Intel e5 vs e7: Intel Xeon E5-2690 vs Intel Xeon E7-4870: What is the difference?

Intel Xeon E5-2690 vs Intel Xeon E7-4870: What is the difference?


Intel Xeon E5-2690


Intel Xeon E7-4870

Comparison winner


61 facts in comparison

Intel Xeon E5-2690

Intel Xeon E7-4870

Why is Intel Xeon E5-2690 better than Intel Xeon E7-4870?

  • 1 newer version of PCI Express (PCIe)?
  • 1GHz higher turbo clock speed?
  • 11 higher clock multiplier?
  • 267MHz higher ram speed?
  • 1.6GT/s faster bus transfer rate?
  • Has AVX?

Why is Intel Xeon E7-4870 better than Intel Xeon E5-2690?

  • 4 more CPU threads?
  • 50.8GB/s more memory bandwidth?
  • 10MB bigger L3 cache?
  • 0. 56MB bigger L2 cache?
  • 1664GB larger maximum memory amount?
  • 330million more transistors?
    2600 millionvs2270 million
  • 0.5MB/core more L3 cache per core?

Which are the most popular comparisons?

AMD Epyc 7742


Intel Xeon Platinum 9282

Intel Xeon Gold 6128


Intel Xeon Silver 4110

Intel Xeon E3-1260L


Intel Xeon E3-1270

Intel Xeon E5-2620


Intel Xeon Gold 6130

AMD Epyc 7763


Intel Xeon Platinum 9282

Intel Xeon Bronze 3106


Intel Xeon Silver 4110

Intel Xeon E5-2680 v4


Intel Xeon E5-2699 v4

Intel Xeon Gold 5218


Intel Xeon Gold 5218R

Intel Xeon Gold 6154


Intel Xeon Platinum 8160M

AMD Epyc 7501


Intel Xeon Gold 6150

Price comparison

User reviews

Overall Rating

Intel Xeon E5-2690

1 User reviews

Intel Xeon E5-2690

9. 0/10

1 User reviews

Intel Xeon E7-4870

0 User reviews

Intel Xeon E7-4870


0 User reviews


Value for money


1 votes

No reviews yet




1 votes

No reviews yet




1 votes

No reviews yet


Energy efficiency


1 votes

No reviews yet



1.CPU speed

8 x 2.9GHz

10 x 2.4GHz

The CPU speed indicates how many processing cycles per second can be executed by a CPU, considering all of its cores (processing units). It is calculated by adding the clock rates of each core or, in the case of multi-core processors employing different microarchitectures, of each group of cores.

2.CPU threads

More threads result in faster performance and better multitasking.

3.turbo clock speed



When the CPU is running below its limitations, it can boost to a higher clock speed in order to give increased performance.

4.L3 cache

A larger L3 cache results in faster CPU and system-wide performance.

5.L1 cache

Unknown. Help us by suggesting a value. (Intel Xeon E7-4870)

A larger L1 cache results in faster CPU and system-wide performance.

6.L2 cache


A larger L2 cache results in faster CPU and system-wide performance.

7.L2 core



More data can be stored in the L2 cache for access by each core of the CPU.

8.clock multiplier

The clock multiplier controls the speed of the CPU.

9.Has an unlocked multiplier

✖Intel Xeon E5-2690

✖Intel Xeon E7-4870

Some processors come with an unlocked multiplier which makes them easy to overclock, allowing you to gain increased performance in games and other apps.


1.Supports ECC memory

✔Intel Xeon E5-2690

✔Intel Xeon E7-4870

Error-correcting code memory can detect and correct data corruption. It is used when is it essential to avoid corruption, such as scientific computing or when running a server.

2.maximum memory bandwidth



This is the maximum rate that data can be read from or stored into memory.

3.DDR memory version

Unknown. Help us by suggesting a value. (Intel Xeon E7-4870)

DDR (Double Data Rate) memory is the most common type of RAM. Newer versions of DDR memory support higher maximum speeds and are more energy-efficient.

4.maximum memory amount


The maximum amount of memory (RAM) supported.

5.RAM speed



It can support faster memory, which will give quicker system performance.

6.memory channels

More memory channels increases the speed of data transfer between the memory and the CPU.

7.bus speed

Unknown. Help us by suggesting a value. (Intel Xeon E5-2690)

Unknown. Help us by suggesting a value. (Intel Xeon E7-4870)

The bus is responsible for transferring data between different components of a computer or device.

