Maximising Performance for Xeon 5600 and Xeon E5 Series Servers
How you use memory — and which type you use — requires an understanding of how to balance low power, capacity and performance. In this document, one in a series of Kingston Best Practice Guides for configuring memory, Kingston offers guidance and advice on how to optimise capacity for the Xeon 5600 and Xeon E5-2600 processors.
Keep in Mind
- Memory configuration choices affect memory speed and overall server performance.
- Memory speed and bandwidth in servers is increasing to accommodate applications requiring high performance.
- For best performance, use Dual Rank memory modules in 1DPC (DIMM Per Channel) or 2DPC configurations. Populating the third memory bank with 3DPC may drastically lower the memory speed.
- Avoid Quad Rank memory since it will lower memory speeds to 1066MHz in 1DPC and 800MHz in 2DPC configurations; this is true for both the Intel 5600 and Xeon E5 series servers.
- Some platforms (for example, Cisco) run all memory at a uniform speed for Xeon 5600 servers. In those cases, follow the configurations suggested in the server’s specifications.
Know Your Processor's Capability
Check the processor model you selected for the maximum memory speed it can support.
- Xeon 5600 processors can support 1333MHz or 1066MHz.
- Xeon E5 v2 series processors can support up to 1866MHz at 1.5V or 1600MHz at 1.35V, while Xeon E5 series processors only support up to 1600MHz at 1.5V or 1333MHz at 1.35V.
Maximise Memory Performance
Check the memory support rules for the server platform you are configuring.
In general (based on Intel chipset specifications) the maximum performance memory rules are:
- Xeon 5600 series processors:
- Up to two RDIMMs per channel or 2DPC (six modules per processor in triple-channel configuration).
Note: In fully loaded configurations on servers that provide nine memory sockets per processor, 5600 processors will run the memory at 800MHz.
- Xeon E5 series processors:
- Up to two RDIMMs per channel or 2DPC (eight modules per processor in quad-channel configuration)
In fully loaded configurations on servers that provide twelve memory sockets per processor, Xeon E5 series processors will run the memory at 1066MHz 1.5V.
- Xeon E5 v2 series processors:
- Up to one 1866MHz RDIMM per channel, or 1DPC (four modules per processor in quad or triple-channel configuration).
- Up to two 1600MHz RDIMMs, or 2DPC (eight modules per processor in quad or triple-channel configuration).
Note: In fully loaded configurations on servers that provide twelve memory sockets per processor, Xeon E5 v2 series processors will run the memory at 1066MHz 1.5V / 800MHz 1.35V.
Pick The Memory Modules To Reach Desired Capacity
If you can use higher-capacity modules, you can leave one socket open per channel for future upgrades; this expands memory headroom for future use. Here are two examples:
- For Xeon 5600 processors, instead of six 4GB modules per processor, use three 8GB modules per processor to allow for another upgrade of three modules per processor when more memory is needed.
- For Xeon E5 series processors, instead of eight 4GB modules per processor (with no upgrade possible without compromising memory bandwidth performance), use four 8GB modules per processor to allow for another upgrade of four modules per processor when more memory is needed.
Suggested Kingston Memory Modules
Select only Dual Rank memory modules.
- Xeon 5600:
- 4GB, 8GB, 16GB 1333MHz memory (1.5V)
- Xeon E5 series:
- 4GB, 8GB, 16GB 1600MHz memory (1.5V)
- Xeon E5 v2 series:
- 8GB or 16GB 1866MHz memory (1.5V)
- 8GB or 16GB 1600MHz memory (1.5V or 1.35V)
About Kingston Memory Best Practices Guides
This guide to maximizing memory performance is one in a series of “Kingston Memory Best Practices” for configuring memory. Other guides in the series provide the information and product considerations needed to maximise capacity and minimise power usage. Kingston also offers an experienced pre-sales technical support staff to help you determine which configuration is ideal for your environment.
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