There's been a change near the top of the performance heap for servers here in the CRN Test Center, and the newcomer's name could be your own. Earlier this year, the Enterprise Platform and Services Division of Intel rolled out eight new server platforms, giving white-box solution providers a host of new high-performance options for their purpose-built servers and appliances. And perform they do.
For testing, Intel sent its high-end S2600GZ motherboard, code-named Grizzly Pass, in a 2U rack server chassis with a pair of Intel Xeon E5-2660 eight-core processors running at 2.2GHz with 128 GB of memory. After testers helped it clear a few technical hurdles, the system proceeded to break a performance record that until a week earlier had stood here in the CRN Test Center since February of last year.
To prepare the machine, testers installed the 64-bit version of Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 and set the operating system for maximum performance. Then the 64-bit version of Primate Lab's Geekbench 2.2 was installed, and testers were amazed at the results. With only a minimum hardware-specific drivers installed, Intel's Grizzly Pass motherboard turned in five Geekbench scores in excess of 23,000, with a top score of 23,766.
This was good enough to land the Intel machine in second place, just ahead of the PowerEdge C6145, Dell's dual-node AMD box, which turned in a score of 22,607 with 48 Opteron cores. Intel's box exceeded that score handily with 16-- that’s with two-thirds fewer cores. All tested systems were equipped with processors running at speeds greater than 2GHz.
Dell still holds the record for the fastest server so far to come through our labs with its PowerEdge R720. That screamer broke 30K.
NEXT: One Of A SeriesGrizzly Pass is one of eight new full- and half-width motherboards from Intel's Enterprise Platform and Services Division, a group that its leader hesitated to call an OEM. "EPSD is a branch of Intel that creates systems and server boards for the channel under other company's brands," said David Brown, general manager and head of marketing for EPSD.
"We're a building block supplier. HP and IBM take our silicon and build their products, while others take products at a higher level of integration and build solutions," he said, referring to the S2600GZ motherboard tested by CRN. That board was installed in an R2000 chassis, one of 37 new chassis that include high-density 2U boxes for high-performance computing applications, traditional towers, configurable 4U pedestal form factors and high-end chassis for enterprise deployments.
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The Grizzly Pass motherboard offers 24 DIMM slots capable of accepting memory at speeds up to 1600MHz. Also included is a pair of third-generation PCI x24 super slots, one PCIe 3.0 x8 storage module slot, eight SAS/SATA 3 GB/s ports and two 6 GB/s ports, integrated quad gigabit Ethernet ports and two E5-2600 Sandy Bridge sockets, designed into an energy-efficient, spread core layout.
Other models are designed for specific applications. The boards code-named Jefferson Pass and Washington Pass are half-width boards that are intended for high-performance computing apps that require large amounts of memory or optimized memory throughput. The Canoe Pass, Copper Pass and Iron Pass boards are intended to provide maximum I/O support and expandability.