8.bus transfer rate


The bus is responsible for transferring data between different components of a computer or device.

9.eMMC version

Unknown. Help us by suggesting a value. (Intel Xeon E5-2690)

Unknown. Help us by suggesting a value. (Intel Xeon E7-4870)

A higher version of eMMC allows faster memory interfaces, having a positive effect on the performance of a device. For example, when transferring files from your computer to the internal storage over USB.


1.uses multithreading

✔Intel Xeon E5-2690

✔Intel Xeon E7-4870

Multithreading technology (such as Intel’s Hyperthreading or AMD’s Simultaneous Multithreading) provides increased performance by splitting each of the processor’s physical cores into virtual cores, also known as threads. This way, each core can run two instruction streams at once.

2.SSE version

SSE is used to speed up multimedia tasks such as editing an image or adjusting audio volume. Each new version contains new instructions and improvements.

3.Has AES

✔Intel Xeon E5-2690

✔Intel Xeon E7-4870

AES is used to speed up encryption and decryption.

4.Has AVX

✔Intel Xeon E5-2690

✖Intel Xeon E7-4870

AVX is used to help speed up calculations in multimedia, scientific and financial apps, as well as improving Linux RAID software performance.

5.bits executed at a time

Unknown. Help us by suggesting a value. (Intel Xeon E5-2690)

Unknown. Help us by suggesting a value. (Intel Xeon E7-4870)

NEON provides acceleration for media processing, such as listening to MP3s.

6.front-end width

Unknown. Help us by suggesting a value. (Intel Xeon E5-2690)

Unknown. Help us by suggesting a value. (Intel Xeon E7-4870)

The CPU can decode more instructions per clock (IPC), meaning that the CPU performs better

7.Has F16C

✖Intel Xeon E5-2690

✖Intel Xeon E7-4870

F16C is used to speed up tasks such as adjusting the contrast of an image or adjusting volume.

8.Has FMA3

✖Intel Xeon E5-2690

✖Intel Xeon E7-4870

FMA3 is used to speed up tasks such as adjusting the contrast of an image or adjusting volume.

9. Has FMA4

✖Intel Xeon E5-2690

✖Intel Xeon E7-4870

FMA4 is used to speed up tasks such as adjusting the contrast of an image or adjusting volume.


1.Cinebench R20 (multi) result

Unknown. Help us by suggesting a value. (Intel Xeon E5-2690)

Unknown. Help us by suggesting a value. (Intel Xeon E7-4870)

Cinebench R20 is a benchmark tool that measures a CPU’s multi-core performance by rendering a 3D scene.

2.Cinebench R20 (single) result

Unknown. Help us by suggesting a value. (Intel Xeon E5-2690)

Unknown. Help us by suggesting a value. (Intel Xeon E7-4870)

Cinebench R20 is a benchmark tool that measures a CPU’s single-core performance by rendering a 3D scene.

3.Geekbench 5 result (multi)

Unknown. Help us by suggesting a value. (Intel Xeon E5-2690)

Unknown. Help us by suggesting a value. (Intel Xeon E7-4870)

Geekbench 5 is a cross-platform benchmark that measures a processor’s multi-core performance. (Source: Primate Labs, 2022)

4.Geekbench 5 result (single)

Unknown. Help us by suggesting a value. (Intel Xeon E5-2690)

Unknown. Help us by suggesting a value. (Intel Xeon E7-4870)

Geekbench 5 is a cross-platform benchmark that measures a processor’s single-core performance. (Source: Primate Labs, 2022)

5.PassMark result

Unknown. Help us by suggesting a value. (Intel Xeon E7-4870)

This benchmark measures the performance of the CPU using multiple threads.

6.PassMark result (single)

Unknown. Help us by suggesting a value. (Intel Xeon E7-4870)

This benchmark measures the performance of the CPU using a single thread.

7.performance per watt

Unknown. Help us by suggesting a value. (Intel Xeon E7-4870)

This means the CPU is more efficient, giving a greater amount of performance for each watt of power used.

8.Blender (bmw27) result

Unknown. Help us by suggesting a value. (Intel Xeon E5-2690)

Unknown. Help us by suggesting a value. (Intel Xeon E7-4870)

The Blender (bmw27) benchmark measures the performance of a processor by rendering a 3D scene. More powerful processors can render the scene in less time.

9.Blender (classroom) result

Unknown. Help us by suggesting a value. (Intel Xeon E5-2690)

Unknown. Help us by suggesting a value. (Intel Xeon E7-4870)

The Blender (classroom) benchmark measures the performance of a processor by rendering a 3D scene. More powerful processors can render the scene in less time.

