Intel Xeon D-2100 announced, a promising choice for efficient home lab datacenters?

Posted by Paul Braren on Feb 8 2018 (updated on Feb 13 2018) in
  • CPU
  • HomeLab
  • HomeServer
  • XeonD-2100
  • This article will be updated as I collect information, after a couple of days of personal travel to see a launch that happened to coincide with this Intel launch.

    It's been just one month shy of 3 years since I first wrote about the Intel Xeon D here at TinkerTry, which promised to deliver what I had hoped for in my home lab for years: the ability to run virtualization workloads efficiently and quickly 24x7. That promise has been fulfilled, evident in the dozens of articles featuring this little processor that could easily run your home lab or even small business, using any one of a very wide variety of operating systems/hypervisors.

    Last week, information about a Skylake-D based successor that's a tad more upscale (and power hungry) surfaced at a variety of sources, listed here.

    Then finally, yesterday, a follow-on to last summer's big announcement:

    arrived, with all the details emerged on this promising new Xeon D-2100. Unlike with the recent Intel 760p launch, I wasn't briefed in advance, but I've already taken some time to collect all the details you need to know about this next generation of Xeon D, as I work to try to get my hands on one for testing.

    Like I was in 2015, again I'm bullish about the prospects of this major product update for the home lab enthusiast. In my usual TinkerTry form, I'd like you to become a much more informed reader before you draw any conclusions yourself. Note that I've highlighted the key bits of information you're mostly likely to be interested in, at a variety of non-Intel sites too.

    First, let's touch upon Intel's press releases, noting that Intel wasted no time boasting planned Specter and Meltdown protection. Too soon?

    Intel Press Release

    • Intel Xeon D-2100 Processor Extends Intelligence to Edge, Enabling New Capabilities for Cloud, Network and Service Providers
      Feb 07 2018 at Intel Newsroom News Byte

      Intel today introduced the new Intel® Xeon® D-2100 processor, a system-on-chip (SoC) processor architected to address the needs of edge applications and other data center or network applications constrained by space and power.

      The Intel Xeon D-2100 processor extends the record-breaking performance and innovation of the Intel Xeon Scalable platform from the heart of the data center to the network edge and web tier, where network operators and cloud service providers face the need to continuously grow performance and capacity without increasing power consumption.
      The Intel Xeon D-2100 processors include up to 18 “Skylake-server” generation Intel Xeon processor cores and integrated Intel® QuickAssist Technology with up to 100 Gbps of built-in cryptography, decryption and encryption acceleration. In addition to those data protection enhancements, this product will be supported by system software updates to protect customers from the security exploits referred to as “Spectre” and “Meltdown.”

    This same announcement was also published at Business Wire - A Berkshire Hathaway Company here.

    Intel Xeon D-2100 Processor Family Product Brief

    Click to view the PDF, you may notice a pause as it downloads.
    • Intel Product Brief PDF.

      With a range of 4 to 18 cores, up-to 512 GB of addressable memory, this system-on-a-chip (SoC) has an integrated platform controller hub (PCH), integrated high-speed I/O, up-to four integrated 10 Gigabit Intel Ethernet ports, and a thermal design point (TDP) of 60 watts to 110 watts.


    Jennifer Huffstetler blog post at Intel IT Peer Network

    • Taking the Edge to New Heights

      Today, I’m thrilled to share that we have extended this capability to our Intel Xeon D processor line with the introduction of the Intel Xeon D-2100 processor family, which brings the ground-breaking Intel Xeon Scalable processor architecture to edge applications and other workloads that require power and performance density.
      The new Intel Xeon D-2100 processor brings advanced intelligence to a lower-power system-on-a-chip (SoC) for edge environments as well as other applications with space and power constraints, including power-sensitive web tier compute and storage infrastructure. The processor’s SoC form factor is optimized for lower power consumption and smaller size with integrated, hardware-enhanced network, security and acceleration capabilities in a single package.
      The Intel Xeon D-2100 processor offers up to 1.6x general compute performance1, up to 2.9x network performance2, and up to 2.8x storage performance3 as compared to the previous-generation Intel Xeon D-1500 processor. Today signals the general availability of the processor in the market, and we are working with industry leaders including Dell EMC, Ericsson, F5, NEC, NetApp, Palo Alto Net and Supermicro on to deliver solutions to our joint end-customers.

