched the 22nm Intel Xeon E5-2400 v2 Product Family (Ivy Bridge-EN) of processors for two-socket servers. For SQL Server usage, this is not a good processor family to choose for a new server. While these processors are a nice improvement over the older 32nm Intel Xeon E5-2400 Product Family (Sandy Bridge-EN) […]

Affordable Intel Haswell Laptop

As we move towards the end of 2013, 4th generation Intel Core processors are becoming more readily available in new machines at a wider range of price points. Since I know a few people are looking for a new laptop this time of year, I thought I would pass along one pretty affordable possibility that […]

Building an Intel Haswell Desktop System for SQL Server 2012 Development

The 22nm 4th generation Intel Core desktop processors (aka Haswell) have been available for sale for a couple of months now, so I have had some requests to put together a suggested component list for a desktop system that would be suitable for SQL Server 2012 development and testing usage. As you may know, the […]

Updates on Intel Xeon Ivy Bridge Server Processor Launch Schedules

It still looks like the 2nd generation, 22nm Intel Xeon E5-1600 v2 and E5-2600 v2 families (Ivy Bridge-EP), for single and two-socket servers, will launch sometime this quarter. Some sources I have talked to think that Intel may wait until the Intel IDF13 in San Francisco, on September 10-12 to release the Ivy Bridge-EP. These […]

Intel Xeon E5-2600 v2 Series Processors (Ivy Bridge-EP) in Q3 2013

More details about the upcoming 22nm Intel Xeon E5-2600 series processors (aka Ivy Bridge-EP) are starting to leak out. Initially, we will see the single-socket Xeon E5-1600 v2 series and the two-socket Xeon E5-2600 v2 series processors, that share the 22nm Ivy Bridge microarchitecture. They use the same LGA2011 socket as the current 32nm E5-1600 […]

First Intel Haswell Desktop Build

Last Sunday, I was in line at 11AM at the Denver Micro Center (along with a number of other computer geeks) to buy the parts for a new Intel 4th generation Core (aka Haswell) desktop system. This system was destined for my fiancé, Veronica Thomas, as a replacement for a system I built for her […]

The Accidental DBA (Day 1 of 30): Hardware Selection: CPU and Memory Considerations

This month the SQLskills team is presenting a series of blog posts aimed at helping Accidental/Junior DBAs ‘keep the SQL Server lights on’. It’s a little taster to let you know what we cover in our Immersion Event for The Accidental/Junior DBA, which we present several times each year. You can find all the other posts in […]

A SQL Server Hardware Tidbit a Day – Day 28

For Day 28 of this series, we are going to talk about some factors to consider if you are thinking about building a desktop SQL Server 2012 system for development or testing use. I get lots of questions about this subject, and I have been thinking about it some anyway, hence today’s topic. In many […]

A SQL Server Hardware Tidbit a Day – Day 27

For Day 27 of this series, I am going to talk about Power Management and its effect on processor performance. I have written about this subject a couple of times before, here and here. Other people, such as Paul Randal (blog|Twitter) and Brent Ozar (blog|Twitter) have written about this subject here and here. Power Management […]

A SQL Server Hardware Tidbit a Day – Day 26

For Day 26 of this series, I want to talk a little about laptop processor selection (since I get a lot of questions about it).  Many DBAs, Developers, and consultants use laptop computers as their primary workstations for working with SQL Server. Even more than an actual database server, you are pretty much stuck with […]

A SQL Server Hardware Tidbit a Day – Day 24

For Day 24 of this series, I want to talk a little about some things to consider as you make the decision whether to purchase a two-socket database server or a four- socket database server. Traditionally, it was very common to use a four-socket machine for most database server scenarios, while two-socket servers were most […]

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 […]

A SQL Server Hardware Tidbit a Day – Day 18

For Day 18 of this series, I am going to talk about the Intel 910 series PCI-E device that was released back in May of 2012. It is available in 400GB and 800GB capacities. The 400GB model has a suggested retail price about $2000.00 while the 800GB model has a suggested retail price of about […]

A SQL Server Hardware Tidbit a Day – Day 17

For Day 17 of this series, I am going to talk about the Intel DC S3700 series of 6Gbps MLC SATA SSDs. The DC S3700 series is available in 100GB, 200GB, 400GB, and 800GB capacities. The DC S3700 uses 25nm HET-MLC NAND technology, which means that you get higher write endurance than standard MLC consumer […]

A SQL Server Hardware Tidbit a Day – Day 14

For Day 14 of this series, I want to give my current recommended Intel Xeon server processors for different sizes of database servers and different workload types. My basic premise is that for a database server running SQL Server 2008 R2 or earlier, you want the very best processor available for each physical socket in […]

A SQL Server Hardware Tidbit a Day – Day 13

For Day 13 of this series, I want to talk some more about the Intel Tick-Tock Development model and why it is important for the database professional. For the last seven to eight years, Intel has implemented a pretty consistent and predictable processor development and release cycle. A Tock release is a completely new microarchitecture […]

A SQL Server Hardware Tidbit a Day – Day 12

For Day 12 of this series, I want to go through a common hardware upgrade scenario that I have been seeing quite a bit lately. Many people still have relatively ancient database servers (such as a Dell PowerEdge 1950 or 2950, or HP DL380 Gen 5) that are running either 65nm Conroe-based or 45nm Penryn-based […]

A SQL Server Hardware Tidbit a Day – Day 7

For Day 7, I want to talk about one specific Intel processor series that I highly recommend that you do not use for SQL Server 2012 workloads. This processor is the 45nm Intel Xeon 7400 Series, which was released in Q3 of 2008. There were seven specific models in this series, based on the Penryn […]

