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Intel Xeon Server Processors - The established Enterprise Standard

Since the introduction of the brand name Xeon in 1998, the processors of the manufacturer Intel, which are optimised for servers, have been continuously developed and have become the standard in the sector of professional enterprise applications. The technical basis for these CPUs is the same microarchitecture that is used in the desktop models of the respective generations. However, the Xeon processors, with their larger cache and excellent scalability, have features specially designed for servers and workstations that distinguish them from CPUs for conventional PCs. Depending on the model and generation, up to eight processors can be used in a server system to reliably handle even the most demanding workloads. In addition, with the support of ECC-RAM (Error Correcting Code), the proven error correction procedure of the main memory further increases the reliability required for mission-critical applications.

How do the Intel Xeon processor model series differentiate?

Due to the model designation scheme for Xeon processors introduced by Intel in 2011, it is not necessarily easy at first glance to classify the performance of a CPU by its name. In general, the processors are divided into three groups.

  • E3: CPUs for servers and workstations with one socket
  • E5: CPUs for servers and workstations with one or more sockets
  • E7: CPUs with a higher number of cores for high-performance servers with multiple sockets

The processor series designation is followed by a four-digit code, with the first digit indicating the maximum number of sockets possible in a system. The other digits are used to distinguish the models within the CPU series, which each vary in the number of processing cores and the thermal power dissipation (TDP). As a rule, a higher number here is synonymous with higher performance. Usually the model designation is concluded with an additional identifier such as v3 or v4, which indicates the microarchitecture used.
Product examples:

Intel Xeon E5-1620v3

  • E5 series
  • max. 1 socket per system
  • 4 cores
  • 140 W TDP
  • Microarchitecture: Haswell

Intel Xeon E5-2699v4

  • E5 series
  • max. 2 sockets per system
  • 22 cores
  • 145 W TDP
  • Microarchitecture: Broadwell

The further development of Xeon processors often required a change to new platforms and sockets. Due to the support of the most powerful models of this generation, the socket 2011-3, for example, is widely used and can be equipped with CPUs in almost all performance ranges.

With the introduction of the first generation of the Xeon Scalable product series in 2017, Intel's existing designation system was revised. Instead of the previous classification E3 to E7, the processors have since been named in accordance with the ascending value of precious metals. The four available series, Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum are distinguished by their higher value in terms of computing power and the number of processing cores.
In addition, a four-digit model number is used to distinguish between the different CPUs. The first digit designates the model series and the second digit refers to the generation. The other digits identify the respective variant; here, as with previous generations, the relationship between a higher number and higher performance is maintained.
Due to the large number of technical changes, the Xeon Scalable processors of the first and second generation require a new platform with the socket 3647, which is characterised, among other things, by an increased number of memory channels and PCIe lanes (PCI-Express).

Xeon Scalable Bronze Processors

  • Model number: 3xxx
  • max. 8 cores
  • 2 sockets possible
  • Support for DDR4-2133 memory

Product examples:

  • Intel Xeon Bronze 3104: 6 cores; 1.7 GHz (1st generation, Skylake microarchitecture)
  • Intel Xeon Bronze 3204: 6 cores; 1.9 GHz (2nd generation, Cascade Lake microarchitecture)

Xeon Scalable Silver processors

  • Model number: 4xxx
  • max. 12 cores
  • 2 sockets possible
  • Support for DDR4-2400 memory

Product examples:

  • Intel Xeon Silver 4110: 8 cores; 2.1 GHz (1st generation, Skylake microarchitecture)
  • Intel Xeon Silver 4210: 10 cores; 2.2 GHz (2nd generation, Cascade Lake microarchitecture)

Xeon Scalable Gold processors

  • Model number: 5xxx / 6xxx
  • max. 14 / 22 cores
  • 4 sockets possible
  • Support of DDR4-2400 / 2666 memory

Product examples:

  • Intel Xeon Gold 6148: 20 cores; 2.4 GHz (1st generation, Skylake microarchitecture)
  • Intel Xeon Gold 6248: 20 cores; 2.5 GHz (2nd generation, Cascade Lake microarchitecture)

Xeon Scalable Platinum processors

  • Model number: 8xxx
  • max. 28 cores
  • 8 sockets possible
  • Support for DDR4-2666 memory

Product examples:

  • Intel Xeon Platinum 8180: 28 cores; 2.5 GHz (1st generation, Skylake microarchitecture)
  • Intel Xeon Platinum 8280: 28 cores; 2.7 GHz (2nd generation, Cascade Lake microarchitecture)

Furthermore, some Xeon models are labelled with various additional designations that indicate special features. The designation T, for example, stands for a guaranteed availability of 10 years, the designation M indicates a higher memory capacity and processors with the designation F have an integrated Omni-Path interface. This is a manufacturer-specific network interface for high-bandwidth optical data transmission that competes with the Infiniband standard.

In 2021, the third generation of Xeon Scalable processors follows the naming scheme of its predecessors and therefore differs in the second digit of the model number. Due to the Ice Lake microarchitecture with its 10 nm manufacturing technology, the possible number of computing cores in the top models increases to up to 40 cores, which, however, requires a new platform with the socket 4189. Therefore, there is no compatibility with the motherboards of the first and second generation.

Product examples: 3rd generation, Ice Lake microarchitecture

  • Intel Xeon Platinum 8380: 40 cores; 2.3 GHz
  • Intel Xeon Gold 6348: 28 cores; 2.6 GHz

In the fourth quarter of 2022, under the codename Sapphire Rapids, the fourth generation of Xeon Scalable processors is expected to bring some technical innovations. In addition to support for DDR5 memory and the fifth-generation PCI Express standard, the number of processing cores in the most powerful models is expected to increase to up to 60 cores. In addition, the platform will be changed again with the socket 4677.

Refurbished Intel Xeon processors offer advantages for your budget - ServerShop24

The reliable operation of servers requires high-quality and high-performance components. Especially in the sector of processors, however, there is often a very high price level when it comes to current new hardware. Here you can benefit from the significant price drop of the previous generations, which are available as tested second-hand products for a fraction of the new price and can still meet the requirements of many application areas. In our online shop you will find a large selection of used Intel Xeon server processors of different generations and performance classes at affordable prices, with which you can provide the required computing power for your application at an excellent price-performance ratio. We have been your competent partner for professionally refurbished second-hand servers, storage solutions and network equipment since 2010. With fast shipping from our extensive stock, you benefit from the shortest possible delivery times to equip your IT systems with high-performance processors. Our experienced and friendly support team will assist you with questions about products and your order, contact us - we will take care of your request!