Intel Xeon 2697 V2 24 Core 48 Thread Madness Review
Published: 31st January 2014 | Source: Intel | Price: £2000 each |
Clearly at well over £2000 a CPU this isn't the kind of purchase you will make on an idle Friday to give you something to look forward to on Monday morning. In fact with the relentless march of technology the Intel Xeon E5-2697v2 is actually the kind of processor that it makes zero sense to purchase unless you're buying them by the thousand because they'll quickly be superceded by the desktop variant at a more affordable price point. If you are looking to furnish your next super computer, hello Pixar/Dreamworks/GCHQ.
For the rest of us our review today is a clear indication of exactly why the Xeon is a workstation processor, rather than one to power your gaming rig. The memory bandwidth is clearly the biggest hurdle to anything approaching multi-application usability. We have mentioned before how poor AMD memory bandwidth is in relation to the Intel Sandy/Ivy Bridge range, but compared to the Xeon the AMD offerings are Ferraris in a world of Kias. This problem manifests itself in all of the benchmarks that we consider to be accurate representations of the type of function any desktop system would be asked to employ. In particular PC Mark 7, which is as close as we can get to replicating daily use in a manner that gives a hard statistic at the end, gave a positively abysmal score thanks to that very poor memory performance.
But to berate the Xeon's performance for not being desktop worthy would be like complaining that a Formula One car hasn't got enough boot space for your shopping. It's utterly missing the point. These are about performing enormous amounts of calculations in as small a time as possible and they certainly get the job done. Indeed there are so many cores that Windows struggled to give every program full access to them. Folding @ Home in particular barely reflected any CPU at all, let alone a 48 core beast of a setup. What it all boils down to is that if you are a hard core video editor maybe a 3D animator these will have your manhood standing too attention and your epeen needing these to stay looking confident. They are very much the top of the pile when it comes to a professional work station environment and this is one of the only situations where this level of investment could be deemed as viable.
So the Intel Xeon E5-2697v2, a useful indicator of where the future for desktop processors will be and a hint of the performance that you will have available. They're just not a sensible choice for all but the most demanding of users. Those for whom 'power-hungry' seems a barely adequate adjective. It's nice to taste the power though, isn't it?