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Supermicro New Zealand Channel Newsletter
Next-gen Intel UP server and Sandy Bridge update
  28 February 2011

Intel officially introduced the next generation desktop and mobile processors on the 3rd of January 2011 based on the new Sandy Bridge microarchitecture. For background reading our November newsletter introduced some of its new features. Following the January launch, Intel has also released the Socket LGA1155 Xeon processors for Uni-Processor platforms in late February. Please see the list of new Xeon UP processors below:

Processor Model
Cores / Threads Clock Frequency Turbo Boost
L3 Cache
E3-1220 4C / 4T
3.10GHz 3.40GHz 8MB 80W
E3-1230 4C / 8T
3.20GHz 3.60GHz
8MB 80W
E3-1240 4C / 8T
3.30GHz 3.70GHz
8MB 80W
E3-1270 4C / 8T
3.40GHz 3.80GHz
8MB 80W
E3-1280 4C / 8T
8MB 95W

There are also variations of the above with an integrated GPU (model number ending with 5) or for low power systems (L suffix). In general the clock frequencies have gone up by over 20% and we also expect a similar performance increase from these new processors. We have begun planning for the introduction of a new entry-level server motherboard to co-incide with the availability of these new Xeon processors in due time.

Image Image

Motherboard chipset features remain relatively similar except for the introduction of native 6Gbps SATA ports - though only 2 out of 6 ports will support 6Gbps. The other 4 ports will be 3Gbps. Intel Host RAID 0, 1, 5, 10 will continue on.

On the 31st of January a design flaw in the accompanying 6-series chipset for Sandy Bridge desktop processors was also announced, affecting all currently available motherboards on the market.  The fault lies in the chipset and affects only the 3Gbps SATA ports (number 2 to 5) whereby SATA devices will eventually lose connection over time. The official Intel statement as sent to us is as follows:

“In some cases, the Serial-ATA (SATA) ports within the chipsets may degrade over time, potentially impacting the performance or functionality of SATA-linked devices such as hard disk drives and DVD-drives.”

The fix requires new hardware - a metal layer change to improve lifetime wear out. A new chipset revision (B3) will contain the fix and will be widely available by April 2011.

Compucon produces a range of Intel and AMD based workstations and servers for business & professional customers.  The Compucon Superhawk will base on Sandy Bridge processors in April 2011 or as soon as motherboards with the revised chipset are available, while the Compucon Workgroup Server will evolve accordingly when all the dust has settled.


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