Price comparison


Which are the best Enterprise CPUs?

Intel Melds Xeon E5 And E7 With Skylake

We have been saying for the past two year that the impending “Skylake” Xeon processors represented the biggest platform architectural change in the Xeon processor business at Intel since the transformational “Nehalem” Xeon 5500s that debuted back in March 2009 into the gaping maw of the Great Recession.

There is no global recession breathing down the IT sector’s neck like a hungry wolf here in 2017, eight years and seven chip generations later. But Intel is facing competitive pressures from AMD’s Naples Opterons, IBM’s Power9, and the ARM collective (mainly Cavium and Qualcomm at this point, but Applied Micro is still in there), and it is also trying to stretch the Xeon’s across more diverse customers and workloads, and that means the Skylakes warranted something more than just coming out with new cores coming in a refined 14 nanometer process and slapping the Xeon E5 and E7 labels on them. As it turns out, the Skylake Xeons will make a break with the past and change in the way that CPUs – and sometimes adjacent accelerators for compute and network – will be engineered and sold.

The Wall Between DP And MP Comes Down

For as long as Intel has been peddling processors for the datacenter, it has chips aimed at different segments of the market, starting with the “Foster” generation of Xeons back in 2001, which came in DP variants for two-socket servers and MP variants aimed at four-socket boxes. Intel sold processors for two-socket machines before then, but allowing greater SMP scalability required different chipsets (often done by third party chipset makers but also by Intel) and changes to the cache structure on the die as well as different ratios of cores, cache and main memory, and peripheral I/O as these were all scaled up by Moore’s Law manufacturing advances.

In the mid-2000s, Intel broke the server processor line into three chunks, with the Xeon 3000 series being aimed at single socket machines, the Xeon 5000s being aimed at machines with two sockets, and the Xeon 7000s for machines that had four sockets and sometimes more with the help of third party chipsets. These divisions more or less correspond to the current Xeon E3, E5, and E7 categories that Intel has used since the Nehalem days but which became a regular, predictable pattern starting with the “Sandy Bridge” Xeon processors. Sometimes Intel offered versions of the E7 that scaled down to two sockets as well as to four or eight sockets or E5s that scaled up to four sockets to address specific needs – the latter for a cheap, dense virtualization and database engine. But generally, this pattern has held. Intel has then offered specific tweaks within the E5 and E7 groups that had fewer cores and higher clock speeds or more cores and lower clock speeds than the standard parts, and indeed, within the latest several generations of the E5 there are multiple distinct chips. With the “Broadwell” generation for instance, there are three different E5 chips that top out at 10, 15, or 24 cores on the dies as well as a single E7 chip with a maximum of 24 cores; the E7s are more ruggedized and have memory subsystems that have buffer chips on them to support large main memory and high bandwidth.

With the Skylakes Xeons, Intel is doing one important thing that will make life easier for both server makers and their customers, and it is something we told you about two years ago. And that is that it is moving from two distinct motherboard sockets – the Socket R3 aimed at dual-processor Haswell and Broadwell Xeon E5s and the Socket R1 aimed at the Haswell and Broadwell Xeon E7s – to a single Socket P that will be used by all of the Skylake Xeons that might otherwise have been given the Xeon E5 and E7 brands. By moving to a single socket design, motherboard makers will be able to design fewer motherboards to support what we presume will be a more diverse set of processors, and this should cut costs for all parties – from motherboard makers to system sellers to end user customers.

This converged Xeon E5 and Xeon E7 platform, as we have discussed in the past, is code-named “Purley” by Intel, and it will scale from two sockets up through four and on to eight without requiring any external chipsets from third parties. (It is not clear if third parties will make chipsets to scale out Skylake Xeons beyond eight sockets, but rest assured we will find out.) From what we know, the Skylake Xeons will top out at 28 cores, and as best we can figure, this is what the top bin part will look like:

Starting with the Skylake Xeons, which will be called the Xeon Processor Scalable Family, there will be four distinct flavors of Xeon processors, and the chip maker is going Olympic and then some on its naming conventions:

