I have the choice between:

2 x X5687 (Intel® Xeon® Processor X5687 - QuadCore (12M Cache, 3.60 GHz, 6.40 GT/s Intel® QPI)

or 2 x X5690 (Intel® Xeon® Processor X5690 - SixCore (12M Cache, 3.46 GHz, 6.40 GT/s Intel® QPI)

for a new DB Server (SQL 2008 R2 64bit), my personal preference is X5690, are there reasons that would speak against going for a SixCore CPU vs. a QuadCore CPU ?

  • I heard that the cache might be an issue, since it is shared by more cores and therefore can impact the performance of SQL Server in a negative way. – nojetlag Dec 23 '11 at 8:06

For 2008R2, I'd take the extra cores every time.

If the server might be upgraded to Denali/2012 on release you may need to factor in the switch from per socket to per core licensing. @MrDenny summarised this well in SQL Server 2012 Licensing Changes.


Obviously from a hardware perspective, I'd go with the X5690. Just make sure to check with the licensing agreement you have with Microsoft. I thought I remembered reading somewhere that there's a SQL Server 2008 licensing option that requires you to have enough licenses on a per-core basis.

As long as you don't have that, I'd say go with the X5690. If your agreement does mandate licensing on a per-core basis, then check and see if two more cores justifies the increase in cost.

  • 1
    A little mistake about licensing - it is per socket, not per core, so - the multicore rules! My own choice - 4x6 core cpu – Oleg Dok Dec 21 '11 at 19:07
  • Thanks Oleg! I couldn't remember if core-licensing affected 2008 or 2012. But it helps to be conscious about that. – Aaron Dec 21 '11 at 19:10

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