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 Technical Overview. These processors are socket compatible with the previous Haswell-EP family, so they work with (and are currently available for) existing server models from all of the major server vendors.

If you are going to purchase a new Xeon E5-2600 v4 system (which I think is the best choice for most people), then the model numbers shown in Table 1 are your best choices for SQL Server usage, for each physical core count. The eight-core Xeon E5-2667 v4, the six-core Xeon E5-2643 v4 and the four-core Xeon E5-2637 v4 are the “frequency-optimized” models that would be my preferred choices in most situations for SQL Server usage.

 

Model Cores/L3 Cache Base Clock Turbo Clock Price
Xeon E5-2699 v4 22/55MB 2.20 GHz 3.60 GHz $4,115.00
Xeon E5-2698 v4 20/50MB 2.20 GHz 3.60 GHz $3,226.00
Xeon E5-2697 v4 18/45MB 2.30 GHz 3.60 GHz $2,702.00
Xeon E5-2697A v4 16/40MB 2.60 GHz 3.60 GHz $2,891.00
Xeon E5-2690 v4 14/35MB 2.60 GHz 3.50 GHz $2,090.00
Xeon E5-2687W v4 12/30MB 3.00 GHz 3.50 GHz $2,141.00
Xeon E5-2640 v4 10/25MB 2.40 GHz 3.40 GHz $939.00
Xeon E5-2667 v4 8/25MB 3.20 GHz 3.60 GHz $2,057.00
Xeon E5-2643 v4 6/20MB 3.40 GHz 3.70 GHz $1,552.00
Xeon E5-2637 v4 4/15MB 3.50 GHz 3.70 GHz $996.00

Table 1: Preferred Xeon E5-2600 v4 Family Processors (Broadwell-EP)

 

On June 6, 2016, Intel released the 14nm Xeon E7 v4 Product Family (Broadwell-EX), for four-socket and larger servers. These processors are also socket compatible with the previous Haswell-EX family, so they work with (and are currently available for) existing server models from all of the major server vendors. I have to admit that this quick release of the Xeon E7 v4 took me by surprise, since I was not expecting it until late 2016 or early 2017, based on Intel’s past release history. Typically, there is anywhere from a six to eighteen month delay between the release of a new generation Xeon E5-2600 processor family, and an equivalent generation Xeon E7 processor family.

If you are going to purchase a new Xeon E7 v4 system, then the model numbers shown in Table 2 are your best choices for SQL Server usage, for each physical core count. The eighteen-core Xeon E7-8867 v4, the ten-core Xeon E7-8891 v4 and the four-core Xeon E7-8893 v4 are the “frequency-optimized” models that would be my preferred choices in most situations for SQL Server usage.

 

Model Cores/L3 Cache Base Clock Turbo Clock Price
Xeon E7-8890 v4 24/60MB 2.20 GHz 3.40 GHz $7,174.00
Xeon E7-8880 v4 22/55MB 2.20 GHz 3.30 GHz $5,895.00
Xeon E7-8870 v4 20/50MB 2.10 GHz 3.00 GHz $4,672.00
Xeon E7-8867 v4 18/45MB 2.40 GHz 3.30 GHz $4,672.00
Xeon E7-4850 v4 16/40MB 2.10 GHz 2.80 GHz $3,003.00
Xeon E7-4830 v4 14/35MB 2.00 GHz 2.80 GHz $2,170.00
Xeon E7-8891 v4 10/60MB 2.80 GHz 3.50 GHz $6,841.00
Xeon E7-4809 v4 8/20MB 2.10 GHz 2.10 GHz $1,223.00
Xeon E7-8893 v4 4/60MB 3.20 GHz 3.50 GHz $6,841.00

Table 2: Preferred Xeon E7 v4 Family Processors (Broadwell-EX)

 

On June 20, 2016, Intel released the 14nm Xeon E5-4600 v4 Product Family (Broadwell-EP), for four-socket servers, which was also somewhat of a surprise. To be honest, I am not a big fan of the E5-4600 v4 Family. The Xeon E5 is really meant for two-socket systems, and it does not seem to scale very well in a four-socket system. If you really need the higher total core counts and higher total memory limit that you would get from a Xeon E5-4600 v4 vs. a Xeon E5-2600 v4 system, I think you are better off to make the jump to a Xeon E7 v4 system (which will also get you more RAS features).

All of the Xeon E5-4600 v4 Family processors have relatively low base clock speeds, and the higher core count SKUs are actually quite expensive, basically in the same range as similar core count Xeon E7 v4 processors. If you really want a Xeon E5-4600 v4 system, then the model numbers shown in Table 3 are your best choices for SQL Server usage, for each physical core count. The ten-core Xeon E5-4627 v4 and eight-core Xeon E5-4655 v4 would be my preferred choices in most situations, since they are somewhat “frequency-optimized”, and have lower overall core counts, which will dramatically reduce your SQL Server 2016 licensing costs.

 

Model Cores/L3 Cache Base Clock Turbo Clock Price
Xeon E5-4669 v4 22/55MB 2.20 GHz 3.00 GHz $7,007.00
Xeon E5-4667 v4 18/45MB 2.20 GHz 3.00 GHz $5,729.00
Xeon E5-4660 v4 16/40MB 2.20 GHz 3.00 GHz $4,727.00
Xeon E5-4650 v4 14/35MB 2.20 GHz 2.80 GHz $3,838.00
Xeon E5-4640 v4 12/30MB 2.10 GHz 2.60 GHz $2,837.00
Xeon E5-4627 v4 10/25MB 2.60 GHz 3.20 GHz $2,225.00
Xeon E5-4655 v4 8/30MB 2.50 GHz 3.20 GHz $4,616.00

Table 3: Preferred Xeon E5-4600 v4 Family Processors (Broadwell-EP)

In many situations, you would be much better off to get two, very fast Xeon E5-2600 v4 based two-socket database servers rather than one Xeon E7 v4 based four-socket database server, assuming you can split your workload across two database servers.