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Nehalem-EP Workstation preview: 16 threads, 3.2 GHz, 48GB RAM Nehalem-EP Workstation preview: 16 threads, 3.2 GHz, 48GB RAM
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Nehalem-EP Workstation preview: 16 threads, 3.2 GHz, 48GB RAM
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Old 25th March 2009, 15:02   #1
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Default Nehalem-EP Workstation preview: 16 threads, 3.2 GHz, 48GB RAM

For a long time, dual processor systems intrigued many high-end desktop users: adding the second CPU propelled your personal PC into the "parallel processing" exotic workstation and HPC [High Performance Computing] realm, without jumping into the overly complex and expensive quad-socket and larger systems. And, two-socket systems can for the most part still fit within the usual high-end PC size and power envelope.

Remember the Dual Celeron 300's running on many overclockers' rigs at 500 MHz and above, stable for years? That trend was then continued with the Intel D5400XS Skulltrail "extreme desktop" version of their dual Xeon workstation motherboards. The attraction only got stronger as the multi-core push resulted in operating systems, applications and even games supporting multi-thread parallelism better than before.

However, at least on Intel systems, the shared FSB did pose a bit of MP scaling bottleneck in any memory-intensive app. Dual FSB1600 on the systems like Skulltrail and other Seaburg chipset platforms did help somewhat, when combined with four channel memory configuration and cache snoop filters in the chipset North Bridge. At that time, even those STREAM-like memory benchmarks that often eluded Intel became substantially closer in results to AMD's DP Opteron platform. But it wasn't enough to win back the memory performance crown.
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