The Intel Xeon Platinum processor has been all over the news lately, and for good reason. This new processor is a powerhouse designed especially for hosting large networks, but it has other uses as well. This article covers everything you need to know about the Intel Xeon processor.
So What Exactly is the Intel Xeon Processor?
The Intel Xeon Platinum Processor, or simply the Intel Xeon, is a specialized processor that was made to ensure optimal performance from servers. An ideal server balances two qualities, the Throughput or TPT – which is the capacity it can provide – and the Per Core Performance or PCP – which tells you how quickly it performs necessary tasks. The latter of these is more important though; no amount of increased TPT can compensate for inadequate PCP.
The Intel Xeon processor is one of Intel’s latest launches, and it is both fast and reliable in that it ensures an excellent TPT and PCP ratio for servers and thus ensures optimum performance. Before we get into the specifics of the Intel Xeon, please note that the benchmark we will be using is the Intel Core i7 processor, one of their most popular processors and a cult favorite. By looking at this topic in terms of the Intel Xeon vs the i7, we can gain some better perspective.
The Pros: What Makes the Intel Xeon So Great?
So what exactly is it about the Intel Xeon processor that has got everyone so hyped up? Let’s look at certain aspects of the Xeon that make it a superior processor.
The Number of Cores
We know now that the Intel Xeon Platinum processor has better PCP, but another thing that similarly impacts the performance of a processor is the number of cores that it contains. More cores are beneficial in that they can improve speed and responsiveness when you are running multiple CPU intensive programs simultaneously (they can help your CPU temperature stay low). The Intel Xeon has over 24 cores, whereas the Intel Core i7 has about 18 cores.
More L3 Cache Space
CPU cache is a memory reserve which is used to store all the information that the processor needs. More cache space means, again, more efficient simultaneous running of multiple programs. The Intel Xeon has 35 MB of cache space available, whereas the i7 6700k has 8 MB available and the i7 Extreme has 25 MB.
Better Endurance for Higher Server Activity
Since the Intel Xeon is built especially for a server environment, it can handle a much higher volume of server activity; running for 24 hours a day. This means higher endurance and greater longevity than almost every other processor, including the i7, and it is also what makes the Xeon line an excellent choice for businesses that have a lot of server activity.
The ECC RAM Option
ECC stands for Error Checking and Correction, and ECC RAM is a specialized memory that is designed to search for errors and corrupt files before they even occur. ECC RAM is highly beneficial to businesses especially because it can prevent system crashes which are caused by errors. The Xeon offers this rare option.
The Cons: Are There Any Downsides to the Intel Xeon?
While the Intel Xeon processor is an amazing choice for businesses, in some ways it may not be the best for every website, and some personal users, like gamers. Here are some potential downsides.
Not the Best Graphics
The most obvious potential downside of the Intel Xeon series is that these processors may not have onboard graphics at all. Look, computers running on the i7 processor do have onboard graphics, which means you don’t need to use a discrete video card for them if you are planning to not do a lot of gaming (or other graphically intensive task). In contrast, the Xeon series has integrated graphics in some models, but it is not designed with gaming in mind. Take a look at some of the best CPUs for gaming instead.
Regardless, the Intel Xeon processor is still the superior choice for video rendering or 3D software.
Relatively Lower Clock Rates
This is another potential issue; Xeon processors have lower clock rates as compared to other processors, including the i7. But clock rate is not something that will concern every user – since servers tend to run tasks in parallel much more than desktops do, we still feel that clock rate isn’t nearly as important as the core count; in which the Xeon is obviously superior.
Is the Xeon Best For Your Business?
So, should your business upgrade to the Xeon processor? It all depends on how extensive your business is and what your needs are. If your business has servers large enough to benefit from the additional cores, then yes, go ahead and upgrade. Intel recommends taking full advantage of their Xeon processors by pairing them with their Solid-State Drives.
The ECC RAM option is also great for ensuring maximum uptime, and the sheer longevity of the Xeon processors makes them a worthy investment as well. For first-class hosting, your business cannot do better than the Xeon processors.
Should Gamers Upgrade to the Xeon?
The Intel Xeon is designed for workstation computers, but that doesn’t mean only businesses can use it. PC users can use the Xeon for its efficient handling of even the most intensive creative applications like 4K video editing, computer-aided design, and 3D rendering. But what about gaming? Should gamers consider getting the Xeon processor?
Even though the Xeon can be a great option for gaming computers (especially if you are looking to build a budget gaming computer), there are several caveats. For one, Xeon processors cannot be overclocked, which is a popular technique used by gamers to boost performance. Intel Core processors, like the i7, can be overclocked. That being said, given the extraordinary processing power and speed of the Xeon processors, it is unlikely that you will even need to overclock if you get the right processor for your needs. However, enthusiast gamers should still go with the safer option and stick to a Core or Ryzen series processor.