Three Generations of Intel Xeon E3 Processors Compared: Patrick on Tom’s Hardware

Supermicro 5037 and 5038 Interior Drive Swing
Supermicro 5037 and 5038 Interior Drive Swing

As those who follow the site regularly know, I write for Tom’s Hardware on occasion, specifically focused in the area of server and workstation hardware. Today, my latest piece comparing three generations of Intel Xeon E3-1200 series processors was published on Tom’s Hardware. This has certainly taken quite a bit of bandwidth on my part just to get testing completed.

Overall, a few editorial points I will comment on:

  1. We have not seen much demand from a server side with the Intel Xeon E3 integrated GPU. It is clearly a workstation part
  2. For the record, I do think that Intel should merge the Core i7 and Xeon (workstation) line, allowing all of those chips to use ECC memory
  3. Performance between the E3-12×5 and Core i7 line is so similar, as are speeds, that I would look to the E3 line if not overclocking
  4. The Supermicro test servers both performed very well. I would have liked to have seen an 80Plus Gold or Platinum level power supply included but the difference at idle (the majority of system time) is negligable and the difference at peak was <4w compared to a Seasonic Gold rated unit
  5. Writing that review was a blast!

Head over to Tom’s Hardware to check the article out.

One other note: after a day or so of Avoton testing, I will say that the Intel Xeon E3-1220 is going to come under a lot of pressure. For systems that are powering slightly lighter processing loads, the Avoton and Rangeley platforms are likely to make a lot more sense since two can essentially fit in the power envelope of one Intel Xeon E3-1220 V3 system.

More to come on both fronts over the next few months, but there is certainly a huge amount of attention being given to web front ends and cold storage applications that are common in today’s Web 2.0 infrastructures.


  1. Patrick, I’ve got an old X9SCM-F motherboard at home with a Pentium G630 in it. It uses ECC memory just fine. Maybe I’m missing something, but what is stopping the i7 from using ECC other than the motherboard/chipset support? (Random aside to that: Why does the motherboard even matter? The Supermicro won’t boot without ECC memory, even though the memory controller is on the CPU, not on the board.)

  2. Nice review Patrick made the more interesting with the complete lack of other reviews on these SuperWorkstations. Been looking at this board for a while but getting my own case, psu. Any advantages in buying the SuperWorkstation instead ?


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