It would be tempting to think that these four different categories – Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum – will roughly correspond to the three different Xeon E5 variations – Low Core Count, Middle Core Count, and High Core Count as they are called internally – and one Xeon E7 variant that we have seen in the past. Intel is not saying precisely what features will be on what metallic level of the Skylake Xeons, but what we know for sure is that the Skylake cores in this Xeon Scalable family will support larger on-chip L1 and L2 caches per core as well as the normal bump in L3 cache size that comes with a redesign. Lisa Spelman, general manager of the Xeon Products and Datacenter Marketing Group at Intel, tells The Next Platform that the Xeon E3, which was upgraded to the Skylake cores more than a year ago and which was just recently upgraded to the Kaby Lake cores, and the Xeon-D system on chip that was created for hyperscalers that is an amalgam of sorts between a Xeon E3 and Xeon E5 chip, will remain distinct from this converged Xeon E5 and E7 family. As far as we know, there will be no formal single-socket version of these Skylake Xeons, but there will be nothing that will prevent a motherboard maker from creating a single socket board if they want to sell it.

Spelman also confirmed that the entire Skylake family – meaning all four variants of what is called the Skylake-SP to distinguish it from the Skylake-H used in the Xeon E3 v5 family – would launch at the same time, and that there would not be a staggered rollout as we have seen in the past, with the two-socket Xeon E5s coming first, followed by the Xeon E7s, and then the four-socket Xeon E5s. This is good for a number of reasons. For one, server makers and buyers will be able to select the systems that meet their very precise needs right then, and not have to guess what might be coming down the pike in the rest of the family. This will also help Intel get on an annual cadence for both processor generations and process iterations, something that the company has said it wants to do and something that is necessary if the Xeon server chips will move to the front of the process line, as is the plan starting with the 7 nanometer manufacturing ramp.

Intel has a lot of different toggles it can switch on and off within this Skylake-SP processor family to generate a wide and deep SKU stack, and we expect it to do just that. Intel can ramp the cores up and down and turn HyperThreading on and off as it has done in the past. As far as we know, each Skylake-SP chip has six channels of DDR4 memory per socket, with registered and load-reduced DIMMs as options. The processor will support 2. 67 GHz memory with one DIMM per channel and 2.13 GHz or 2.4 GHz at two DIMMs per channel; three DIMMs per channel, which was supported on the prior “Grantley” server platform based on the Haswell Xeon E5 v3 and the Broadwell Xeon E5 v4 processors, is not available on the Purley. Intel could distinguish the Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum processors in the Skylake-SP Xeon family by memory speed as well as the number of DIMMs supported. The Bronze entry performance chips could have support only for slower memory, and less of it, while the Platinum versions aimed at high performance could have the fastest memory and more of it. It is not clear if Intel is keeping the buffered memory that has been part of the Xeon E7 architecture but not in the Xeon E7. Spelman did not reveal Intel’s plan here. This is an annoyance to add to the server platform, but it does allow for main memory to scale up on large four-socket and eight-socket NUMA machines. What is clear from what Intel has said is that the Skylake Gold processors will have fast memory, more interconnect and accelerator engines, while the Skylake Platinums will have the highest performance (by which Intel no doubt means throughput) as well as hardware enhanced security.

Our guess is that there might be three different versions of the Skylake-SP chips, roughly corresponding to the Xeon E5 LCC, MCC, and HCC variants and that Intel has actually collapsed the Xeon E5 HCC and Xeon E7 capabilities into the Skylake Platinum variant. The Gold and Platinum chips are distinguished by which features are turned on and off with the Skylake die and the broader Purley platform.

For instance, it is not a foregone conclusion that the AVX-512 vector instructions, which made their debut with the “Knights Landing” Xeon Phi processor last year and which doubles the floating point performance of each core, will be included on all variants of the Skylake-SP chips. That said, machine learning inference is still largely done on CPUs, not GPUs or FPGAs, and this will be important for the hyperscalers as well as for the HPC crowd. Some variants will have integrated Omni-Path network controllers or FPGA accelerators (over time), for instance; all will have integrated 10 Gb/sec Ethernet controllers. It looks like the top-bin Platinum parts will have integrated QuickAssist encryption and decryption engines.

In general, there is a rough correlation in socket count with the different Skylake-SP variants, too. The Bronze level has two-sockets, and Spelman says this might be used in a storage controller or as a Web server, while the four socket and above machines will be based on the Platinum variant. Intel is moving to a technology it calls UltraPath Interconnect, or UPI, with the Skylakes, which is an upgraded version of the QuickPath Interconnect that links sockets to each other in a NUMA shared memory setup that made its initial debut back with the Nehalem Xeons in 2009.

