For the several generations previous, it has become customary for the Xeon equivalents of consumer processors to hit the market several months later. We saw the launch of Kaby Lake on the consumer desktop in January, with quad-core parts up to 4.0 GHz coming to retail. The Xeon E3 launch will be in the similar vein to previous years, designed for entry-level workstations, small business servers and storage servers, and Intel’s main comparisons for these Xeons will be to replace similar builds that are more than three years old.

A total of eight processors will be launched today under the E3 v6 name, with some models receiving a corresponding low-power version later down the line. All desktop replaceable CPUs will be using the LGA1151 socket, the same as the previous generation E3 v5 Xeons.

Intel E3-1200 v6 CPUs (Kaby Lake)
  C/T Base Freq Turbo L3 Cache IGP IGP Freq TDP $
E3-1280 v6 4/8 3.9 GHz 4.2 GHz 8 MB - - 72 W $612
E3-1275 v6 4/8 3.8 GHz 4.2 GHz 8 MB P630 1150 MHz 73 W $339
E3-1270 v6 4/8 3.8 GHz 4.2 GHz 8 MB - - 72 W $328
E3-1245 v6 4/8 3.7 GHz 4.1 GHz 8 MB P630 1150 MHz 73 W $284
E3-1240 v6 4/8 3.7 GHz 4.1 GHz 8 MB - - 72 W $272
E3-1230 v6 4/8 3.5 GHz 3.9 GHz 8 MB - - 72 W $250
E3-1225 v6 4/4 3.3 GHz 3.7 GHz 8 MB P630 1150 MHz 73 W $213
E3-1220 v6 4/4 3.0 GHz 3.5 GHz 8 MB - - 72 W $193
E3-1205 v6* 4/4 3.0 GHz 3.0 GHz 8 MB P630 1000 MHz 65 W $193

*The E3-1205 v6 is 'off-roadmap', meaning it is not part of Intel's general release and usually produced at the request of a specific customer.

On the integrated graphics models, i.e. those ending in '5', are all running Intel HD P630 graphics and run up to 1150 MHz. This is the ‘professional’ version of the HD630 we see on the consumer parts, using Intel’s latest Gen9 graphics architecture and supporting H.265 encode/decode. Our Kaby Lake review piece goes into more detail.

The high-end E3 v6 parts will have a maximum base frequency of 3.9 GHz base and a 4.2 GHz turbo. All the parts listed have a full 8MB of L3 cache, and either be 72W for non-IGP models or 73W for IGP parts. As with other previous Xeons, these come with ECC memory support, vPro and other technologies Intel files under the professional level. In Intel’s presentations, Intel SGX (Software Guard Extensions) are included, however TSX (Transactional Extensions) were not listed.

Intel E3-1200 v6 and v5 CPUs
IGP v6 Model v5 IGP
- 3.9/4.2, 72W E3-1280 3.7/4.0, 80W -
+ 3.8/4.2, 73W E3-1275 3.6/4.0, 80W +
- 3.8/4.2, 72W E3-1270 3.6/4.0, 80W -
- - E3-1260L 2.9/3.9, 45W -
+ 3.7/4.1, 73W E3-1245 3.5/3.9, 80W +
- 3.7/4.1, 72W E3-1240 3.5/3.9, 80W -
- - E3-1240L 2.1/3.2, 25W -
- - E3-1235L 2.0/3.0, 25W +
- 3.5/3.9, 72W E3-1230 3.4/3.8, 80W -
+ 3.3/3.7, 73W E3-1225 3.3/3.7, 80W +
- 3.0/3.5, 72W E3-1220 3.0/3.3, 80W -
+ 3.0/3.0, 65W E3-1205* - -

It is worth noting that for LGA1151 based E3 v5 Xeons, Intel adjusted the requirements such that Xeon processors require a server grade chipset on the motherboard. For Skylake E3 v5 parts, this was either a C232 or C236 chipset – we reviewed a few motherboards with these on (ASRock E3V5 Gaming, GIGABYTE Z170X-Extreme ECC). With a BIOS update, these C232/C236 motherboards should support the new v6 processors.

For the E3 v6 line, Intel is not releasing new chipsets, deciding to stick with the C232 and C236 models. This means that users wishing to upgrade their E3 v5 system will have to wait for a BIOS update in order for the new CPUs to work. We have yet to receive word if the standard motherboard manufacturers are launching a new series of motherboards for this generation, however we suspect that several will do so.

