The Ivy Bridge Impact on New Server Appliances

The Ivy Bridge Impact on New Server Appliances

By Jeff Hudgins, VP of Engineering, NEI, Inc.  |  July 29, 2013

The Ivy Bridge CPU micro-architecture is a die shrink of today's Sandy Bridge CPU. The faster Xeon E5 and E7 chips, which are based on Ivy Bridge, will be made using the 22-nanometer process. This new Xeon chipset will certainly bring performance, but will also showcase improved power efficiency and security. 

The Xeon E5 chip is for mid-range servers with up to four sockets and will come with up to eight cores, while the Xeon E7 chip is targeted at high-end servers and will have up to 12 CPU cores. The Xeon E5 chip will draw between 60 and 130 watts, and servers with Xeon E5 can carry up to 768GB of memory. The Xeon E7 chip, which will be Intel’s (News - Alert) highest performing server chip, is designed for servers with up to eight sockets and 4TB of memory (nearly triple the memory capacity of its predecessor). The Xeon E7 chip includes 30MB of L3 cache and draws up to 130 watts of power. The gains in improved power efficiency and performance will allow data centers to build out more telecom networks and expand their storage capacity while taking up even less foot print. And with space and power at such a premium within the centers, the impact is dramatic to their profitability.  

The Ivy Bridge micro-architecture will also bring a new random number generator. Cyber security concerns within the data center continue to grow, and this new RNG release brings a new level of hardware-based security. Software-based RNGs can be hard to build and test, often difficult to use, and still may not work correctly. That's why security-oriented processors usually contain a dedicated hardware RNG, even though most general-purpose cores do not. Now Intel has included a hardware RNG on its Ivy Bridge processors

So what's the final score? Ivy Bridge does not have the limitations on memory and power that Sandy Bridge has and is sure to be a game changer for solution providers that are hitting design margins in these areas. While any technology transition can be painful, this one appears to be very little pain for a lot of gain.


Jeff Hudgins is vice president of product management at NEI (News - Alert) Inc. (


Edited by Stefania Viscusi