A SQL Server Hardware Tidbit a Day – Day 6

For Day 6 of this series, I am going to talk about Geekbench. Geekbench is a cross-platform, synthetic benchmark tool from Primate Labs. It provides a comprehensive set of benchmarks designed to quickly and accurately measure processor and memory performance. There are 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Geekbench, but in tryout mode you can only […]

A SQL Server Hardware Tidbit a Day – Day 4

Since 2006, Intel has adopted what they call a Tick-Tock strategy for developing and releasing new processor models. Every two years, they introduce a new processor family, incorporating a new microarchitecture; this is the Tock release. One year after the Tock release, they introduce a new processor family that uses the same microarchitecture as the […]

A SQL Server Hardware Tidbit a Day – Day 3

Today, I am going to talk about the existing Intel Westmere-EX processor family. Instead of this processor series being called the Intel Xeon 7600 series (as was originally expected by some), it is called the Intel Xeon E7 series, with separate model numbers for two socket, four socket and eight socket servers. This includes the […]

A SQL Server Hardware Tidbit a Day – Day 2

For Day 2 of this blog series, I am going to talk about some of the upcoming Intel Xeon processors that we can look forward to seeing over the next six to twelve months. The two-socket Intel Xeon E5-2600 v2 family (Ivy Bridge-EP) is due to be released in Q3 of 2013. They will have […]

A SQL Server Hardware Tidbit a Day – Day 1

Well, I apparently have not learned my lesson yet, after I did a month long series called “A DMV a Day” back in 2010 and and then another series called A SQL Server Hardware Nugget a Day back in 2011, where I wrote a blog post every day during the month of April, since I […]

What is the Difference Between Physical Sockets, Physical Cores, and Logical Cores?

I witnessed an interesting conversation on Twitter today where someone was talking about how he uses the terms sockets and cores interchangeably, since everyone else does, or words to that effect. This made me think that there may still be some confusion about how these terms are used and what they mean in relation to […]

CPUID PerfMonitor 2 Utility

CPUID has released a new processor performance and monitoring tool called PerfMonitor 2, which allows you to track four processor-related counters chosen from a processor-specific list. It lets you see things like overall CPU temperature, package and core temperatures, package power usage, L2 and L3 cache hit ratios to name just a few of the […]

Building a Larger Capacity SQL Server 2012 Workstation

I have received quite a bit of positive feedback about my recent post, Building a Workstation for SQL Server 2012 Development and Testing, so I thought I would write a similar post that goes into some detail about how to select components to build a larger capacity workstation or test server. This is only needed […]

Intel Flash Storage Products for SQL Server

Intel has recently introduced a couple of flash-based storage products that are aimed at the Enterprise and server market. These are both quite price competitive with some of the other storage products in the marketplace. The first is the Intel 910 series that was released back in May of 2012. It is a PCI-E device […]

Building a Workstation for SQL Server 2012 Development and Testing

With the current crop of high-performance and very affordable desktop computer components, it is not very difficult to assemble an extremely high performance workstation for SQL Server 2012 development and testing at a very reasonable cost. Depending on how much of a purist you are and what your available budget is, you can take several […]

Two New TPC-E Submissions for SQL Server 2012

Just when I was not looking, two new official TPC-E results have been posted in the last week. IBM has a 3218.46 TPC-E score for an IBM System x3850 X5 that has four Intel Xeon E7-4870 processors, while HP has an 1881.76 TPC-E score for an HP ProLiant DL380p Gen8 system with two Intel Xeon […]

Deciding What Processor to Choose for SQL Server 2012

If you have read my SQL Server Hardware book, watched my Understanding Server Hardware course on Pluralsight or ever heard me speak at a conference, you are probably aware of my very strong advocacy for modern, two-socket Intel-based database servers for many database server workloads. I make this argument because of the excellent single-threaded processor […]

Two Database Server Models Compared

If you have read my SQL Server Hardware book, or ever heard me do one of my hardware presentations, you have probably heard my exhortations to “Never let anyone talk you into reusing old hardware for a new version of SQL Server”.  This is especially true with SQL Server 2012 Enterprise Edition and its core-based […]

Dell 12th Generation Rack Mounted Server Comparison

I think it is useful to examine the various 12th generation, rack-mounted server models available from Dell, comparing them from a SQL Server perspective. There are currently seven models in this line, ranging from an entry-level, single-socket server to a four-socket server. All of these servers use the Intel Xeon E5 processor (Sandy Bridge), but […]

Save Money on SQL Server 2012 Licensing Costs

I recently had a chance to record a 33 minute podcast interview on RunAs Radio #281 with Richard Campbell, where I talked about the licensing changes in SQL Server 2012 and how to select your new hardware to minimize your SQL Server 2012 licensing costs. I also talked about Intel versus AMD processors, and talked […]

Hardware 101 Presentation in Bellevue, WA – August 14, 2012

I recently had the opportunity to give a one hour presentation called Hardware 101: An Introduction to Database Hardware during the evening, after a full day of SQLskills Immersion Event 2 (IE2) training. Even though it was an evening event, after almost 10 hours of intense training that day, nearly all of the students stayed […]

Recommended Intel Processors For SQL Server 2012 OLTP Workloads

If you are in the process of evaluating and selecting the components for a new database server to run an OLTP workload on SQL Server 2012 Enterprise Edition, you have several initial choices that you have to make as a part of the decision process. First you have to decide whether you want to go […]