We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
Graphics cards & PC upgrades Reviews
15,670 Reviews

Intel Nehalem Xeon review

Depends on system

Manufacturer: Intel

The new Intel Nehalem Xeon CPUs, which are being introduced in countless one- and two-socket servers and workstations, have already generated a lot of heat.

The new Intel Nehalem Xeon CPUs, which are being introduced in countless one- and two-socket servers and workstations, have already generated a lot of heat.

Whoa Nehlly!

All of these features add up to a significant performance boost. How significant? In many of our tests, Nehalem runs roughly twice as fast as Intel Xeon 5300-based platforms, and 50 percent faster than Intel Xeon 5400-based systems in single-threaded operations. It's fast.

For example, in preliminary testing we used an HP ProLiant DL580 with four quad-core Intel Xeon X7350 CPUs running at 2.93GHz per core as a baseline. The Nehalem system was running two quad-core Intel Xeon W5580 CPUs at 3.2GHz per core with HyperThreading enabled.

The tests we ran were mostly single-threaded with the exception of the MySQL InnoDB database performance tests. However, the single-threaded tests were run in batches of 16 simultaneous tasks - thus, each test pass comprised 16 identical processes for each test scenario.

The tests included LAME audio encoding, gzip and bzip2 compression, and MD5 sum tests of large files. Note that the X7350 system had 16 physical cores and the Nehalem test system had only eight, represented as 16 virtual processors via HyperThreading.

Averaged across all tests, the Nehalem system was roughly 60 percent faster than the X7350-based server. For instance, the time required for the X7350 system to encode 16 identical 200MB WAV files to MP3 at 224Kbps was 77 seconds. The Nehalem system completed the task in 40 seconds.

The gzip tests showed the X7350 compressing the 16 resulting MP3 files in 6 seconds, while the Nehalem system completed the task in 2 seconds. For a single-thread test, we converted a 27MB MPEG-4 file to FLV (Flash Video) with MEncoder. The X7350 took 43 seconds at roughly 100 frames per second; the Nehalem took 27 seconds at roughly 163 frames per second.

The MySQL tests we ran were based on InnoDB using the mysql-bench test suite. This test runs a large number of concurrent database operations, including Select, Delete, Update, Insert, and so forth. The X7350 system completed all three tests in a total of 833 seconds, while the Nehalem system finished in 713 seconds.

NEXT PAGE: more per core...

Intel Nehalem Xeon Expert Verdict »

Based on a NUMA architecture
45nm Hi-k next generation Intel Core microarchitecture
quad-core layout
731 million transistors
256KB of L2 cache per core
8MB of L3 cache
memory bandwidth speeds: 25.6GBps per link or 6.4GT (Gigatransfers) per second with DDR3 RAM
RAM clocks run at 800MHz, 1,066MHz, or 1,333MHz
Virtualization Technology

Whatever the reasons and machinations behind the development of the Nehalem chip, and regardless of what the future will bring, the raw power Nehalem represents is simply stunning.

  • Intel Xeon X5600 review

    Intel Xeon X5600

    Our review of the Intel Xeon X5600 series CPU shows that fast AES encryption, better scalability, and consistent per-core performance make the new six-core Xeon - codenamed 'Westmere' - is a worthy successor to Intel Nehalem.

  • Apple Nehalem Xserve review

    Apple Nehalem Xserve

    The Apple Nehalem Xserve ranks best-in-class in build quality, engineering, durability, and serviceability among 1U x86 rack servers.

  • Apple Mac Pro 8-Core 2.93GHz review

    Apple Mac Pro 8-Core 2.93GHz

    Apple's Nehalam-based 8-Core 2.93GHz Mac Pro is a speedy, but expensive PC.

  • Sun Fire X2270 review

    Sun Fire X2270

    The Sun X2270 is a low-cost, 1U rack mount server system with a Nehalem chip or two.

  • Apple Mac Pro Eight-Core/2.26GHz (2009 edition) review

    Apple Mac Pro Eight-Core/2.26GHz (2009 edition)

    Apple's new tower PC, the Apple Mac Pro, has just received a major overhaul.


IDG UK Sites

Best Black Friday 2014 tech deals UK: Latest bargains on phones, tablets, laptops and more this...

IDG UK Sites

Tech trends 2015: 3D printing grows up

IDG UK Sites

10 mind-blowing Oculus Rift experiments that reveal VR's practical potential

IDG UK Sites

Black Friday 2014 UK: Apple deals, Amazon deals & other Black Friday tech offers