When it comes to x86 processors of pure unadulterated power Intel’s high-end Xeon platforms are the only way to go. Intel’s “EP” (Efficient Performance) SKUs are often some of the most impressive processors that come to market sitting between the high-end consumer and small business segments. Over the years we’ve seen the EP series processors grow in core count as Intel’s CPU architectures have become more efficient in terms of power consumption, thermal specifications and their general design. For example, Westmere-EP had up to 6 cores, Sandy Bridge-EP had up to 8 cores and this current Ivy Bridge-EP series has up to 12 cores. Today we are reviewing the flagship processor of the Ivy Bridge-EP series, the Intel Xeon E5-2697 v2 processor. Thanks to Intel’s generosity we have the opportunity to test a pair of these monstrous CPUs. On paper these are the most powerful CPUs available on the market within that top-end consumer bracket: these CPUs will work with all consumer hardware such as “normal” graphics cards, unbuffered non-ECC RAM, consumer operating systems like Windows 7 and so on. Yet with 12 cores, 24 threads and a 130W TDP its a heck of a lot of performance for any consumer so Intel’s main target is working professionals, small and medium size businesses and anyone who needs a serious amount of x86 computing power. However, the term reasonable cannot be used for the pricing as Intel expects consumers or businesses using these Xeon chips to pay a pretty penny – $2618 to be exact. That said you get what you pay for: with 12 cores and 24 threads in an efficient 130W package Intel’s Xeon E5-2697 v2 is unmatched by any other current generation hardware. Of course Intel’s Haswell-EP is just around the corner and with that we should expect the core limit to be increased again to a staggering 16 cores (if rumours are to be believed) within similar thermal envelopes, we will also see the jump to DDR4 memory made so Ivy Bridge-EP will be the last DDR3 EP platform from Intel.
Any major computer upgrade generally requires a full software reinstall too. No so if you heed the advice in the guide to Upgrading a Motherboard without Reinstalling. PCSTATS Tips