With the no new motherboard chipsets being launched, it is, therefore, odd that Intel is announcing Optane Memory support with the E3-1200 v6 Xeons. This essentially means that Optane Memory support is already baked into the chipset, and it is merely a firmware approval of a CPU and chipset combination in order for it to be enabled. Intel states that only select E3-1500M v6 (mobile) and E3-1200 v6 (desktop) configurations will be available for use with Optane, and may only be provided on an OEM basis.

Intel Xeon E-Series Families (February 2017)
  E3-1200 v5 E3-1500 v5
E3-1500M v6
E5-1600 v4
E5-2600 v4
E5-4600 v4
E7-4800 v4 E7-8800 v4
Core Family Skylake Skylake Broadwell Broadwell Broadwell
Core Count 2 to 4 2 to 4 4 to 22 8 to 16 4 to 24
Integrated Graphics Few, HD 520 Yes, Iris Pro No No No
DRAM Channels 2 2 4 4 4
Max DRAM Support (per CPU) 64 GB 64 GB 1536 GB 3072 GB 3072GB
DMI/QPI DMI 3.0 DMI 3.0 2600: 1xQPI
4600: 1xQPI
Multi-Socket Support No No 2600: 1S/2S
4600: 1S/2S
1S, 2S or 4S Up to 8S
PCIe Lanes 16 16 40 32 32
Cost $213 to
$396 to
$294 to
$1223 to
$4061 to
Suited For Entry Workstations QuickSync,
Memory Compute
High-End Workstation Many-Core Server World Domination

Along with Intel’s announcement, we are seeing systems being launched with E3 v6 processors installed. Prices of the new parts are equivalent to the last generation.

To call out a big elephant in the room: Intel has more competition in this space than in previous years. Intel gives value to Xeon processors above consumer products, but Ryzen could potentially be an alternative to Intel. Aside from AMD, some of the positioning that Intel puts forward with the E3 could be taken up by Intel’s Atom offerings, Xeon-D, or even musings from ARM partners on new silicon designs. All being said, Intel is still expected to have the peak single thread performance for general purpose compute, and has the larger install base of customers and ready-to-go platforms. Performance per watt will be a key metric to monitor as well.

We have the E3 v5 processors in for testing on our new CPU test suite, and we hope that the E3 v6 units will arrive in due course. Stay tuned for those. 

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  • duploxxx - Wednesday, March 29, 2017 - link

    and that is because of? right the old staggering way of IT business, go with the known brand. 0 open mind.

    we have sold thousands of workstations and servers with opteron. Even today we still have the opteron in portfolio and selling it. 16 cores 6380 is still a bargain vs 8 real intel cores for same price. But yet in many countries its just not done even at a time when the price/perf was really in favor of opteron.
  • leexgx - Thursday, April 20, 2017 - link

    fazalmajid -

    ((( And yet AMD manages to include ECC support for free in Ryzen, not just Naples.
    It's price-gouging market segmentation by Intel, nothing less. ))))

    no RYZEN its Compatible with ECC modules, ECC is Not enabled on RYZEN at the moment (1bit correct and system stop on uncorrect is disabled unless motherboard makes like ASrock and ASUS manage a way to bypass it and enable it) and AMD might enable it later on but like intel they likely have more interest in enabling it only on workstation/server cpus
  • cbm80 - Wednesday, March 29, 2017 - link

    Oh yeah, Intel would definitely exit the server market if they couldn't charge for ECC. It's such a tiny, unprofitable market for them, it wouldn't be worth their time.
  • nwai2208 - Wednesday, March 29, 2017 - link

    In case you don't know, some models of Pentium, Celeron or even Atom have ECC support
    Yes, that critical feature is available to a $27 processor
  • extide - Wednesday, April 12, 2017 - link

    I think even i3's do -- they just don't want the i5/i7 to compete with these chips for people who want high perf AND ECC.
  • lazarpandar - Tuesday, March 28, 2017 - link

    You're factually correct but your implication isn't. Customers wouldn't benefit if Intel stopped practicing this 'rebranding exercise'.
  • prisonerX - Tuesday, March 28, 2017 - link

    You're factually incorrect, becuase your implication is incorrect. Overcharging for Xeons doesn't mean that Intel forgoes overcharging and under-featuring other products in their lineup. Only Intel's bottom line benefits.
  • lazarpandar - Tuesday, March 28, 2017 - link

    I actually wasn't implying anything, thanks.
  • prisonerX - Wednesday, March 29, 2017 - link

    Oops somehow I misread your "wouldn't"
  • benzosaurus - Tuesday, March 28, 2017 - link

    Explaining the bizarre situation where many consumer i3s actually do support ECC, but no consumer i5 or i7 does.

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