Sunday, April 08, 2007

Article: The Little Intel® Xeon® X3210 that could (Part I)...

The Little Intel® Xeon® X3210 that could (Part I)
The processor has been out for quite some time already, but save for the the few and really elite forum postings, I haven't seen much action, review or otherwise, coming from this processor. It is not very surprising, since most of the focus has been on the Intel® Core™ 2 Duo and Intel® Core™ 2 Extreme brand of processors. Most people I spoke with, looked at these processors from a "dual core" point of view, and have relegated their thoughts that quad core is solely for the Intel® Core™ 2 Extreme QX6700 and the Clovertown (Intel® Xeon® X5300 series) processor.

The Clovertown (Intel® Xeon® X5300 series) being based on LGA771, dwindles down the interests of PC users with the "Xeon" name, and this is why many of those I have spoken with are unaware of a quad core solution based on LGA775. This is our youngest quad core Intel® Xeon® X3210 (2.13GHz/2x4MB L2/1066MHz) on the test bench, and it will go head to head against an upcoming Intel® Core™ 2 E6420 (2.13GHz/4MB L2/1066MHz).

In this Part I, a quick look at the stock benchmark will be explored, and on Part II, overclocking will be done. Expand to check out the benchmark...

Disclaimer: This is an ES CPU, retail may or may not have changes from this sample.

::Processor Specifications::

The Intel® Xeon® X3210 has the following specifications:

  • sSpec: ES^

  • Frequency: 2128 MHz (2.13GHz)

  • Core: Kentsfield

  • Process: 65nm

  • Package: LGA775

  • Core Voltage: 1.19v

  • Bus Speed: 266MHz

  • L2 Cache: 2x4096KB^

  • Multiplier: 8

  • Stepping: B3-7

  • Thermal Specification: 62.0°C

  • Thermal Guideline: 105.0W

  • Platform Compatibility: ??

  • EM64T: Yes

  • Execute Disable: Yes

  • Hyperthreading Technology: No

  • Virtualization: Yes

  • Core per Package: 2x2

  • L2 Cache per Core: Shared 2x4096KB^

::Test Set Up::
Processor(Reference Stock Cooler):
Intel® Xeon® X3210(2.13GHz) Quad Core
Intel® Core™ 2 E6420(2.13GHz) Dual Core

Motherboard: Asus® P5B Deluxe BIOS 1004
Memory: Apacer Value DDR2-800MHz 2x1024MB(CL5-5-5-18 SPD)
Hard Drive: Seagate* Barracuda 120GB SATA RAID 0
Video Card: nVidia* 7900GTX 512MB
Power Supply: Delta 650W EPS12V (server grade)
Chassis: N/A

::Benchmark Methodology::
For benchmarking, at least three (3) runs will be made for each benchmark. From the scores, the lowest and highest score will be discarded, reducing the random spike in results and ensuring better consistency of results. Note that more than three (3) benchmark runs can be executed to validate any inconsistency or abnormality that may arise.

For temperature gathering, Core Temp Beta 0.95 will be used along with SpeedFan v1.32 and the motherboard's own software. From the readings of all three software, assuming they all worked, an analysis will be done to derive the most accurate temperature reading. An external temperature reader, Coolermaster Aerogate II, will be used as well for additional reference. For multicore system, the temperature reading for both idle and load will be based on the highest reported temperature of all the cores.

::Stock Benchmarks::
Doom3: Low Quality-640x480

3DMark Benchmarks:
3DMark01: Overall

3DMark03: Overall and CPU

3DMark05: Overall and CPU

3DMark06: Overall and CPU

Aquamark03: Overall and CPU

::Multimedia/Multitasking/Multithreading Benchmarks::
Cinebench: Render Score

Cinebench: Render Time

PCMark05: Overall


SANDRA: Multimedia

wPrime: 32M

SuperPi: 1M

::Memory Benchmark::
SANDRA: RAM Bandwidth



::Closing Thoughts::As can be seen by the benchmark, the quad core server-class processor is faster and better in most, if not all, of the benchmarks. It is interesting that older FutureMark 3D benchmarks 3Dmark01, and 3DMark03 favors the dual core Conroe than the quad core Kenstsfield. I have repeated several tests and rechecked all settings, from the memory timing to other setting sin the BIOS and can't find any difference between the dual core and quad core test set up. 3DMark05 is pretty interesting, as the overall score for the Intel® Xeon® X3210 processor is lower than Intel® Core™ 2 Duo E6420, and the same goes for Aquamark03. However, the difference is not very significant. I'll check this more later, as the chipset i965P may not be optimized for the processor and number of cores.

SANDRA's RAM bandwidth may explain the difference, but I don't have enough data to conclude anything solid. In applications that take advantage of quad core, the server processor flexes its muscle and shows who's the boss. Take for example, the the Cinbench Multi-CPU score and render time. wPrime 32M is also solidly handled by the processor.

The procesor is superb, working smoothly with even just the stock cooler. The processor can work even at a low voltage of 1.175. This can be a very able workhorse, consuming reasonable wattage to deliver its performance. Overall, the Intel® Xeon® X3210 is a very capable processor that can work even with a mainstream desktop chipset based on i965P, truly, an unsung processor that "can" perform!

In the next article, I will be overclocking the processor and see how far I can go. That is all for today, FanBoy out...

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