Conclusions

For those that prioritize performance/watt or performance/dollar and for the CPU enthusiasts, we've summarized our findings in a comparison table. We made four columns for easy comparison:

  • In the first column, we compare the fastest Opteron with Intel's best offering. The closer the AMD Opteron can get to the E5-2660, the more price advantage can compensate for the higher power usage of the Opteron.
  • In the second column, we compare the Opteron with the best performance per dollar ratio with a comparably priced Xeon.
  • In the third column we measure how much progress AMD has made by replacing the Bulldozer core with the Piledriver core (higher IPC and clock).
  • The fourth column gives you an idea of how much the small changes inside the Piledriver have improved the IPC.

We also group our benchmarks in different software groups and indicate the importance of this software group in the server market (we discussed this here). 100% means that both CPUs perform equally.

Software: Importance in the market Opteron 6380
vs

Xeon E5-2660
Opteron 6376
vs
Xeon E5-2630
Opteron 6380
vs
Opteron 6276
Opteron 6376
vs
Opteron 6276

Virtualisation: 20-50%

       
ESXi + Linux

86%

104%

120%

111%

OLTP, ERP : 10%

 

 

 

 

SAP S&D 2-tier

95%**

N/A

105%*

100%*

HPC: 5-7%

 

 

 

 

LS Dyna

92%

97%

116%

105%

Back-end webserver: 10-15%

       
SPECjbb2013

85%

N/A

N/A

N/A

Rendering software: 2-3%

 

 

 

 

Cinebench

84%

98%

115%

106%

3DS Max 2012 (Mental Ray)

56%

66%

143%

126%

 

 

 

 

 

Other: N/A

 

 

 

 

Encryption
Decryption AES

71%

77%

94%

96%

101%

101%

100%

100%

Encryption
Decryption
Twofish/Serpent

113%

108%

132%

128%

115%

113%

107%

103%

Compression
decompression

100%

53%

118%

60%

113%

108%

105%

100%

* estimate
** Rough estimate

After reviewing the Xeon-E5 we concluded:

"...it will be hard to recommend the current Opteron 6200. The Opteron 6200 might still have a chance as a low end virtualization server. After all, quite a few virtualization servers are bottlenecked by memory capacity and not by raw processing power. The Opteron can then leverage the fact that it can offer the same memory capacity at a lower price point. The Opteron might also have a role in the low end, price sensitive HPC market, where it still performs very well. Whether you want high performance per dollar or performance per watt, the Xeon E5-2660 is simply a home run. End of story."

To sum it up, the Xeon E5 was the best choice for most applications, as the Opteron 6200 could only leverage its price advantage in the low end virtualization and HPC market. But the lower acquisition costs were easily negated by the higher power draw and the fact that in most IT projects a few hundred dollars per server does not matter.

The new Opteron 6376 offers 5% to 11% better performance per clock, 8% lower energy consumption, 6% lower peak power draw, and an 11% lower price than the Opteron 6276. That's all good, but there is more. Keeping the G34 platform alive has a very positive effect on the OEM pricing: the Opteron servers are tangibly cheaper. The price difference is quite a bit higher than the CPU list prices suggest. You can get a 6380 based server for the price of a Xeon E5-2640 based server.

All these small steps forward make the AMD Opteron attractive again for the price conscious buyers looking for a virtualization host or an HPC crunching machine. The Opteron machines need more energy to do their job, but once again you get better performance per dollar than Intel's midrange offerings.

However, if your consulting or software costs are a lot higher than the hardware costs, the octal core Xeons offer an excellent performance/watt ratio and are by far the best performers too. In a nutshell, Intel's octal core Xeons are still unmatched, but AMD is putting some pressure on Intel's hex-core midrange offerings, and that is always good news for the customers.

Compression and Decompression
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  • sherlockwing - Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - link

    These Piledriver based Opterons look competitive but the threat of Ivy-EP is immenient. The last time Intel die-shrunk their High end platform they introduced the monsterous 10 core Westmere-EP(the current Xeon E7 lineup), I wouldn't be surprised Ivy-EP introduces 10/12 core extreme E7 Xeons as well as Octa Xeons with better performance/watt. Reply
  • Kevin G - Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - link

    Ivy Bridge-E is indeed coming but it is looking to be 6 months out. These Opterons were shipping since November which would give them a 10 month lead time. The real question for AMD is what they'll have in response in that time frame. Steamroller based parts all look to be released in 2014. On the bright side, AMD should be pairing those chips with a new socket as DDR4 becomes available.

    One thing though about Ivy Bridge-E is that it will also be a socket 2011 part so migration to it should get relatively quick in comparison to the Westmere-EP to Sandybridge-E transition. The same cost savings for OEM noted in this article for socket G32 Opterons will apply to Ivy Bridge-E this time around.
    Reply
  • Oskars Apša - Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - link

    Wasn't intels 2011 socket to be only physically identical, but electrically totally redesigned? Reply
  • Hrel - Friday, February 22, 2013 - link

    "These Opterons were shipping since November"

    I reject this statement. Nothing counts as being "on the market" until Anandtech has done a full review of it. That's my stance and I'm sticking to it :P
    Reply
  • Beenthere - Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - link

    ...is that the 63xx series is focused primarily on micro servers where it fits well. If the just disclosed Jaguar cores are any indication of AMD products to be released this and next year, I'd say AMD is back in the game in many PC and portable markets.

    The only thing Ivy Bridge has going for it is reduced power but at a price penalty.
    Reply
  • JohanAnandtech - Thursday, February 21, 2013 - link

    SeaMicro was indeed one of first to use Piledriver based cores, but I don't think the Opteron 6300 is meant to be a "typical" microserver CPU. Otherwise, AMD would have focused more on low power parts. This meant to be an update for the general server market. Reply
  • Jovec - Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - link

    ... as it is showing the multi-threaded chart instead. Reply
  • JohanAnandtech - Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - link

    Fixed. Thanks for pointing it out, always appreciated. Reply
  • Death666Angel - Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - link

    Hey!
    I get a " Page Not Found" error from the Racktivity PDU link. :)
    Reply
  • ssj3gohan - Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - link

    You say that AMDs bad implementation of C6 costs them in the energy efficiency tests, but AFAIK with a low of still 10% CPU the CPU should not enter ACPI C3 (Intel C6), it will probably stay in C1e providing there is still more than enough workload to do on each OS tick.

    If the xeons are observed to go into ACPI C3, then that is very probably a scheduler optimization specific for intel processors, not an actual implementation problem by AMD. Balancing C-state transitions - especially complete core sleep modes like ACPI C3 - is a notoriously hard task to do because each transition also costs a certain amount of mJ that, on immediate wake, are wasted compared to just leaving the cores in C1(e)
    Reply

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