Intel’s new Xeon E5-2600v2 server chips feature noticeable gains in power conservation and performance over their predecessors, while also fitting into the same sockets for maximum convenience. Silicon Mechanics, a member of the Seagate Cloud Builder Alliance, has already confirmed that its products will incorporate the latest Xeon versions so that enterprises can design safer, faster and more energy efficient cloud infrastructure.

Writing for The Register, Timothy Morgan explained that the Xeon update retains much of the design from previous versions while utilizing a smaller process. Whereas older v2 Xeons had eight cores and were based on the Sandy Bridge specification, the newer ones use the Ivy Bridge architecture and are available with up to 12 cores. With a 22nm design, they are also 250 percent more energy efficient than a four year-old server and 40 percent more efficient than the Sandy Bridge server chips.

More importantly, the upgraded architectures may give server manufacturers greater flexibility. Aside from using the same sockets and thermal envelopes as their predecessors, the Ivy Bridge Xeons’ performance levels, in terms of bandwidth and memory cache usage, will coincide with their numbers of cores. As a result, hardware makers may be able to optimize a specific SKU for cloud storage and another for compute, ultimately creating better infrastructure.

“Customers who select the Intel Xeon processor E5-2600v2 product family can stay within their current price band and get higher frequency or more cores for the same investment,” observed Michael Fein, director of sales at Silicon Mechanics.

In terms of security, Intel will be shoring up the new chips with solutions like Intel Secure Key and Intel Advanced Encryption Standard New Instruction. Together, these new tools will protect against surface attacks and malware while not creating the performance hits sometimes attributed to encryption.

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