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Nov 23, 2011

Intel May Release Unlocked Xeon E5 CPUs in 2012

Encouraged by the success they had with the unlocked version of the Westmere-based Xeon 5600 processors among overclocking enthusiasts, Intel is now rumored to be considering coming up with an unlocked version of the Xeon E5 too.

These chips would primarily target enthusiasts who are interested in building a dual-socket LGA 2011 system based on motherboards such as EVGA’s recently announced SR-3, according to VR-Zone.

Paired with two eight-core CPUs from the Xeon E5-2600 series and eight channel memory, a system based on this platform should be able to deliver almost half a teraflop of peak FP double precision power if using AVX coding.

Furthermore, this would be able to deliver well over 100 GB/s of memory bandwidth while also feeding 8 GPUs via the 80 PCI Express 3.0 lanes available from the two processors.

Of course that such a system will also have its downsides, such as the huge power consumption and the high heat output of the two overclocked CPUs, but it’s entirely doable.

Intel’s Xeon E5 processors are based on the company’s Sandy Bridge-E architecture that is also used in the desktop Core i7-3960X and 3930K processors launched by Intel at the middle of this month.

However , since these no longer have to fit inside the 130W of their desktop counterparts will come with all of the eight computing cores available in the architecture enabled as well as with up to 20MB of L3 cache memory.

In addition these chips will also get dual 8 GT/s QPI channels enabling them to communicate with each other when used in multi-socket motherboards.

A firm release date for these chips hasn't been mentioned, but Intel said recently that it has already starting sampling Xeon E5 processors to select number of cloud and HPC computer vendors, with mass availability expected in Q1 of 2012.


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