[CeBIT 2012] Intel has announced its Intel Xeon E5 server processor (CPU), an 8-core monster that is (mostly) based on the same chip design than the Sandy Bridge processor which is already in use in mainstream and business computers. The most noticeable difference is the presence of 8-cores, where 6 is the maximum number of cores in previous products. Just like other Sandy Bridge chips, the Xeon E5-2600 supports Intel AVX, a set of instructions that accelerates computing and multimedia apps. There is also Intel turbo Boost, which allows the overclocking of a single core by up to 900Mhz. Finally more server-centric features like Intel Node management, which helps monitor and manage power consumption, are present.
As it is the case with most processor updates, the performance is up by a respectable margin, including on single-threaded or mildly parallelized apps. However, the big ticket items in our opinion is the big gain in terms of IO speed and power-efficiency (performance per Watt. From that point of view, the new Intel Xeon E5 is simply impressive, and if you take into account that this architecture is being declined in many segments and price ranges, it is clear that the new Intel Xeon E5 is very promising for the server space. While you may not use this at home any time soon, it is likely that cloud services that you use will end up being powered by one of these CPUs.