earlier this this year, Intel has just announced that its next-generation server CPU, code-named Westmere-EX will include ten physical cores.
Unusually for Intel, this monster server CPU will not require you to build a new system from scratch. Instead, Westmere-EX is socket-compatible with the existing Xeon 7500-series
, so you should be able to drop one Westmere-EX, or more realistically four CPUs into your existing servers. You will probably have to update the BIOS of your server's motherboard, however.
The increase in core count is mainly possible because, unlike the Xeon 7500-series, Westmere-EX is built using a 32nm, rather than a 45nm manufacturing process. This means it should have a similar TDP to the older CPUs, although this hasn't yet been confirmed by Intel.
Intel hasn't just bumped up the core count from eight to ten though, it's also doubled the amount of addressable memory from 1TB to 2TB. That might sound excessive, but the huge databases that quad-processor servers are designed to run are fast approaching this size. Being able to run the whole database from memory, rather than a non-volatile storage device, is a huge benefit to responsiveness and speed, especially if a whole company's worth of users are trying to access the data simultaneously.
The one slide on Westmere-EX that Intel showed also stated that it has some 'Enhanced Security' features, but we've been unable to dig out any more details about this particular aspect of the CPU.
Intel reckons Westmere-EX servers should hit the market in the first half of 2011.
Are you excited by the possibility of a 10-core CPU? Let us know your thoughts in the forum