There have been a few interesting developments on the hardware front over the past week that I want to cover today. First, Intel has released the new Core i7-2700K processor, which is their new top of the line desktop CPU. It is basically identical to the older Core i7-2600K, except that it has a 100MHz higher base clock speed (3.5GHz), and a 100MHz higher Turbo Boost clock speed (4.0GHz).
Looking at the table below, you can see how the i7-2700K compares to the upcoming (next month?) Sandy Bridge-E processors. The sweet spot for the Sandy Bridge-E will be the Core i7-3930K, which will have six cores, plus hyper-threading. It has nearly the same clock speed as the i7-3960X, with a slightly smaller L3 cache, at a 40% lower cost.
Last week, AMD finally released their long anticipated Bulldozer desktop processor line, led by the FX-8150. Most of the reviews that I have seen for Bulldozer have shown pretty disappointing single-threaded performance for this processor. It has done better on multi-threaded tests, which could be a hopeful sign for database performance, especially for reporting or data warehouse workloads. I cannot wait until someone does some benchmarks against the server equivalent of this processor, which will be the Opteron 4200 and 6200 series.
Finally, there have been a lot of stories about the effects of the recent flooding in Thailand on the hard drive market, with a large percentage of the production capacity of the major hard drive manufacturer’s being under water. This has already had a significant effect on prices, and it will affect availability for quite some time. This might increase the feasibility of SSDs, which is at least a small silver lining.