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 processors use the same Socket 2011, as the current 32nm Intel Xeon E5-1600 and E5-2600 families (Sandy Bridge-EP) processors, so current model servers from your favorite server vendor should be able to use these processors, perhaps with a BIOS update.

In most cases you would not actually want to do a processor upgrade on an existing server for economic reasons, but you could if you wanted to. Having socket and chipset compatibility just means that the server vendors will be able to offer the new processor as soon as they get a supply of them from Intel.

The E5-2600 v2 series is aimed at two-socket servers, and will have at least 18 different “Ivy Bridge-EP” SKUs, ranging from the entry-level E5-2603 v2 up to the twelve-core E5-2697 v2. The 22nm processors have up to 12 physical cores, which allows them to have 24 logical cores with hyper-threading enabled.  The second series, the E5-1600 v2, works only in single-socket systems, and is going to initially have three models, the E5-1620 v2, E5-1650 v2, and E5-1660 v2. Both families will work with the Intel C600 series chipsets, and both use Socket 2011.

The second generation 22nm Intel Xeon E7 family, (which includes the Xeon E7-2800 v2, E7-4800, and E7-8800 v2) is aimed at larger, multi-processor servers, and it will be delayed until at least Q1 2014. Previous reports indicated these Ivy Bridge-EX processors would be available in Q4 2013. These processors will have triple the memory capacity of the current 32nm Westmere-EX processors, and they will require new server models from the server vendors. They will also finally have PCI-E 3.0 support, so overall they will be a huge upgrade from the current Westmere-EX.

Also in Q1 2014, Intel is going to release the 22nm Xeon E5-4600 v2 and E5-2400 v2 processors. The E5-4600 v2 will work in four-socket servers, and they use Socket 2011. The E5-2400 v2 (Ivy Bridge-EN) are for two-socket servers, have up to 10 cores, and will use Socket 1356. These Ivy Bridge-EN processors will NOT a good choice for SQL Server 2012 and SQL Server 2014 OLTP workloads compared to higher performance Ivy Bridge-EP processors.

I really hate to see Intel slip their release schedule like this. I think a big part of why this happened is due to a lack of viable competition from AMD. After all, why should Intel rush to push out new technology when they are absolutely dominant from a performance perspective? They can continue to sell the current processors for a little longer with no real consequences.

Given the apparent delay for the Ivy Bridge-EX, a twelve-core Ivy Bridge-EP processor will be the hot ticket for a lot of people who are looking at new database servers over the next six to nine months. A new two-socket Ivy Bridge-EP system with Windows Server 2012 R2 and SQL Server 2014 will be the way to go in the near future.

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