The new Intel Xeon processor E5 family, based on the Sandy Bridge microarchitecture, will change how well software applications run on AdvancedTCA platforms. It supports innovative networking through 10 gigabit Ethernet, and its features allow for advanced virtualization and cloud computing techniques. Let’s take a look under the hood.
The E5-2600 chips consist of up to eight cores, each running up to 55 percent faster than its Xeon 5600 predecessor. It can, therefore, deliver much higher server performance to the enterprise market. Furthermore, new enterprise servers can support up to 32 GB dual in-line memory modules (DIMMs) so memory capacity can increase from 288 GB to 768 GB using 24 slots. E5-based AdvancedTCA computes blades with more limited board real estate are expected to support up to 256 GB in 16 VLP RDIMM slots at launch. This represents a 40% increase over prior blades.
Greater power efficiency is another key benefit. The E5 family provides up to a 70% performance gain per watt over previous generation CPUs. Communications OEMs can develop power-efficient dual-processor blades for service providers that fully meet or beat AdvancedTCA power specifications.
But the real game-changer lies in the E5-2600’s integrated I/O, which allows designers to reduce latency significantly and increase bandwidth. AdvancedTCA’s 40G fabric has been backplane-ready since 2010 in anticipation of an updated PICMG specification release. Since then, solution providers have sought ways to eliminate bottlenecks and utilize as much of the fabric as possible. Now that Intel has integrated the new PCI-Express 3.0 with 40 lanes aboard each PCI-Express processor, the QuickPath Interconnect eliminates the bottlenecks, increases throughput, and cuts I/O latency by up to 30%. And a dual CPU configuration offers 80 lanes which provide 200% more throughput than the previous generation.
The overall result is much higher I/O throughput. New AdvancedTCA blades will now be able to deliver more than 10 Gb/s per node. This is a critical milestone for wireless video applications that service providers are so hungry to launch. Greater overall performance and higher performance per watt are significant by themselves, but having enough I/O capacity to match the processor capabilities makes for even greater advances in application throughput.