By Frank Jensen, Performance Marketing Engineer
Data Center Group Marketing, Intel
Intel woke up many years ago and realized that if we didn’t keep sharpening our skills and a laser focus on delivering better experiences for our customers that they would go away. And they started to. So, a promise was made (and kept to-date) that we would deliver performance that mattered to our customers. This turned into the “tick-tock” model where we shrink our manufacturing process every other year and on the alternate years we introduce a new microarchitecture. You probably already have been reading about the multiprocessor segment (MP or EX-expandable servers as we call them internally); and you likely have heard rumblings about “Nehalem-EX”, but I wanted to let you know what I’ve seen on the performance side to-date.
I dug up this old chart from 2007 (originally in a press briefing from 2004) talking about how we forecasted performance gains expected over the next 5 years or so (and no, we didn’t sandbag J).
In the multi-processor space, we’re seeing the same trend. Our upcoming launch of the next generation Intel® Xeon® processor (codenamed “Nehalem-EX”) is a WOW – even bigger than the 5500 series launch (formerly “Nehalem-EP”). We’ve already disclosed some details – like delivering greater than nine times the memory bandwidth available to the applications over the 7400 series (formerly “Dunnington”), and we also talked publicly about being able to drive three times the number of transactions in database workloads. The recent SuperComputer trade show (SC’09) had more discussion supporting that indeed this is a processor to keep an eye on for even HPC workloads - compute demand continues to be insatiable for researchers.
Figure 2 - Source: Intel internal measurements with preliminary Nehalem-EX results.
My friends, this 55x result is off the chart from our promises of years ago! Does performance matter? We think so. In so many ways, the quicker a job gets done or the more responsive a server is, the quicker a solution is found or more satisfied the end customer becomes – improving ROI or allowing for more options to be explored in the same amount of time. That's how we hope to fulfill our promise.
There a lot of benchmarks and metrics, some probably useful, some not – but what’s important to you? What do you look for when deciding whether to buy a "big iron" computer or a couple of smaller standard ones? Let us know!