Wondering whether a Xeon-based workstation could be right for your needs? We spoke with Graham Tucker, the ANZ Technical Manager at Intel to get his thoughts.
When should I consider a Xeon processor?
“Xeon processors are targeted at professional users, particularly people like architects, graphic artists, photographers and video editors. Any professional who depends on applications that require high reliability and performance will benefit from a Xeon-based workstation.
“If you compare Xeon processors with desktop Core i7 processors, the Xeon has more cores and can address more memory. Some applications can take advantage of more cores and memory, others cannot. Some examples of applications that benefit from the features of Xeon processors are CAD, photo and video processing applications. Even small businesses that operate with large inventories and data sets can benefit from using a Xeon processor.
“Consider reliability. For example, if an architect or a graphic designer loses a day’s work through a hardware failure, the cost would be considerable. Whenever you’re using a lot of memory, the chances of failure are higher. One of the key features a Xeon processor has over a Core i7 is ECC (Error-Correcting Code) memory. ECC memory enables better data integrity and system reliability through the correction of memory bit failures.”
How do I choose the right Xeon for me?
“There is a larger range of Xeon processors than Core desktop processors. Xeon processors have up to 18 cores (some with hyperthreading) and up to 45MB of last level cache. Not all Xeons are supported by specific Xeon workstation board and system designs. If you are building your own workstation, it is advisable to check the manufacturers tested and supported list.”
When might a PC enthusiast use a Xeon-based system?
“Putting aside the business uses, any PC enthusiast who does a lot of multitasking could benefit from the many cores of Xeon. For example, if you’re multitasking using many high performance applications simultaneously, then you may utilise more cores of the Xeon processor.
“Similarly, anyone who makes use of virtualisation capabilities, such as for software development or sandboxing, will also benefit from more memory and cores. Typically Xeon will support multiple CPUs better than Core i7 desktop processors.”
Will a Xeon-based system be energy efficient?
“The energy efficiency of the Xeon processor range is comparable to the Core i7. The difference is a Xeon-based system may give you the same performance as two desktop computers if you could consolidate the additional applications supported by Xeon.”
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