New Name, More Flexibility

Intel is switching up it’s long standing Xeon processor family with a new naming scheme and lineup of server grade CPU’s. The new lineup is said to be the new foundation for secure, agile, and multi-cloud data centers. In the past, the Intel Xeon family of processors were ordered from the lowest to highest tiers by using a number scheme ranging from 3, 5, and 7 respectively. From now on, the new Intel Xeon processor series will be known as the Intel Xeon Processor Scalable Family.

The new branding from Intel does more than signify an update to the latest Skylake architecture, it also adds more CPU variations to the lineup to ensure more flexibility in terms of applications and price points to help accommodate customers with specific use cases or requirements. Each CPU is categorized in different levels signified by a type of metal. From Bronze to Platinum, each level offers different features instead of a simple core count increase as was commonplace in the E, EP, and EX series branding platform. These features range from integrated options including Ethernet, Intel Omni-Path, and quick accelerators which offer 2x the compression performance, to more specific support for new technologies like Intel’s new Optane SSDs, as well as a multitude of workload optimized frameworks.

The Upgrade to Skylake-SP

While the new branding and added CPU options including new features is exciting. It’s important to remember that there is still a performance upgrade to be had, thanks to the move to the Skylake Scalable Performance (SP) architecture. Intel Skylake SP is the code name for Intel’s series of server multiprocessors based on the Skylake microarchitecture.

The highest available core count, within the new series, peaks at a massive 28 cores with new on die interconnects. This means scalability and performance are both positively affected. Overall performance gains compared to the Broadwell microarchitecture equates to around 50%, while each individual core has a 20% increase in performance. In regards to other system components, there is a 50% or more increase in memory bandwidth, alongside a 50% increase in PCIe bandwidth.

To help our readers with the transition from previous the Intel Xeon generation to the new Intel Xeon Processor Scalable Family, we created a partial conversion listing below:

Broadwell CPU
Clock Speed (GHz)
Core Count
Skylake CPU
Tier
Clock Speed (GHz)
Core Count
N/A N/A N/A 8180 Platinum 28 2.5
E5-2699A v4 2.4 22 8164 Platinum 26 2
N/A N/A N/A 6154 Gold 18 3
E5-2698 v4 2.2 20 6152 Gold 22 2.1
E5-2660 v4 2 14 5120 Gold 14 N/A
E5-2650 v4 2.2 12 5118 Gold 12 N/A
E5-2640 v4 2.4 10 4116 Silver 12 N/A
E5-2630 v4 2.2 10 4114 Silver 10 N/A
E5-2609 v4 1.7 8 3106 Bronze 8 N/A
E5-2603 v4 1.7 6 3104 Bronze 6 N/A
Re-Architecting the Future for Scalability

Intel understands that data center technology must evolve to address new customer requirements for performance, security, and agility. By re-architecting and unifying the Intel Xeon Processor Family for scalabilty, they are hoping to provide easy-to-use solutions that maximizes platform capabilities.

On top of all the new features that help add performance and compatibility with the newest technologies, the CPU architecture itself has not been forgone. The Skylake-SP architecture boosts nearly double overall performance than the previous Broadwell architecture to offer a truly special CPU lineup. With more server grade processors being offered to a broader range of users than ever before, Intel looks poised to offer one of its biggest platform advancements yet.