System News
Configuring and Optimizing Intel Xeon Processor 5500 & 3500 Series
How Best to Configure a System with Memory
August 12, 2009,
Volume 138, Issue 2

As a general rule to optimize memory performance, DIMMs should be populated in sets of three, one per channel per CPU.

-- John Nerl, Sun
 

Learn how to configure and optimize Intel Xeon Processor 5500 and 3500 series systems in a Sun blog by John Nerl. He discusses the processors' memory subsystem and population guidelines and explains how to optimize the processors for capacity, performance and power. This detailed technical entry demonstrates that users will need to determine what aspects of these processors' offerings are best for their specific environment and configure accordingly.

The July 3rd blog begins with an update to a previous posting Nerl had published back on April 14th when Intel's Xeon processors 5500 series were originally launched. Essentially, the update regards Sun's support of 1333MHz with up to 2 DIMMs per channel installed, although Intel officially supports a maximum 1066MHz memory bus speed with two single or dual-rank DIMMs per channel populated. Nerl points out that this increase in bus speed results in up to 12% memory bandwidth improvement while preserving idle latency and increasing memory power by 5-8% depending on the DIMMs that are installed.

He directs interested readers to download Software 1.2 for Sun Fire x2270 systems and Software 2.0 release for Sun Fire x4170, x4270, x4275, x6270 and x6275 platforms to enable the two DIMM per channel operation at 1333MHz.

Information regarding this update is incorporated throughout the configuration tips and bandwidth and power tables Nerl provided in his first entry, which is reprinted in the July update. In conclusion, Nerl writes:

"The data presented indicates there are trade-offs to be made regarding how to best configure a system with memory. As each application will have unique requirements, processor memory bus speed capability, capacity, performance and power are all factors that must be considered as part of the process. Sun's Intel Xeon Processor 5500 Series and Intel Xeon Processor 3500 Series platforms offer tremendous capability and flexibility to optimize performance and capacity tailored to a specific need."

More Information

Update to: Configuring and Optimizing Intel Xeon Processor 5500 & 3500 Series (Nehalem-EP) Systems Memory - John Nerl's blog, July 3, 2009

Nerl's original blog - posted April 14, 2009

Resources on Intel Xeon processor 5500 series (Nehalem) - from Tushar Katarki's Weblog

Information on Intel and the Xeon Processor 5500 Series - from System News archives

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Other articles in the Intel section of Volume 138, Issue 2:
  • Configuring and Optimizing Intel Xeon Processor 5500 & 3500 Series (this article)

See all archived articles in the Intel section.

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