Intel Unveils Nehalem-EX Octal-Core Server CPU

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News Posted: Tue, May 26 2009 2:41 PM
Intel just held a press conference in which the company spoke about its next-generation server processor currently dubbed Nehalem-EX. As its name suggests, the Nehalem-EX is based on the Nehalem microarchitecture which debuted with the Xeon 5500 and Core i7 series processors. The Nehalem-EX series, however, will be decidedly more high-end in terms of specifications and performance. Whereas current Xeon 5500 series processors feature four execution cores per CPU with support for up to eight threads through the use of Hyper-Threading, the Nehalem-EX series will be outfitted with up to eight execution cores per chip with support for up to sixteen threads, and 24MB of cache. In addition, the Nehalem-EX series will also sport some features carried over from the Itanium line, like Machine Check Architecture (MCA) Recovery.



Intel Nehalem-EX Microarchitecture - Image courtesy:  Intel Corp.

According to Intel, the Nehalem-EX will offer up to nine times the memory bandwidth of the previous-generation Intel Xeon 7400 platform with up to double the memory capacity through the use of 16 memory slots per processor socket. The processors will also offer four high-bandwidth QuickPath Interconnect links per CPU to provide significant scalability, from large-memory two-socket systems through eight-socket systems capable of processing 128 threads simultaneously.

We've got a demo of the Nehalem-EX in action processing 128 threads right here.

[view:http://www.youtube.com/v/BQ4shSQJTd0]

In the video, Intel's Kennedy Brown and IBM's Kevin Powell show off an 8 socket, 64 core, 128 thread IBM server based on Intel's Nehalem-EX processor churning though a workload that pegs all cores at 100% utilization.

  
8-Socket Nehalem-EX Platform Architecture - 64 Cores, 128-Threads, Scalable to 32-Socket

  
Nehalem-EX Architecture Enhancements Vs. Previous Gen.

A summary of the Nehalem-EX features and benefits includes:

  • Intel Nehalem Architecture built on Intel’s unique 45nm high-k metal gate technology process
  • Up to 8 cores per processor
  • Up to 16 threads per processor with Intel Hyper-threading
  • Scalability up to eight sockets via Quick Path Interconnects and greater with third-party node controllers
  • QuickPath Architecture with four high-bandwidth links
  • 24MB of shared cache
  • Integrated memory controllers
  • Intel Turbo Boost Technology
  • Intel scalable memory buffer and scalable memory interconnects
  • Up to 9x the memory bandwidth of previous generation
  • Support for up to 16 memory slots per processor socket
  • Advanced RAS capabilities including MCA Recovery
  • 2.3 billion transistors

The Intel Nehalem-EX is scheduled for production in the second half of 2009, with systems coming from Intel's typical partners in the high-end server space. Intel has not commented on clock frequencies just yet, but if they can come close to existing products, the Nehalem-EX platform could have a major impact on the HPC space, as well as high-end server market.

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acarzt replied on Tue, May 26 2009 4:26 PM

that is a beast of a CPU....

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Dave_HH replied on Tue, May 26 2009 4:32 PM

Yeah, love it!

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buster987 replied on Tue, May 26 2009 10:41 PM

yeah, pretty useless until an OS can make use of it, let alone an application break the 2 thread barrier.

I know it's a "build it and they will come" thing, but only in rare cases (VMWare?) are these monster multi-core'd, multi-threaded machines any value.

"We" (who ever we is) need to be pushing software vendors into multi-core areas.  Hardware is still greatly outpacing software still.

I know this isn't meant for home use, but even at work (at a large internet company), I don't see a use for this at all. Our dual-core CPU's sit idle 95% of the time...why do we need 126 more cores sitting idle 95% of the time?

FYI: man i want one of these CPU's!!

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Although everyone still cringes at the words "Cloud computing" I think this is where the market is. Rather than all of these cores sitting idle, the ability to immediately shift demand of any application across all the servers in your datacenter is going to be priceless.

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Dave_HH replied on Wed, May 27 2009 12:58 AM

Agreed, Physics! Though as an enthusiast, I am still a bit nervous about the day the Cloud becomes mainstream. :)

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Dave_HH replied on Wed, May 27 2009 9:50 AM

buster, I am quite certain this CPU is targeted toward applications (think HPC etc) that can make use of N number of threads at any given time.  And I want one too! Smile

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acarzt replied on Wed, May 27 2009 12:08 PM

Cloud... skynet... see the simularities?? The end is coming folks... the end is coming....

Heh, Sorry I just watched Terminator Salvation... it was awesome!!

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thats so sweet! but the main question is will it blend???

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overstim replied on Wed, May 27 2009 4:14 PM

You're right- this is only so exciting, until developers start taking advantage of it. Developers need to see that multi-cores are the future, and Apple, for one, seems to agree- I have high hopes for Grand Central in Snow Leopard.

http://www.apple.com/macosx/snowleopard/

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peti1212 replied on Wed, May 27 2009 6:18 PM

Oh man, this looks sooooo sooo goood!!! I want to work on movies with this beast!!!

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kid007 replied on Sat, May 30 2009 11:00 PM

i don't even know what to do with 4 cores, i can't imagine what i would run 8 cores :X

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PsiStar replied on Fri, Sep 11 2009 12:48 PM

I have some number crunchers that would use all of the CPU power ... can't wait

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starwhite replied on Sun, Sep 20 2009 2:32 AM

WOW in a word!

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sonicb00m replied on Mon, Sep 21 2009 8:56 PM

Although I can not think of many reasons anyone would need that much processing, I am still excited to see that the technology is here. The technology has to come out before companies can actually use it. SO I'M EXCITED. WOOOO.

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putzamon replied on Sat, Oct 17 2009 3:00 PM

I'm with PsiStar; I could use 16 of these easy...

POV-Ray, Maxwell Render, RealFlow, mental ray, Terragen 2.

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