      To learn more about edge computing and the new Intel Xeon D-2100 processor, visit
      1 – Up to 1.6X performance improvement with Intel® Xeon® D-2183IT processor compared with previous generation Intel® Xeon® D-1581 processor on Integer application throughput. Configuration and workload details: SPECrate*2017_int_base - estimates based on measurements on Intel Internal hardware: 1-Intel® Xeon® D-1581 processor (24M, 1.80 GHz), 4x16GB(64GB 2133MHz Micron 36ASF2G72PZ-2G6B1) ,OS: redhat-7.4(3.10.0-693.el7.x86_64 x86_64) ,Compiler: IC18 ,BIOS: 1.0b, Storage: Intel SSD S3520 800GB," Network Device: NA, Network Speed: NA, QAT version: NA, Score: 44. compared to 1-Intel® Xeon® D-2183IT Processor (22M, 2.20 GHz), 4x16GB(64GB 2400MHz Micron 36ASF2G72PZ-2G6B1) ,OS: redhat-7.4(3.10.0-693.el7.x86_64 x86_64) ,Compiler: IC18 ,BIOS: BKVDTRL1.86B.0005.D08.1712070559, Storage: Intel SSD S3520 800GB," Network Device: NA, Network Speed: NA, QAT version: NA, Score: 72.1

    Intel Chip Chat Podcast

    You can listen in to host Allyson Klein discuss the Xeon D-2100 with Caroline Chan at 7 minutes into this podcast episode.

    Click to hear the podcast at Soundcloud.



    Intel ARK

    Here's the Intel ARK Compare Products page for the first Broadwell-DE chip called the Xeon D-1540, the Xeon D-1541, and the low and a high end 8 core Xeon D-2100 CPUs called the Xeon D-2141I and Xeon D-2145NT respectively. You'll note that both new Xeon D-2100 systems say Intel® Optane™ Memory Supported No, see also Intel Optane SSD DC P4800X Series can be ultra fast vSAN cache, storage, or RHEL/SLES 8x memory extender using Intel Memory Drive Technology. In the image below, Intel Optane SSDs are clearly is supported for Intel® Xeon® D-2100 D2100 Processor when used as storage, which is good.

    Click to view full PDF, noting the mention of Xeon D2100, with the dash strangely absent, very Atom-C3000-like

    Next, let's head on over to the tech sites, and see what they have to say.


    PC Perspective

    • Intel Pushes Xeon to the Edge With Refreshed Skylake-Based Xeon D SoCs
      Feb 07 2018 by Tim Verry at PC Perspective

      Intel announced a major refresh of its Xeon D System on a Chip processors aimed at high density servers that bring the power of the datacenter as close to end user devices and sensors as possible to reduce TCO and application latency. The new Xeon D 2100-series SoCs are built on Intel’s 14nm process technology and feature the company’s new mesh architecture (gone are the days of the ring bus). According to Intel the new chips are squarely aimed at “edge computing” and offer up 2.9-times the network performance, 2.8-times the storage performance, and 1.6-times the compute performance of the previous generation Xeon D-1500 series.

    • Intel meshes up Xeon D processors with Skylake Server cores
      Feb 07 2017 by Jeff Kampman at The Tech Report

      Two years after Intel introduced the Xeon D family of low-power server platforms, the wave of ARM processors for the data center that those Broadwell system-on-chips were meant to stave off hasn't yet broken.

    Tom's Hardware

    • Intel Launches Xeon D-2100 Processors
      Feb 07 2018 by Paul Alcorn at Tom's Hardware

      Intel's original Xeon D processors started out with only eight cores and improved to 16 cores in the 1500 series, but the new lineup expands up to 18 cores and 36 threads.


