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Intel Gulftown Introduction
   30 April 2010

Intel has recently launched the new Xeon 5600 series designed for Dual Processor (DP) servers and workstations. The 5600 series is codenamed Gulftown and is based on the Nehalem microarchitecture in the 32 nm "Westmere" shrink. It is a six-core hyperthreaded processor able to run up to 12 threads in parallel and was first released as the Core i7 980X for single processor desktop systems.

The server version will be the Xeon 5600 series using the same LGA1366 package. It draws a similar amount of power compared to its predecessor that had only 4 cores, reaching a maximum Thermal Design Power (TDP) of 130W.

The table below summarises some of the models available for integrating into solutions for your customers.

Processor Model
Cores / Threads Clock Frequency Turbo Boost
L3 Cache
E5620 4C / 8T
2.40GHz 2.67GHz 12MB 80W
E5630 4C / 8T
2.53GHz 2.80GHz
12MB 80W
4C / 8T
2.67GHz 2.93GHz
12MB 80W
6C / 12T
2.67GHz 3.06GHz
12MB 95W
6C / 12T
12MB 95W
6C / 12T
12MB 95W
X5680 6C / 12T
3.33GHz 3.60GHz
12MB 130W

Some of the key technologies that may interest your customers are:
  • Intel Turbo Boost Technology: performance for single-threaded applications are increased by dynamic overclocking of a single core while turning off other unused cores within the processor. As an example, the Xeon X5650 processor can automatically overclock a single core to over 3.00GHz from 2.67GHz.
  • Intel Hyper-Threading: enables systems to run multi-threaded applications more effectively by simultaneously supporting two processing threads on a single core. This improves performance for threaded workloads and improves overall system responsiveness.
  • Intel Trusted Execution Technology (TXT): a hardware extension / enhancement that defends against software-based attacks aimed at stealing sensitive applications. The processor does so by the creation of multiple separated execution environments, or partitions, to lock hardware resources (such as memory pools) to authorised applications only.
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Most current generation (X8) Supermicro motherboards and systems are able to take advantage of these new Xeon processors immediately through a motherboard BIOS update. If unsure, please check your specific model on the Supermicro website - specification pages have been updated to list the support as "Intel Xeon Processor 5600 Series (Westmere)".


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