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Xeon D Soars With Skylake

March 13, 2018

Author: Tom R. Halfhill

Intel’s Xeon D family is leaping to Skylake. The new Xeon D-2100 products now have Skylake-SP CPUs and raise the maximum core count from 16 to 18. Compared with most of the older Broadwell-based Xeon D processors, they also double the DRAM bandwidth, quadruple the DRAM capacity, double the number of 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports, and offer more PCI Express lanes and Serial ATA interfaces. Some models have QuickAssist cryptography acceleration, and all are shipping now for servers and embedded systems.

In most respects, the D-2100 family is a major advance over the D-1500 Broadwell processors that shipped in 2015–2016. Intel foreshadowed the new products last year by quietly introducing the Xeon D Network Series—five Broadwell models that also have four 10GbE ports and QuickAssist acceleration. Like those chips, the new family pushes the maximum base clock frequency a smidgen higher (2.3GHz versus 2.2GHz). But the Broadwell Network Series peaks at eight cores. The D-2100 line uses the enhanced 14nm+ FinFET process to integrate up to 18 cores and employs the same Skylake-SP microarchitecture as the higher-end Xeon Scalable family.

Essentially, the new processors copackage a Xeon Scalable die with a C600-series south-bridge die (code-named Lewisburg). To avoid cannibalizing Xeon Scalable sales, they omit some features. Even so, they’re powerful processors that serve a broader application spectrum than previous Xeon D products. But they use more power and cost more than similar chips from AMD and Broadcom.

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