Intel Xeon E7 v2 servers support 6TB of RAM

Intel has unveiled its latest range of Xeon processors, the E7 v2 family.

The big news is an expansion in RAM support to 1.5TB per socket, up from 512GB in last-generation E7 chips.

At the launch event in Canary Wharf, Intel announced that server manufacturers including Cisco, Dell, IBM and Supermicro are already preparing four-socket systems capable of addressing 6TB of dynamic memory – in theory the architecture could scale to 32 sockets, supporting 48TB of RAM.

Dell showed off a first-generation four-way E7 v2 server featuring eight RAM modules, each one offering twelve 64GB DIMM slots.

Dell's first four-way E7-based server has 96 DIMM slots spread across eight caddies

Speaking in Santa Clara, Intel senior VP Diane Bryant explained that the new design aims to “enable IT organisations to deliver real-time analysis of large data sets, to spot and capitalise on trends, create new services and deliver business efficiency”.

In layman’s terms, that means the E7 v2 is designed specifically for in-memory “big data” workloads.

As well as their upgraded memory capacity, the new E7 v2 models feature up to 15 cores, supporting 30 threads via Hyper-threading, and up to 37.5MB of on-chip cache. Intel claimed that, across a variety of benchmarks, the new V2 models deliver approximately twice the performance of their counterparts from the original E7 range.

The E7 v2’s new memory controller also supports a half-speed “lockstep mode”, which uses RAM channel mirroring to provide protection against multi-bit errors, at the cost of reducing effective memory bandwidth.

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