    • Intel Launches New Xeon-D 2100 Series Lineup – Up To 18 AVX-512-Capable Cores Based On 14nm Skylake uArch Housed In An SoC
      Feb 07 2018 by Usman Pirzada at at wccftech

      We have seen Intel diversifying its lineups in the past with the introduction of Core M and now we see the same thing with Xeon D, which is basically merging the high powered Xeon processors with the low power requirements of Atom SOCs.

      Intel launches Xeon D series: up to 18 fully capable Skylake cores in SoC format
      Let’s talk a bit about the interesting buzz words, specifically ‘Big’ cores. Even though the Xeon D platform consists of SoCs, they are not low performance, rather only low power. The cores are based on the Skylake architecture and will support VT-X/VT-d virtualization, RAS features and the entire TXT, AVX-512, TSX Instruction set. The chipset logic however will be incorporated on system and will make for a more efficient footprint than the customary two chip solution where the chipset logic lies on the motherboard. Since this is an SOC platform, the PCH is integrated.


    • Platform Power Consumption and First Benchmarks of the Intel Xeon D-2100 Series
      Feb 08 2018 by Patrick Kennedy at STH

      Performance is better than initially expected, likely due to the relatively high all core turbo clock speeds. Power consumption is (significantly) higher than the Intel Xeon D-1500 and Atom C3000 series. When we look at higher core count parts, the Intel Xeon D-1587 as a 16 core example, dual-channel DDR4 can start to be a noticeable bottleneck in many workloads. With the Intel Xeon D-2100 series, one essentially gets the quad channel speed of the Intel Xeon E5 V4 generation or potentially slightly more on the DDR4-2666 SKUs. What that means is that this is the first embedded platform that can essentially match if not beat a single socket mainstream platform in both core performance and memory bandwidth. That is no small feat.


    This article goes into a lot of detail about the various CPU SKUs. There's an amazing amount of information, and you'll want to reach each page.

    • Living On The Edge: Intel Launches Xeon D-2100 Series SoCs
      Feb 07 2018 by Ian Cutress at AnandTech

      For certain groups of users, Intel’s Xeon D product line has been a boon in performance per watt metrics. The goal of offering a fully integrated enterprise-class chip, with additional IO features, with lots of cores and at low power, was a draw to many industries: storage, networking, communications, compute, and particularly for ‘Edge’ computing. We reviewed the first generation Xeon D-1500 series back in June 2015, and today Intel is launching the second generation, the Xeon D-2100 series.

    Don't miss the entire Intel Xeon D-2100 Processor slide deck that Ian has shared at AnandTech's last page of the article here.

    More Xeon D-2100 announcement articles in this Google search, including Hexus. See also KitGuru, where Damien Mason says:

    Pricing has yet to be revealed, however it’s likely to still be too pricey for a home system given the specifications.

    Closing thoughts

    Finally, my thoughts. I had frankly hoped a 3 year wait would result in a smaller than the 14nm design of the original Xeon D, but that just isn't happening quite yet. Perhaps pressure from AMD will accelerate the shrink soon, which would tend to result in even lower watt burn.

    I'm also skeptical whether DDR4 prices will fall far enough for the 512GB of memory maximum will ever be something obtainable in the home lab in the Xeon D-2100's lifespan. Those reservations aside, it does appear that there's a signficant speed boost here that will be welcomed by the most enthusiastic home labbers, especially folks like me that don't just occassionally use their servers for learning, but actually use their servers to handle 24x7 workloads like a datacenter, or even as a workstation.


    • Faster GHz
    • Less time to turbo
    • 4x the memory of Xeon D-1500 (128GB -> 512GB)
    • 2x the memory channels (2 -> 4)


    • Higher watts generally means louder fans, or larger chassis, or both
    • Larger CPU size may mean Mini ITX motherboard designs have no room for M.2 slots, example pictured here


    • Not sure what this will do to the market for the 4 and 6 core Xeon D-1500 based systems that seem likely to continue as-is
    • The Xeon D-2100 generally seems to mostly be targeted at higher TDPs and price points, let's hope they can idle to as few watts as their popular Xeon D-1500 predecessors did
    • Not sure whether this will significantly erode sales of the popular 4, 6, and 8 core Xeon D-1500 systems out there, too early to know until system pricing is known

    Big Plans For Little Systems

    I can't know for sure whether systems based on these next generation CPUs will be a great choice for virtualization until I try them out in my 10G equipped home lab. Only time will tell for sure, along with a whole lot of TinkerTry'ing!

