Roundup: New Intel Xeon 5600 Processors

This week Intel (INTC) launched the Xeon 5600 series processor, blending security, performance and energy efficiency that the company says can significantly improve the economics of data center operations.

John Rath

March 18, 2010

3 Min Read
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Boyd Davis, director of marketing Of Intel's Data Center Group, holds up an Intel Xeon 5600 processor


On Tuesday Intel (INTC) launched the Xeon 5600 series processor, blending security, performance and energy efficiency that the company says can significantly improve the economics of data center operations. Intel says one 5600 processor can replace 15 single-core servers, deliver 60 percent better performance than the Xeon 5500 and achieve a return on investment in as little as five months.

The introduction of the 5600 marks the next step in the transition to the Intel 32-nanometer processors, formerly code-named Westmere. The 32nm logic technology uses Intel's second generation high-k metal gate transistors to increase speed and decrease energy consumption. Processors within the Xeon 5600 family range from a four core L5609 at 1.8GHz all the way up to a six core X5680 running a 3.33GHz.  All chips have 12MB of L3 cache regardless of core count.

"The performance of the Intel Xeon processor 5600 series is so compelling that it’s absolutely justifiable immediately in terms of ROI, to simply replace Legacy service, a whole rack of servers, or whatever it happens to be with a single platform," said Simon Crosby, CTO, Data Center & Cloud, Citrix Systems said. "We did it ourselves for our own IT workloads and reduced 264 servers to 16 and in the process got high availability and agility as a result."

Two trends tied to the economic cycle may boost interest in the 5600. Corporate cost-cutting has prompted many companies to postpone major purchases, as Intel notes that "80% of the sever install base is up for refresh." Enterprises that are spending on IT have focused on investments that can bring savings through improved efficiency. The 5600 offers savings opportunities on several fronts: either by keeping the same CPU power but gaining up to 40% more performance per watt, or by lowering power by 30% while retaining the same performance as a 5500 series chip.

The 5600 series processors also deliver two new security features - Intel  Advanced Encryption Standard New Instructions (AES-NI) and Intel Trusted Execution Technology (TXT). These new features enable faster encryption and decryption performance for more secure transactions and virtualized environments.  Intel TXT will provide enhanced virtualization security through hardware-based resistance to malicious software attacks at launch.

As most of the major hardware vendors line up to offer the new chips, Intel boasts 12 new world records for two-socket servers and workstations. Here are some of the related vendor announcements and stories about the new 5600 line of processors:

  • SGI announces immediate availability of Intel Xeon Processor 5600 series.  The new processor will be available across the entire scale-out server lineup, and boast increased performance, core density and power efficiency up to 60 percent.

  • Dell refreshes its PowerEdge server portfolio.  Dell introduced nine PowerEdge blade, rack-mount and tower servers and three Dell Precision tower workstations updated with the new Intel Xeon 5600 series processors.

  • Hewlett Packard (HPQ) refreshes the ProLiant line.  HP announced it has updated its ProLiant G6 portfolio of tower, rack-mount , blade and scale-out servers with the newest processors from Intel, the 5600 series.

  • ZT Systems announces new server solutions.  ZT Systems announced the ZT Systems 1250 Ri Series 1U data center server featuring the powerful new Intel Xeon Processor 5600 series. The 1250Ri is the first of several server platforms that will support the new processor and provide ZT's custom integration and delivery capabilities for precision-fit solutions to the unique technical and business requirements of individual data centers.

  • Supercomputer provider Cray Inc. announced that its Cray CX1 line of deskside supercomputers will now ship with the Intel Xeon processor 5600 series.

  • Super Micro Computer (SMCI) announced that it has launched a complete, optimized selection of server, workstation and blade solutions to support the new generation Intel Xeon Processor 4500/3600 Series.

  • The Cisco UCS B-Series blade servers will offer up to two Intel Xeon Series 5600 multicore processors.

  • IBM will update its HS22 and HS22v blade server lines to offer the new Intel Series 5600 processors.

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