Multi-core SPEC CPU2006

For the record, we do not believe that the SPEC CPU "Rate" metric has much value for estimating server CPU performance. Most applications do not run lots of completely separate processes in parallel; there is at least some interaction between the threads. But since the benchmark below caused so much discussion, we wanted to satisfy the curiosity of our readers. 

Does the EPYC7601 really have 47% more raw integer power? Let us find out. Though please note that you are looking at officially invalid base SPEC rate runs, as we still have to figure out how to tell the SPEC software that our "invalid" flag "-Ofast" is not invalid at all. We did the required 3 iterations though. 

Subtest Application type Xeon
E5-2699 v4
@ 2.8
Xeon
8176
@ 2.8
EPYC
7601
@2.7
EPYC 
Vs
Broadwell EP
EPYC 
vs
Skylake
SP
400.perlbench Spam filter 1470 1980 2020 +37% +2%
401.bzip2 Compression 860 1120 1280 +49% +14%
403.gcc Compiling 960 1300 1400 +46% +8%
429.mcf Vehicle scheduling 752 927 837 +11% -10%
445.gobmk Game AI 1220 1500 1780 +46% +19%
456.hmmer Protein seq. analyses 1220 1580 1700 +39% +8%
458.sjeng Chess 1290 1570 1820 +41% +16%
462.libquantum Quantum sim 545 870 1060 +94% +22%
464.h264ref Video encoding 1790 2670 2680 +50% -0%
471.omnetpp Network sim 625 756 705 (*) +13% -7%
473.astar Pathfinding 749 976 1080 +44% +11%
483.xalancbmk XML processing 1120 1310 1240 +11% -5%

(*) We had to run 471.omnetpp with 64 threads on EPYC: when running at 128 threads, it gave errors. Once solved, we expect performance to be 10-20% higher. 

Ok, first a disclaimer. The SPECint rate test is likely unrealistic. If you start up 88 to 128 instances, you create a massive bandwidth bottleneck and a consistent CPU load of 100%, neither of which are very realistic in most integer applications. You have no synchronization going on, so this is really the ideal case for a processor such as the AMD EPYC 7601. The rate test estimates more or less the peak integer crunching power available, ignoring many subtle scaling problems that most integer applications have.  

Nevertheless, AMD's claim was not farfetched. On average, and using a "neutral" compiler with reasonable compiler settings, the AMD 7601 has about 40% (42% if you take into account that our Omnetpp score will be higher once we fixed the 128 instances issue) more "raw" integer processing power than the Xeon E5-2699 v4, and is even about 6% faster than the Xeon 8176. Don't expect those numbers to be reached in most real integer applications though. But it shows how much progress AMD has made nevertheless...

SMT Integer Performance With SPEC CPU2006 Multi-Threaded Integer Performance
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  • JKflipflop98 - Wednesday, July 12, 2017 - link

    For years I thought you were just really committed to playing the "dumb AMD fanbot" schtick for laughs. It's infinitely more funny now that I know you've actually been *serious* this entire time. Reply
  • ddriver - Wednesday, July 12, 2017 - link

    Whatever helps you feel better about yourself ;) I bet it is funny now, that AT have to carefully devise intel biased benches and lie in its reviews in hopes intel at least saves face. BTW I don't have a single amd CPU running ATM. Reply
  • WinterCharm - Thursday, July 13, 2017 - link

    Uh, what are you smoking? this is a pretty even piece. Reply
  • boozed - Tuesday, July 11, 2017 - link

    You haven't done your job properly unless you've annoyed the fanboys (and perhaps even fangirls) for both sides! Reply
  • JohanAnandtech - Wednesday, July 12, 2017 - link

    Wise words. Indeed :-) Reply
  • Ranger1065 - Wednesday, July 12, 2017 - link

    If you are referring to ddriver, I agree, wise words indeed. Reply
  • ddriver - Wednesday, July 12, 2017 - link

    Well, that assumption rests on the presumption that the point of reviews is to upsed fanboys.

    I'd say that a "review done right" would include different workload scenarios, there is nothing wrong with having one that will show the benefits of intel's approach to doing server chips, but that should be properly denoted, and should be just one of several database tests and should be accompanied by gigabytes of databases which is what we use in real world scenarios.
    Reply
  • CoachAub - Wednesday, July 12, 2017 - link

    It was mentioned more than once that this review was rushed to make a deadline and that the suite of benchmarks were not everything they wanted to run and without optimizations or even the usual tweaks an end-user would make to their system. So, keep that in mind as you argue over the tests and different scenarios, etc. Reply
  • ddriver - Thursday, July 13, 2017 - link

    It doesn't take a lot of time to populate a larger database so that you can make a benchmark that involves an actual real world usage scenario. It wasn't the "rushing" that prompted the choice of database size... Reply
  • mpbello - Friday, July 14, 2017 - link

    If you are rushing, you reduce scope and deliver fewer pieces with high quality instead of insisting on delivering a full set of benchmarks that you are not sure about its quality.
    The article came to a very strong conclusion: Intel is better for database scenarios. Whatever you do, whether you are rushing or not, you cannot state something like that if the benchmarks supporting your conclusion are not well designed.
    So I agree that the design of the DB benchmark was incredibly weak to sustain such an important conclusion that Intel is the best choice for DB applications.
    Reply

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