In Q4 of 2015 we saw many Intel Xeon E5-2670 (V1) and E5-2660 (V1) chips hit the market at greatly reduced prices. We wrote an initial piece when they hit $190 per chip and a follow-up a few weeks later when they fell to $130 per chip. As of early January 2016, several sellers have these chips listed for around $105 and rumor has it that some are accepting best offers in the $90 range. That is a total price drop of over $100 in about 10 weeks.
The move from the Intel Xeon 5500/5600 to the E5 generation is a fairly large one as it allows for 4 DIMMs per channel (higher memory or lower cost using lower density modules). It also was the first generation where Intel removed the traditional northbridge and started to support PCIe 3.0. Removing the northbridge had a significant impact on power consumption and the E5-2600 V1 generation chips benefit from being a second generation 32nm part. With prices falling, the Intel Xeon 5500 generation is starting to look too old for new deployments and the Xeon 5600 generation is not far behind.
Here is a link to the latest ebay Intel Xeon E5-2670 pricing: ebay Intel Xeon E5-2670 search results (sorted by lowest price first).
We last benchmarked the chips in 2013 which you can see here: Intel Xeon E5-2670 benchmarks. They are certainly capable processors. Here is a quick UnixBench multi-threaded comparison between the dual E5-2670 and some other older generation processors. One can see almost double the performance with these chips over dual Xeon L5630’s.
Check the Great Deals Forum for more deals including those on systems (and post systems deals there if you find them!). Here is the official Intel E5-2670 V1 deal tracking thread that is active in the STH forums.
Finding platforms to accept these chips has been challenging. Two ideas are to check the STH Great Deals forum as several have come up recently. Alternatively, the STH For Sale/ For Trade forum is usually a good place to look for deals on rackmount gear that has been previously used by STH forum members.
The Intel Xeon E5-2670 V1 is an 8 core 16 thread chip that supports up to 1600MHz DDR3 RDIMMs and dual socket configurations. There are two major stepping versions to look for:
- SR0H8 is C1 stepping. VT-x is supported but VT-d is supposedly not supported
- SR0KX is the C2 stepping with the VT-d fix which may be important for virtualization pass-through
Generally the SR0KX chips carry a slight premium due to the later stepping.