    Meanwhile, note that I plan to analyze yesterday's Supermicro's SuperServer related announcement soon. Note that the X11SDV line-up curiously doesn't include a mini-tower, which should give you some insight why I'm going to reserve further judgement until I kick the tires myself.


    Feb 12 2018 Update

    I've now added more articles and a video below.


    • Intel Xeon D-2100 with VMware ESXi and Ubuntu 16.04 on Supermicro X11SDV
      Feb 12 2018 by Patrick Kennedy at STH

      Usually, VMware is one of the laggards in terms of hardware compatibility for bleeding-edge platforms. Conversely, Microsoft Windows and Linux tend to have leading compatibility of server parts. As a result, we wanted to take an opportunity to test the Intel Xeon D-2100 platform, based on a Supermicro X11SDV-4C-TLN2F, with VMware ESXi 6.5u1.

      Intel Xeon D-2100 with VMware ESXi 6.5u1
      In the video, you will see that indeed, this worked without an issue.

    Intel Xeon D-2100 series installing VMware ESXi 6 5u1 and running Ubuntu 16.04.3 LTS


    • Intel unveils Xeon D-2100 processors
    • Feb 07 2018 by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes at ZDNet

      However, Intel is quick to note that all the performance tests and benchmark data it supplied were obtained prior to implementation of recent software patches and firmware updates intended to address the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities, so things might change after the application of these patches.

    DataCenter Knowledge

    • Intel Launches Xeon Chips for Edge Computing
      Feb 08 2018 by Christine Hall at DataCenter Knowledge

      The low power consumption Intel is touting for D-2100 measures between 60 to 110 watts depending on options. Prices range from $213 for a quad-core to $2,407 for the eighteen-core model.




    • Intel Launches Xeon D-2100 Series Skylake-SP Low-Power Processors For Edge Computing
      Feb 07 2018 by Brandon Hill at HotHardware

      Depending on which processor you select, base frequencies max out at 2.3GHz, while the maximum supported Turbo Boost frequency on a single core is 3.0GHz. Four channels of DDR4-2666 (ECC) memory is supported (up to 512GB). Up to 32 PCIe Gen 3 lanes are included along with built-in hardware Virtualization Technology. Intel also includes support for its own QuickAssist Technology, which delivers up to 100 Gbps of crypto, decryption, and encryption accelerated throughput.

    The Register

    This Week in Computer Hardware

    Website with video of Podcast episode 452.
    If you'd like your audio queued to the spot where Patrick Norton and Robert Heron begin to discuss the Xeon D-2100, here you go:

    Feb 13 2018 Update

    I've now added this excellent new article, you should really read it in it's entirety. Like all of Patrick's articles, it's excellent work, and his summary thoughts on this new Xeon D are quite noteworthy, highlighted below.


    • Exploring Intel Xeon D Evolution from Xeon D-1500 to Xeon D-2100
      Feb 13 2018 by Patrick Kennedy at STH

      At the same time, there is a clear trend emerging with the Intel Xeon D-2100 series being faster, having more expandability, using more power, needing larger form factors, and costing more than the Xeon D-1500 generations. That is a primary reason we see the Xeon D-2100 series as complementary to the Xeon D-1500 rather than a direct replacement.

    See also at TinkerTry



    See also

    Supermicro SuperServers and Motherboards based on Xeon D-2100 are called X11SDV products here, with the new Supermicro SuperServer SYS-E300-9D likely to be of most interested to home lab enthusiasts who don't mind 40mm fan whine.

    Mini-ITX form factor presents some layout challenges, note there's no M.2 slot on this Supermicro X11SDV-8C+-TLN2F motherboard.

    For folks looking for the SYS-E300-9D product page:
    it uses the Super X11SDV-4C-TLN2F motherboard:
    but note that it says "Coming soon," and the picture shows a Mini-ITX motherboard instead of a Flex ATX picture that it should be using.