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November 2017

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Page 21 of 43 20 POST NOVEMBER 2017 Wo r kstati o n s & Proces so rs SPECIAL REPORT: PROCESSORS: THE DRIVING FORCE BEHIND THE WORKSTATION BY JON PEDDIE workstation can be anything from a remote workstation in a virtual machine mode, to an ultra-powerful machine that is a small supercomputer. And while they come in various form factors with a sleek exterior design, it's what is in the inside that really counts. And that includes the processors — the GPU and CPU. Moore's law is the basic enabler that gives us transistor improvements, but that's not all there is to it. The processors themselves get new fea- tures and functions with every generation, so it's a triple improvement — speed, performance and power reduction. When Intel x86 processors were first deployed in a workstation with Windows, back in 1997, one of the salient features was an integrated float- ing-point processor. Since then, expanded mem- ory managers, security and communications were added, and it went from one 32-bit core to 28, 64-bit cores, plus a 512-bit SIMD processor and transcoder engines. Intel has been leading the workstation CPU market for years, and the previous generation processor, the Broadwell, was a performance leader that delighted millions of workstation users. Intel continued with its processor devel- opments and introduced the next generation of Intel Xeon processors for workstations — the Intel Xeon Scalable processor (dual-socket capable) and the Intel Xeon W processor (single-socket capable). Both processors are built on the Skylake architecture, with more cores, higher frequency, more cache, expanded memory management and PCIe lanes. NAME GAME To differentiate the workstation-class Xeon pro- cessors from the server-class processors, Intel has added the "W" designation to the name. Intel designs its CPU architecture and gives it a code name; in this case it is Skylake. That design can find its way into many different form factors, from laptops to supercomputers. The processor is also named, such as an Intel Xeon Platinum processor. And those processors get used in a A COMPARISON OF FOUR-YEAR-OLD WORKSTATION WITH A NEW SKYLAKE WORKSTATION CPU MODEL CPU Release Date: Cores 2013 8 2017 10 CPU Clock Speed Memory Capacity 3.9 GHz 256 GB 1866 MHz 4.5 GHz 512 GB Memory Speed 2666 MHz INTEL XEON E5-1680V2 INTEL XEONW 2155 POW E R TO TH E P EO P LE

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