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Eyes on the Intel Skylake Xeon E3-1200 v5


Intel’s Skylake architecture has been fairly well received, bringing general refinement to its predecessor. Intel’s E3 CPUs have filled a very important niche at the lower- and consumer- end.

These CPUs bring server-level features without the need for expensive server-grade hardware requirements. The E3-1200 v5 series makes use of the standard LGA 1151 socket and all models are quad core processors. Most versions support hyperthreading and therefore have eight threads, but a few models do not have hyperthreading, so keep an eye out for that if it's important.

Stock clock speeds range from 3 Ghz to 3.7Ghz. Turbo clock speeds range from 3.5 Ghz to 4 Ghz. In other words there are no surprises in terms of raw frequency for this family of CPUs.

Most E3-1200s have a TDP of 80W, but a few models are in the low-power class and only put out 45W and 25W respectively.

It should also be noted that not all of these CPUs have integrated graphics, which is great for server solutions that don’t need graphics hardware, but you should make sure to buy the right model if you want onboard graphics. Of those that do have graphics some have the premium Iris Pro chip and some have mainstream iGPU graphics. We’ve grown pretty used to Intel throwing in onboard graphics on almost every CPU, be sure not to accidentally buy the wrong version.

Compared to the E3-1200 v4 there are a number of important improvements. The v5 series now supports up to 64GB of DDR4, double that of the v4. There are now 20 Gen 3 PCIe lanes compared to 8 Gen 2s for the v4. There are now 10 USB 3.0 and 14 USB 2.0 ports compared to 6 and 8 ports on the v4. Finally, the v5 adds two SATA 6 GB/s bringing the total to 8.

Skylake has been a minor improvement over Broadwell, but Broadwell basically skipped the E3-1200 v4 series, so most current owners will be upgrading straight to Skylake from Haswell. Therefore these users will see a greater jump in power efficiency and functionality.

Price-wise the RRP for this series ranged from about $200 to $600 and there are plenty of models between those two points to choose from. For current v4 owners then,the v5 is a worthy upgrade.