As far as we know, each Skylake-SP chip will have two or three UPI channels, running at 9.6 GT/sec (same as the top end Broadwells) or a faster 10.4 GT/sec. You burn two channels to make a tightly coupled two-socket NUMA system or to make a slightly less tightly coupled four-socket server and you burn three channels to make a tightly coupled four-socket box or a slightly less tightly coupled eight-socket machine.

If the design has not changed, then each Skylake-SP has a pair of PCI-Express controllers that together have 48 lanes, and two years ago, this was supposed to be at PCI-Express 3.0 speeds but Intel may have pushed to get PCI-Express 4.0 speeds in here. Intel could crimp some of the lanes on the lower-end Skylake-SP chips to encourage those with more peripheral expansion to move up the stack. We shall see.

The Purley platform will build out from here with flash and Optane 3D XPoint memory as well as external FPGA and Nervana neural networking co-processors, and the Xeon Phi is thrown in for good measure, too.

It will be interesting to see if the aggregate SKU count goes up, down, or sideways by moving to this new way of packaging Xeon chips for the core datacenter workloads. In the past, Intel has dozens of SKUs that it sells into the broad market, plus additional custom SKUs that it does for hyperscalers, database makers, and HPC shops that need some further optimization to minimize their total cost of ownership.

“We took this opportunity to be thoughtful about our SKUs,” says Spelman. “We don’t want a never-ending explosion of SKUs. We are always looking at what is being accepted by the market and then cull the line. But when you do start to add in new integrations, like Omni-Path, those are net new SKUs even if you have managed down the rest of the product line. So don’t expect to see a dramatic difference, but don’t expect to see an explosion.”

There will still be custom variants that do not end up on the official price list, by the way, because Intel still wants to not leave this engineering and money on the table.

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Difference Between Xeon E5 and E7 Processor: Which One to Choose?

Intel E5 and E7 processors are costly and demand a comprehensive analysis before choosing one of them to buy. So, today I will talk about the significant differences between E5 and E7 processors.

E5 processors can run on single, dual, or even quad sockets. In comparison, E7 processors can run on a quad and Octo sockets. E5 processors support AVX (Advanced Vector Extensions), and E7 processors support SSE (Streaming SIMD Extensions). Remember, E5 doesn’t support SSE, and E7 doesn’t support AVX.

Would you like to know about the differences in detail? Then be my guest through the end of the article. So, shall we begin?

Quick Navigation

What are E5 and E7 Processors?

E5 is one of Intels’ Xeon processors mainly built for server management. It has ×86 microprocessors and supports multi-socket configuration. Intel E5 Xeon processors have 4 to 22 cores on different variants with CMOS technology.

Intel E5 Xeon processors consist of 3,200,000,000~7,000,000,000 transistors. E5 can operate at 1.7GHz~3.6GHz. The whole E5 series is built on Broadwell microarchitectural pattern. E5 has 16MB~50MB of cache size. 

Until 2016, before the release of Intel Platinum, E7 used to be the most premium Xeon processor. Like E5, E7 has ×86 microprocessors. E7 supports up to Octo socket sockets configuration. E7 performs at 1.9GHz~2.9GHz with 3,200,000,000~7,000,000,000 transistors.

E7 processors have 24MB~60MB of smart cache and build on Broadwell microarchitectural pattern. Now that you know about E5 and E7 processors specification, let’s talk about their jurisdiction.

Intel has designed E5 and E7 processors to handle large data servers, cloud computing, simulation, and advanced security technology. Not just that, cloud hosting, I/O connectivity, and advanced analytics are the areas of Xeon processors’ expertise.

What are the Differences Between E5 and E7 Processors?

Have you got some ideas about E5 and E7? If so, let’s draw a line between them to compare. 

Socket Compatibility

Intel Xeon E5 processors run with single, dual, or quad-socket configurations. On the other hand, E7 processors support single, dual, quad, and even Octo socket configurations. You can select the compatible motherboards to run corresponding E5/E7 processors with these configurations.

Smart Cache Size

With additional cache size, PC tends to operate faster—a lesser cache stores less operating information. So, heavy tasks like data management and simulation require the extra cache to perform smoothly. E5 processors have 16MB~50MB smart cache, and E7 processors have 24~60MB smart cache size.

Core Count

As Xeon processors manage big data, advanced security, or cloud computing, they are built with more cores than consumer processors. E5 processors have 4 to 22 cores in their build. On the contrary, E7 processors have up to 24 cores.

