A couple of months ago we reviewed a few of the newest six-core Intel commercial CPUs that are also used in low-end servers. Intel has also launched some quad-core models, which we are focusing on today. These Xeon E quad-core processors compete directly against AMD's Ryzen Pro product line, focusing on manageability, ECC memory support, and guaranteed product longevity.

Xeon E: the New Xeon E3

When Intel moved away from its Xeon E5/E7 naming scheme for its server processors, there was a substantial outcry from IT procurement everywhere. By removing a system that was well known and replacing it with exotic metal names such as Xeon Platinum, Xeon Gold, Xeon Silver, and Xeon Bronze, everyone knew it would mean relearning Intel's product segmentation rules and also teaching it to the executives that would sign off on purchasing rules. The mainstream server market was not the only one to go through a name change - the popular workstation processor models were renamed Xeon W, and the last domino to fall was the Xeon E3-1200 processor line, now named Xeon Entry, or E for short.

Intel Xeon Naming Strategy
Servers E7-8000 'v1' v2 v3 v4 Xeon SP Platinum
Xeon SP Gold
Xeon SP Silver
Xeon SP Bronze
E7-4000 'v1' v2 v3 v4
E7-2800 'v1' v2 - -
E5-4600 'v1' v2 v3 v4
E5-2600 'v1' v2 v3 v4
E5-2400 'v1' v2 v3 -
Workstations E5-1600 'v1' v2 v3 v4 Xeon W
  E5-1400 'v1' v2 v3 - - - - -
Mobile E3-1500M - - - - v5 v6 E-2100 ?
Consumer E3-1200 'v1' v2 v3 v4 v5 v6 E-2100 E-2200?
Comms E3-1100 'v1' v2 - - - - - -
Network Xeon-D - - - D-1500 D-2100

The latest launch, which would have been the Xeon E3-1200 v7, becomes the first generation of Xeon E-2100, bringing it in line with the workstation processors (Xeon W-2100) and the networking/compute crossover family (Xeon D-2100). Intel launched 11 processors, a range of quad-core and six-core parts, using the Coffee Lake microarchitecture. 

In our previous review, we tackled the six core parts: the E-2186G, the E-2176G, the E-2146G and the E-2136 processors. This time around we are focusing on the quad-core parts we have tested - the E-2174G, the E-2134, and the E-2104G. For these processors, the final digit shows the core count, and the G indicates integrated graphics.

The Xeon E family are derivatives of the consumer processor line, but instead are locked to C236 chipset motherboards but support ECC memory. This means they primarily fit into the commercial market, where businesses will have prebuilt systems with error correcting memory for data safety. These processors also support vPro, enabling management features across a network, and both virtualization options (VT-x and VT-d) that enable the parts for virtualized networks.

Xeon E-1274G, Xeon E-1234

The Xeon E-2174G is the top quad-core processor of this line, with hyperthreading and with a 3.8 GHz base frequency and a 4.7 turbo frequency. As we discovered in our six core review, these processors and the motherboard manufacturers tend to stick to the strict Intel defaults when it comes to power management, unlike the consumer motherboard segment. This means we should expect it to perform similar to consumer processors in single-threaded tests, but in multithreaded expect it to max out at its all-core turbo frequency. At 71W for TDP, we would expect this to also be the sustained load power consumption too.

Xeon E-2104G

The E-2134 is a lower clocked variant without graphics, however the E-2104G is far more interesting. This processor is an off roadmap part, meaning it isn't sold to retail or distributors, but to specific OEMs that wanted this configuration. In this case, it is a lower TDP quad-core processor (65W rather than 71W) with no turbo frequency -  3.2 GHz all the time when at load. It still has integrated graphics, but has the lowest turbo frequency at 1100 MHz.

