The E and X Factors: A closer look at the popular Cisco 3064 switch

Cisco N3K-C3064-PQ-10GE Terabit Systems

The E and X Factors: A closer look at the popular Cisco 3064 switch

Believe it or not, it’s been nine years since Cisco Systems first graced the networking world with its compact Nexus 3000 series -- forever changing the face of their popular data center switch portfolio.

And much like the rugged looks of James Dean, the pixelated simplicity of the classic Nintendo, or the never-to-be-buried Windows XP, the software-defined (SDN) stalwart doesn’t look to be going out of style any time soon.

Despite a completely different networking landscape than when the series was first introduced, several of the original Nexus 3000 switches -- most notably the top-of-rack 3064 -- remain relevant and are extremely popular in the data center aftermarket.

In fact, the 3064-E (N3K-C3064PQ-10GE) and the 3064-X (N3K-C3064PQ-10GX) are the two switches we receive the most inquiries about in the series.


Why the buzz about the 3064 models, you might ask?

The switch has garnered the reputation over the years as the affordable, all-around member of the Nexus series: laden with Mike Tyson power in a jockey-sized 1RU body. Although there’s more talk of the 3064-X in online forums, the almost identical 3064-E is still -- low-key -- readily available for purchase.

Both were released as a minor upgrade to the predecessor and offer lower latency, a more advanced chipset and less power consumption than their predecessor. As you can see below, the E and the X provide a performance boost to what was already a solid Nexus fixture.


Cisco Switch Model

Nexus 3064

Nexus 3064-E

Nexus 3064-X

Estimated Latency (n-sec)


Sub 920

Sub 820


Broadcom Trident

Broadcom Trident+

Broadcom Trident+

Average Operating Power (watts)





Breaking down the E and X

As for the schematics, the E and X models both (like the original) offer layer 2 and 3 switching, 1.28 Tb total bandwidth through 48 fixed ports, and run off Cisco’s dependable NX-OS software.

Their key difference lies in the board design.

While both feature the Trident+ chipset, the 3064-X was the first in the switch series to be built phyless -- or without an interface. This simplicity gives the model the slight advantage in both latency and power consumption.

But it doesn’t take home all the family prestige. When Cisco introduced the 3064 in the fall of 2011, the company already had plans to further diversify the product to meet numerous customer demands -- hence the quick release of two follow-ups.

Enter the 3064-E: the MAC Cadillac.

The E offers double the table room, allowing you to store more MAC addresses to each port. In a data hungry world, it’s certainly not a bad feature to have in your network’s veins. And we’d argue it’s just as important as the benefits of the X.


So, what’s the right 3064 switch to go with?

It’s hard telling these two switches apart on paper. It’s even harder figuring out which is which when they’re locked and loaded in a data center.

Though you could make a politician-like argument for E and X supremacy, the facts don’t add up to declare an outright winner in the switch race.

And that’s not necessarily a bad thing -- nor is it surprising, considering their manufacturer’s track record in the business.

If you’re in the market for a switch “hitter” to add to your data center or enterprise network, you can never go wrong with Cisco -- especially when it comes to investing for the long haul. The Nexus name will push your further into the company’s corner and the outstanding tech and licensing support will keep you there.

Overall, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better bang-for-your-buck 1RU switch than the 3064 -- regardless of the letter (but to be clear, we would recommend sticking with either the E or the X).


Don’t be caught in the data storm

As we’ve mentioned in previous blogs, there is no better time than now to prepare your network for the digital evolution. With the pandemic adding an even greater data demand in 2020, it is more important than ever to have a dependable switch like the 3064-E or 3064-X at the helm. It’s also important to buy soon, so you’re not forced to pay full price for top-tier networking products from top-tier companies like Cisco.


Terabit Systems has the right products at the right price

No matter what your networking needs may be, Terabit Systems has your back.

We have both the Nexus 3064-E and 3064-X switches (and their components) in stock, and ready to ship today.

Who are we? Terabit Systems specializes in providing quality refurbished networking equipment-- as well as industry leading customer service -- to clients worldwide. Check out our selection of Cisco Systems products and so much more. Email us or call +1 (415) 230-4353 to speak to a Terabit representative for a quote today!

November 25, 2020