Clock Speed

Xeon processors have a lower clock speed than the “Core i” series. Because Xeon processors have more cores to handle diversified tasks.  Core i series has fewer cores. That’s why each core has to perform at its peak.

E5 has a base clock speed of 2.3GHz and can be boosted up to 3.6GHz, with an underclocking speed of 1.7GHz. E7 has a base clock speed of 2.4GHz and 2.9GHz with turbo-boosting. In addition to that, E7 has an underclocking speed of 1.9GHz.

E5 vs E7: Which One Should I Choose?

Unarguably, E7 has better features than E5. But when choosing between them, it’s better to compare the value for money proposition rather than just the features. Well, the choice primarily depends on several factors. Let’s discuss them.

Memory Bandwidth

So, it’s already been discussed that E5 and E7 are for server management. If you want to build B-B business data storage or an extensive data server, E7 is ideal. E7 offers 25% more memory bandwidth than an E5 processor. 

E7 supports DDR3-1333 and has a maximum memory bandwidth of 85 GB/s. It does 1600 MT/s and has 8 memory channels. E5 v3 platform has a maximum memory bandwidth of 64 GB/s and supports DDR4-1600.

CPU Performance

If you want to build a B-C business server or advanced security server, E5 will edge out an E7 processor. 2xE5 has 10% better CPU performance than a 1xE7 processor.

But why have I taken 2xE5 processors and one E7? Well, both of the settings have an equal price range. So, it’s better to go for 2xE5 processors than a single E7.

Power Consumption

While building a server, nobody cares for electricity bills, right? But what if you can save extra money by choosing a more power-efficient processor?

E5 has a thermal design power (TDP) of 85 watts. E7 has a thermal design power (TDP) of 130 watts. With more cores, E7 is bound to consume more power.

But, I would not recommend you choose a processor solely based on power consumption. Performance and memory bandwidth should be a priority.

Then again, you would need more than one processor to build an efficient server. So, power consumption may be a secondary priority, but you shouldn’t ignore the fact.


Is Xeon E5 better than i7?

If used for cloud computing or extensive analytical research, Xeon E5 is better than i7. But for gaming and video editing, i7 offers a better value for money proposition than Xeon E5.

Is Xeon OK For Gaming?

Yes, Xeon is OK for gaming. But it will be overkill to use a Xeon processor for gaming. Xeon processors are designed and built for extensive data management.

Is Xeon Slower Than i7?

While multitasking, Xeon processors are faster than i7. But for the single or dual threaded tasks, i7 is more rapid than Xeon.

Can Xeon Processors be Used in Desktop?

Yes, Xeon processors can be used on desktops. But as Xeons are built for heavy data management, it is recommended to use them in servers and workstations.

What is Intel Xeon Equivalent to?

In terms of clock speed, Intel Xeon processors are equivalent to i7/i9. But it is entirely wrong to compare Xeon processors and core i series. Because both the lineup have completely different fields of work.


E7 is an automatic pick for heavy data management and cloud computing with a more smart cache size and superior memory bandwidth. But for better CPU performance, 2xE5 is the to go for. Simulation and advanced security setup require better CPU output than memory size. So, make your decision and choose your priority.

I hope my articles have helped you. If you have any further questions, drop them in the comment section.

Xeon E5 vs. Core i7

Read this article at

Written on May 15, 2015 by Matt Bach


Always look at the date when you read a hardware article. Some of the content in this article is most likely out of date, as it was written on May 15, 2015. For newer information, see our more recent articles.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. CPU Specifications
  3. CPU Features
  4. Motherboard Compatibility
  5. Xeon vs. Core i7 Performance
  6. Conclusion


If you take a close look at the certified configurations we offer here at Puget Systems you will find that while we are a high-end custom PC builder, we actually only have a single system (the Deluge XL) that utilizes the Intel Core i7 High End processors. We don’t have any problems with the Core i7 High End CPUs, we simply feel that there is a better option in most situations: the Intel Xeon E5 CPUs.

A number of years ago, we started moving more of our systems over to the Xeon E5 CPUs to the point that all of our Genesis systems (which are designed primarily for content creation) now exclusively use Xeon processors. Every once in a while, we get a customer who asks us why we are using server CPUs instead of the «faster» Core i7 CPUs. This is an understandable question since Intel puts a lot of money into marketing the Core i7 processor lines to consumers, but almost nothing on marketing the Xeon CPUs to that same demographic.

