Intel Xeon X5650 Deal Spotted

Posted February 14, 2014 by Patrick Kennedy in Client Tips
Intel LGA 1366 Xeon Box

Recently several forum members have been finding deals on Intel Xeon X5650 processors. Typical prices obtained on ebay have been in the $115 to $135 range. For those wondering, the Intel Xeon X5650 is a 6 core/ 12 thread Westmere-EP processor with 12MB of cache. TDP is significantly higher than the 60w TDP Intel Xeon L5520′s and 60w TDP Intel Xeon L5640′s we have seen recently. The 32nm transition to Westmere-EP saw a significant reduction in idle power consumption so for cases where a dual socket system sits idle mostly but needs a burst of processing power the X5650 may be a good option. Here is a quick table showing some of the differences between these three processors:

Xeon L5520 Xeon L5640 Xeon X5650
Cores 4 6 6
Threads 8 12 12
L3 Cache MB 8 12 12
Process 45nm 32nm 32nm
TDP (w) 60 60 95
Base Frequency 2.26 2.26 2.66
Turbo  n/a 2.8 3.06
System Bus (GT/s) 5.86 5.86 6.4
Max Memory Speed 1066 1333 1333
AES-NI No Yes Yes
Current ebay price (click for search) $25-40 $163 $115-140

I have four Intel Xeon X5650 chips on order. Early reports seem to show that they work in the Dell C6100 XS23-TY3 systems without issue. Hopefully in the next week or two I should be able to get benchmarks up for these using benchmarking script.

If you do a quick ratio of (cores * frequency) to TDP the Xeon L5640 is the efficiency leader. The 60w TDP Xeon L5520 generally loses in that equation both looking at non-turbo and turbo frequencies (the L5520 does not have turbo clocks.) The main benefit is that for some applications 2.26ghz is not fast enough. For these applications, the Xeon X5650 is better suited to this type of work. A prime example may be a game server where clock speed is generally very important. Further, as encryption has become more important having onboard AES-NI is reason enough to upgrade for many admins. 

Overall, the low power chips will remain popular. The lower idle of the 32nm process, low initial cost and the ability to scale frequencies for single threaded task may make these chips popular upgrade options, especially for those looking for more power than their Nahelem-EP chips can provide. To make it easy here is an ebay search I used to find deals.

About the Author

Patrick Kennedy

Patrick has been running ServeTheHome since 2009 and covers a wide variety of home and small business IT topics. For his day job, Patrick is a management consultant focused in the technology industry and has worked with numerous large hardware and storage vendors in the Silicon Valley. The goal of STH is simply to help users find some information about basic server building blocks. If you have any helpful information please feel free to post on the forums.



    Great find. Got mine for 120

    Snowed in

    Me too thanks for for the tips. I had the X5660 in a search but I can get 2 for less than the price of one.


    Actually, the L5520 does have turbo clocks, they’re just not as impressive as the other chips. The L5520 has a turbo multiplier of 2 (2.533GHz) with 1 core active and 1 (2.4GHz) with up to 4 cores active.

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