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Embedded Skylake Speeds Networking

July 25, 2017

Author: Tom R. Halfhill

Intel’s new Xeon Scalable processors supersede the Xeon E5v4 embedded processors that use the Broadwell-EP core. The 16 new Xeon embedded processors derive from the new Skylake-SP server processors but have extended availability. Nine of them also guarantee extended reliability.

The company builds Skylake-SP chips in the same 14nm+ technology as Kaby Lake: an enhanced version of the 14nm FinFET technology used for Broadwell. Skylake-SP also has an improved CPU microarchitecture that executes about 5% more instructions per clock cycle than Broadwell. In addition, the new products exceed their Xeon E5v4 predecessors in core count, clock frequency, memory bandwidth, PCI Express lanes, multisocket connectivity, power consumption, and list price.

Equally important for embedded customers are Intel’s new C62x south-bridge chips (code-named Lewisburg). They have up to four 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10GbE) ports, which previously required an additional chip, and much faster hardware acceleration than the aging Coleto Creek controller hub.

Overall, the new Xeon embedded processors deliver about 10% more integer performance and 11% more performance per watt than their E5v4 predecessors. Much bigger gains are possible for networking and communications when they pair with the new hub. But those gains come at the expense of higher prices and higher power dissipation in some comparisons with Broadwell chips. To get the best value, customers must carefully weigh the new chips against the old—an exercise made trickier by Intel’s new brand strategy.

Subscribers can view the full article in the Microprocessor Report.

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