At the heart of the Intel Grizzly Pass server are the Intel LGA2011 Sandy Bridge EP processors. In our particular server Intel sent it with a pair of the Intel Xeon E5-2660 processors. The Xeon E5-2660 alone retails for a measly $1347.28 after shipping. There are lower cost alternatives to the Xeon E5-2660, which of course will mean lower performance, but if you don’t need all the performance offered by the E5-2660 you may as well save a few bucks. The Xeon E5 series range from the E5-2603 quad core processor which retails for $223.36, up to the Xeon E5-2690 which retails for $2078.10. Most likely Intel has a processor in the Xeon E5 family that will suite your needs of your server. Not surprisingly, Intel has done a fantastic job on the new Sandy Bridge-EP Xeon E5 processors. When it comes to sheer performance they simply blow away the previous generation Intel Xeon 5600. Possibly the most impressive part is that Intel was able to pack this much computing power into a 2U server, which is astonishing. We would guess it is only a matter of time until these amazing CPU’s are available in a 1U server or as a blade.
The components that Intel used on the R2000GZ work fantastically together to provide simply amazing performance. The only minor gripe on the server the difficulty in routing cables and having the plastic airflow shield fit. It does all fit, but adding memory ends up being a fairly annoying task as replacing the shield properly requires getting several cables to stay exactly where they are required to be during the procedure. With this only needing to be done extremely rarely on servers this is a very minor issue. Outside of this minor headache however all the hardware is put together very well and is rather easy to access for maintenance even compared to other manufacturers models of a similar form factor.
Looking at the performance numbers, this server would be an excellent virtualization server as well, easily able to power multiple heavily loaded VM’s. In fact with the broad range of I/O options that Intel has included or made available, I struggle to find a real-world workload we could reasonably throw at this machine that it would struggle with.
Since each of the Intel Xeon E5-2660 processors has eight cores plus hyper-threading, the Intel Grizzly Pass server has a total of 32 threads of processing power. When the Windows task manager was opened up for the first time, we couldn’t help being impressed by the look of 32 threads. It’s hard to imagine that just a few short years ago we were oohing and aahing over dual core processors! It’s amazing how fast and far the technology has come in the last decade or so.
Legit Bottom Line: Overall the Intel R2000GZ ‘Grizzly Pass’ is a well built and amazingly fast server. The Intel Xeon E5-2660 processor is an immense powerhouse of a processor, sure to keep Intel as king of the server world for some time to come.