Intel’s “Nehalem” Xeon CPUs set new speed records

Intel has announced 17 new Xeon processors aimed at enterprise and scientific applications, all of which use the Nehalem core that first hit the mainstream in the Core i7.

Read our verdict on the new Xeon 5500 series here, including benchmark results.

Intel certainly believes the new CPUs are important: “The Intel Xeon processor 5500 series is the foundation for the next decade of innovation,” said Patrick Gelsinger, senior vice president at Intel.

According to Intel, not only will they “create opportunities to solve the world’s most complex challenges and push the limits of science and technology” but they will also “power an upcoming transformation for the Internet’s infrastructure”. Also known as cloud computing.

Intel claims it’s broken over 30 world records for two-socket performance, across benchmarks such as SPECint_rate_base2006 and SAP-SD.

In the VMmark benchmark, Intel claims “several Xeon 5500 series-based platforms shattered the previous record by as much as 150% versus the previous-generation Intel Xeon processor 5400 series”.

We tested five different Xeon 5500 series processors, ranging from the low-end E5530 to the middle-of-the-range X5560. Our tests, POV-Ray, CineBench and FlamMap, focused on compute-intensive workloads.

We found the X5560 was typically 80% faster than the E5530, though note that each processor was in a different setup, varying from 8GB of RAM to 24GB.

Read our review of the Xeon 5500 series for more details on the benchmark results, and why we think this is such a landmark release for Intel.

Prices range from $188 for the E5502 to $1,600 for the very top-of-the-range Xeon, the W5580.

For more details, see Intel’s official Xeon page.

Products featuring the 5500 Xeons are available immediately, and we’ll upload reviews of systems with the new Xeons inside later this week.

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