The short of the matter is that — core vs core and frequency vs frequency — Xeon CPUs are just as fast as Core i7 CPUs. There are differences in the product lines that may make either Xeon or Core i7 a better choice for your situation, but if you take a Xeon E5 CPU and a Core i7 CPU that have the same specs the performance in any task will be identical.

In addition to backing up this claim by examining a set of benchmarks, in this article we are also going to go over the differences between Xeon E5 and Core i7 High End CPUs to help you understand when one or the other would be the better choice for your system.

CPU Specifications

To start off, we are going to take a look at the basic specifications of the High End Core i7-5XXX, single socket Xeon E5 v3, and dual socket Xeon E5 v3 CPUs (which can be used as either a single CPU or in a dual CPU configuration). There are other product lines out there (including quad socket Xeon E5, Xeon E7, and low voltage models) but for this article we are going to focus just on the standard CPUs from these three product lines:

Product Line # of Models Cores Base Frequency Max Boost Frequency Smart Cache TDP ~MSRP
High End Core i7-5XXX 3 6-8 3-3.5 GHz 3.5-3.7 GHz 15-20 MB 140W $389-$999
Single Socket Xeon E5 v3 5 4-8 3-3.7 GHz 3.5-3.8 GHz 10-20 MB 140W $294-$1,723
Dual Socket Xeon E5 v3 20 4-18 1.6-3.5 GHz 1.6-3.7 GHz 10-45 MB 85-160W $213-$3,888

The chart above is a huge simplification of these product lines, but it is much easier to see the main product line differences when it is compressed like this. Alternatively, we have a chart that lists the individual specifications for all 28 CPUs collapsed below the chart. If you want to see all the full specs for each CPU, you can view them at the Intel Ark pages:

  • Intel Ark High-end Core i7 Compare
  • Intel Ark Xeon E5 Single Socket Compare
  • Intel Ark Xeon E5 Dual Socket Compare

The main thing we want to point out here is simply the shear amount of options Xeon E5 CPUs give you. Compared to the three Core i7 CPUs, there are five single socket Xeon E5 v3 and twenty dual socket Xeon E5 v3 CPUs. Where you are limited to either six or eight cores and a frequency range of just 3-3.5GHz with the Core i7 CPUs, you can choose from between four and eighteen cores and a frequency range of 1.6-3.7GHz with the Xeon E5 v3 CPUs.

If you look at the individual models, you will also see that the Core i7 CPU are not even really unique. The i7-5960X has the same specs as the E5-1660 v3 and the i7-5930K has almost the same specs as the E5-1630 v3 (just a . 1GHz lower maximum Turbo Boost). Even price-wise they are not that different. The i7-5930K and E5-1650 v3 have the exact same $593 MSRP and the Core i7-5960X is only about $80 cheaper than the Xeon E5-1660 v3. 

Really, the only unique Core i7 CPUs is the i7-5820K — not because it is better, but because it only has 28 PCI-E lanes versus the 40 PCI-E lanes all the other CPUs have. 

CPU Features

Looking at just the specifications, it would appear that there is not much that differentiates a Core i7 and Xeon CPU. This is because the main differences are not spec-based, but rather the features found in each product line:

Product Line Overclocking Support Max CPUs Max Memory ECC RAM Support VPro VT-x/VT-d TXT
High End Core i7 Yes 1 64GB No No Yes No
Single Socket Xeon E5 v3 No 1 768 GB Yes Yes Yes Yes
Dual Socket Xeon E5 v3 No 2 768 GB Yes Yes Yes Yes

Really, the one advantage the Core i7 CPUs have is that they support CPU overclocking. The Xeon CPUs can use twelve times as much memory as the Core i7 CPUs, support ECC RAM, and include support for vPro and TXT. While vPRO and TXT may not be that important for most users, the ability to utilize large amounts of ECC RAM is extremely useful in certain situations.

Motherboard Compatibility

After explaining to a customer how the only advantage of Core i7 CPUs is that they support overclocking, the next question is often: «but what if I don’t want to use a server board?» Many server boards don’t have features like onboard audio, USB 3.0, SLI support, or have more than a handful of USB ports. Luckily, you do not need a server board in order to use a Xeon E5 v3 CPU.

While most desktop boards will not have support for vPro and TXT, we have been able to use Xeon E5 v3 CPUs and registered ECC memory on every ASUS and ASRock X99 board we have tried without few, if any, problems. The eight RAM slots on most X99 boards will limit you to a maximum of 256GB (8x32GB) of RAM instead of the 768GB the Xeon CPUs technically support, but that is the only issue we’ve seen. In fact, we are currently using Xeon E5 v3 CPUs on the ASUS X99 Deluxe motherboard on all of our Genesis I and Genesis I Quiet Edition systems. This lets us have up to 18 cores and 256GB of RAM in a workstation without giving up desktop features like USB 3.0, onboard audio, or WiFi.

