Intel unveils Skylake Xeon E3-1200 v5 CPUs for entry-level CAD workstations

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Intel has released details of its new ‘Skylake’ Xeon E3-1200 v5 processors that will soon appear in entry-level workstations such as the recently announced HP Z240 and Dell Precision Tower 3620.

There are eight workstation-class models in total. All are quad core processors and three include integrated graphics. The standout feature is support for up to 64GB of DDR4 memory (ECC or non-ECC), a step up from previous generation Xeon E3-1200 series CPUs which peaked at 32GB.

Despite having eight processors in total, the GHz does not vary massively between the models – starting at 3.0GHz in the Intel Xeon E3-1220 v5 ($193) and rising to 3.7GHz in the flagship Intel Xeon E3-1280 v5 ($612).

It is the Intel Xeon E3-1270 v5 ($328) and Intel Xeon E3-1275 v5 ($339) that stand out for mainstream CAD use. At 3.6GHz both are just 0.1GHz shy of the flagship Intel Xeon E3-1280 v5 but only cost a little over half the price.

The Intel Xeon E3-1275 v5 also includes integrated Intel HD Graphics P530, which should appeal to entry-level 3D CAD users who don’t want to fork out for a dedicated Nvidia Quadro or AMD FirePro add-in GPU.

CAD users that were hoping to see the more powerful Intel Iris Pro Graphics P6300 make its Skylake debut will be disappointed for now. Intel said it is not making any disclosures on future versions of the E3-1200 v5 with Intel Iris Pro graphics integrated at this time.

Intel Iris Pro Graphics P6300 is available in the Intel Xeon E3-1200 v4 family of processors, which are based on Intel’s Broadwell microarchitecture. However, as Intel says this CPU line was designed for data centre usage including remote workstation delivery, we are yet to see Iris Pro Graphics P6300 appear in a mainstream desktop workstation.


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