Xeon E-2104G doesn't show up on Intel's Database 'ARK' under Xeon E, as it is off-roadmap

Alternatives to Xeon E

From Intel, if you still want a Xeon, then the Xeon Scalable line has some low frequency six core Bronze processors that are at $350. If you don't need ECC or manageability options, then Intel's consumer parts offer extra performance. 

From AMD, these Xeon Entry processors compete up against the Ryzen Pro family, which offers similar management options (through DASH), as well as ECC support (depending on the motherboard), long term stability, and a wider range of options from eight core to quad core. The Ryzen Pro parts are identical in specifications to their desktop counterparts. For anyone looking for the Ryzen Pro chips in retail packaging though, you're out of luck - AMD only sells these to OEMs. Unfortunately we haven't been sampled these parts either - we only have a solitary SKU I purchased from China with my own money.

Pages In This Review

  1. Analysis and Competition
  2. Test Bed and Setup
  3. 2018 and 2019 Benchmark Suite: Spectre and Meltdown Hardened
  4. CPU Performance: System Tests
  5. CPU Performance: Rendering Tests
  6. CPU Performance: Office Tests
  7. CPU Performance: Encoding Tests
  8. CPU Performance: Web and Legacy Tests
  9. Gaming: Integrated Graphics
  10. Gaming: World of Tanks enCore
  11. Gaming: Final Fantasy XV
  12. Gaming: Shadow of War
  13. Gaming: Civilization 6
  14. Gaming: Ashes Classic
  15. Gaming: Strange Brigade
  16. Gaming: Grand Theft Auto V
  17. Gaming: Far Cry 5
  18. Gaming: Shadow of the Tomb Raider
  19. Gaming: F1 2018
  20. Power Consumption
  21. Conclusions and Final Words
Test Bed and Setup
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  • dgingeri - Monday, March 11, 2019 - link

    It would be interesting to get comparative data on the 2124G and the 2126G to see if 4/8 or 6/6 would perform better.
  • dgingeri - Monday, March 11, 2019 - link

    er, sorry, meant the 2144G, not the 2124G.
  • Stuka87 - Wednesday, March 13, 2019 - link

    In my experience, real cores perform better than hyper-threaded cores. So I would be on the 6/6.
  • yankeeDDL - Monday, March 11, 2019 - link

    Is it me of the $328 xeon often loses (and sometimes by a sizable margin) to the $199 Ryzen 2600?
  • RSAUser - Monday, March 11, 2019 - link

    Definitely, but here the power envelope is important for the test, which Anandtech doesn't seem to give. It's quite worrisome how most of those Xeons are operating outside of their power envelope, that E-2174G that you are referring to is pulling 85W for a rated 71W, so Intel gives a P2 power limit. Why bother with the normal TDP then? The 2600 seems to be owning price/performance and TDP/performance. Question there is EEC memory support, and the guarantee/testing including with Xeons. That's why I mentioned including TR in the benchmarks, or at least the 2700X.

    This is going to be interesting when AMD releases their 7nm products.
  • SaturnusDK - Monday, March 11, 2019 - link

    All AMD CPUs based on Zen or Zen+ supports EEC RAM. It's up to the MB manufacturer if they have included the support on their MBs. For any workstation build where you don't need the memory bandwidth or superior number of PCIe lanes the TR series offer, you'd use the Ryzen Pro series, not the consumer desktop series.
  • mode_13h - Monday, March 11, 2019 - link

    I seem to recall reading that at least some of the Zen-based APUs are lacking ECC-support. I'd love to be proven wrong...
  • notashill - Tuesday, March 12, 2019 - link

    AMD has directly confirmed that all Raven Ridge APUs support ECC.

  • Yorgos - Sunday, March 17, 2019 - link

    You seem to know nothing.
  • ondma - Monday, March 11, 2019 - link

    The 2600 goes over its TDP as well. It actually goes over its TDP by 20%, pretty much the same percentage as the hex core Intel cpus. And as usual, Anand is using an antiquated dgpu for the gaming tests.

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