The only caveat is that X99 motherboards may not officially list support for Xeon E5 v3 CPUs or registered ECC memory. For example, the Asus X99 Deluxe board we use lists only a handful of Xeon E5 CPUs as being supported, and never mentions anything about registered ECC RAM. We know they work on that board since we have thoroughly tested it, but it is entirely possible another brand or model may use a BIOS that does not allow for Xeon or Registered ECC memory to be used.

Xeon vs. Core i7 Performance

After looking at the specifications and features of Xeon and Core i7 CPUs, it is clear that you can get the same or higher operating frequency and core count from a Xeon CPU. However, even though the Core i7-5XXX and Xeon E5 v3 CPUs use the same architecture we sometimes hear claims that Core i7 CPUs are «optimized for speed» while Xeon CPUs are «optimized for reliability».

The reliability aspect is pretty easy for us to address — we have only had a single Core i7-5XXX CPU fail and no Xeon E5 v3 CPUs fail from the hundreds we have sold so both are extremely reliable. The question of whether Core i7 CPU’s are faster, however, requires a little bit more work. To debunk this myth, we ran a set of benchmarks on a Core i7-5960X and a Xeon E5-1660 v3. These are actually the only Core i7 and Xeon E5 CPU that are completely identical in terms of specifications. Both of these CPUs have 8 cores, 3.0GHz base frequency, 3.3 GHz all core Turbo Boost, and 3.5 GHz maximum turbo boost.

For our test system, we used the following hardware:

Xeon CPUs are typically used with ECC or Reg ECC RAM which is technically slightly slower than standard memory. In order to see if Reg ECC RAM affects performance, we will be testing the Xeon E5-1660 v3 with both standard RAM and Reg ECC RAM. This will allow us to test if — core for core and GHz for GHz — a Core i7 CPU is faster than a Xeon E5 v3 CPU or not.



We are not going to delve too deep into these results since they are pretty straight-forward. There is anywhere from a 0-2% variance in performance across our tests, but which CPU is faster changes from benchmark to benchmark. The funny thing is that the Core i7-5960X was actually not the faster CPU. Most of the time, the E5-1660 v3 was actually a hair faster (although the difference is arguably within the margin of error for these kinds of benchmarks).

If you average out all these results, the E5-1660 v3 with standard RAM was overall the fastest, followed by the i7-5960X with about a .25% performance drop. Lastly, the E5-1660 v3 with Reg ECC memory was about .4% slower than the E5-1660 v3 with standard RAM (or about .16% slower than the i7-5960X). According to our benchmarks, this means that the E5-1660 v3 is actually overall faster than the Core i7-5960X. However, the difference is so minuscule that the difference we saw is likely to be caused by normal testing variations or minor differences in manufacturing batches.


To sum up this article, there are four main points we want to make:

  1. Clock-per-clock, Core i7-5XXX and Xeon E5 v3 CPUs have identical performance
  2. Xeon E5 v3 CPUs have a much wider range of models than Core i7-5XXX CPUs allowing for higher (and lower) core counts and a wider range of operating frequencies
  3. Xeon E5 v3 CPUs have much higher RAM capacity through the use of Registered ECC memory (768GB versus 64GB)
  4. You do not need a server board to use a Xeon E5 v3 CPU. Most X99 motherboards work great even with Reg ECC memory (although Reg ECC memory is usually not officially supported)

So why would you ever buy a Core i7-5XXX CPU instead of a Xeon E5 v3? What it comes down to is that Core i7 CPUs are usually slightly cheaper than their Xeon E5 v3 counterparts and they allow for CPU overclocking. If you do not plan on overclocking, we highly recommend you consider using a Xeon instead of a Core i7 CPU. You get a much wider range of options — which allows you to get exactly the core count and frequency that is best for your application — and the capability to have huge amounts of system RAM. Even if you don’t ever anticipate needing more than 64GB of RAM, having the option for future upgrades is almost never a bad thing.

Tags: Xeon, Core i7

Intel Xeon E7-4820 vs Intel Xeon E5-4620 v3

  • Intel Xeon E5-4620 v3 Processor’s has 10 Cores.
  • Intel Xeon E5-4620 v3 Processor’s has 20 Threads.

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