Pricing Comparison: AMD versus Intel

We are all hoping that the renewed competition between Intel and AMD results in more bang for the buck. Intel just launched about 50 SKUs, so we made a list of those that will go head-to-head with AMD's already announced EPYC SKUs. On average, the Intel SKUs will priced slightly higher, reflecting the fact that Intel believes buyers are willing to pay a bit more for the vendor with the better track record. 

AMD EPYC Processors (2P) Intel Xeon Processoors (2-8P)
AMD EPYC
SKU
Cores
 
Freq
(GHz)
Base-Max
Price  Intel Xeon
SKU
Cores Freq 
(GHz)
Base-Max
Price
        Xeon 8180 (205W) 28 2.5-3.8 $10009
        Xeon 8176M (165W) 28 2.1-3.8 $11722
        Xeon 8176 (165W) 28 2.1-3.8 $8719
EPYC 7601
(180W)
32  2.2 -3.2 $4200 Xeon 8160 (150W) 24 2.1-3.7 $4702
EPYC 7551
(180W)
32 2.0-3.0 >$3400 Xeon 6152 (140W) 22 2.1-3.7 $3655
EPYC 7501 (155/170W) 32 2.0-3.0 $3400 Xeon 6150 (165W) 18 2.7-3.4 $3358
EPYC 7451
(180W)
24 2.3-3.2 >$2400 Xeon 6140 (165W) 18 2.3-3.7 $2445
EPYC 7401 (155/170W) 24 2.0-3.0 $1850 Xeon 6130 (125W) 16 2.1-3.7 $1894
        Xeon 5120 (105W) 14 2.2-3.2 $1555
EPYC 7351 (155/170W) 16 2.4-2.9 >$1100 Xeon 5118 (105W) 12 2.3-3.2 $1221
EPYC 7301 (155/170W) 16 2.2-2.7 >$800 Xeon 4116
(85W)
12 2.1-3.0 $1002
EPYC 7281 (155/170W) 16 2.1-2.7 $650 Xeon 4114
(85W)
10 2.2-3.0 $694
EPYC 7251
(120W)
2.1-2.9 $475 Xeon 4110
(85W)
8 2.1-3.0 $501

Several trends pop up as we look at the table above. 

First of foremost, those 24-28 core CPUs are a wonder of modern multicore CPU architecture, but you sure have to pay a lot of money for them. This is especially the case for the SKUs that can support 1.5 TB per socket. Of course if you can afford SAP Hana, you can afford $10k CPUs (or so the theory goes).

Still, if we compare the new high-end Skylake-EP SKUs with the previous 22-core Xeon E5-2699 v4 ($4199), paying twice as much for a 28-core chip just because it can be used in 8 socket configuration is bad news for those of us who need a very fast 2 socket system. In fact, it is almost as Intel has no competition: we only get a little more performance for the same price. For example you can get a Xeon 6148 (20 cores at 2.4 GHz, 150W TDP) for $3072, while you had to pay $3228 last generation for a Xeon E5-2698 v4 (20 cores at 2.2 GHz, 135W). The latter had smaller L2-caches but a much larger L3-cache (45 MB vs 27.5 MB). We're still not getting big steps forward on a performance-per-dollar basis, a similar problem we had with the launch of the Xeon E5 v4 last year. 

Hopefully, AMD's EPYC can put some pressure on Intel, if not exceed the 800lb gorilla entirely. AMD typically offers many more cores for the same price. At the high end, AMD offers up to 10 more cores than the similar Xeon: compare the EPYC 7551 with the Intel Xeon 6152.

On the other hand, Intel offers lower TDPs and higher turbo clocks. The 16-core EPYC CPUs in particular seem to have remarkably high TDPs compared to similar Intel SKUs. Those 16-cores look even worse as, despite the lower core count and high TDP, the turbo clock is lower than 3 GHz. 

In a nutshell: looking at the current lineups we want lower prices from Intel, and more attractive mid-range SKUs from AMD. 

AMD EPYC Processors (1P)
  Cores
Threads
Frequency (GHz) TDP Price
EPYC 7551P 32 / 64 2.0 -3.0 180W $2100
EPYC 7401P 24 / 48 2.0-3.0 155W/170W $1075
EPYC 7351P 16 / 32 2.4-2.9 155W/170W $750

Finally, AMD's single-socket SKUs – identified by a P suffix – are by far the most interesting to us and the most dangerous to Intel. It will be interesting to see how well two 12-core Xeon 5118s can compete with one EPYC 7551P. The clocks are similar, but AMD has 8 extra cores, a less complex server board, much more PCIe bandwidth, and a lower TDP.  AMD should have serious cost advantage on paper. We hope to check that in a later review.

Intel Expanding the Chipset: 10 GigE & QuickAssist Testing Notes & Benchmark Configuration
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  • StargateSg7 - Sunday, August 06, 2017 - link

    Maybe I'm spoiled, but to me a BIG database is something I usually deal with on a daily basis
    such as 500,000 large and small video files ranging from two megabytes to over a PETABYTE
    (1000 Terabytes) per file running on a Windows and Linux network.

    What sort of read and write speeds do we get between disk, main memory and CPU
    and when doing special FX LIVE on such files which can be 960 x 540 pixel youtube-style
    videos up to full blown 120 fps 8192 x 4320 pixel RAW 64 bits per pixel colour RGBA files
    used for editing and video post-production.

    AND I need for the smaller files, total I/O-transaction rates at around
    OVER 500,000 STREAMS of 1-to-1000 64 kilobyte unique packets
    read and written PER SECOND. Basically 500,000 different users
    simultaneously need up to one thousand 64 kilobyte packets per
    second EACH sent to and read from their devices.

    Obviously Disk speed and network comm speed is an issue here, but on
    a low-level hardware basis, how much can these new Intel and AMD chips
    handle INTERNALLY on such massive data requirements?

    I need EXABYTE-level storage management on a chip! Can EITHER
    Xeon or EPyC do this well? Which One is the winner? ... Based upon
    this report it seems multiple 4-way EPyC processors on waterblocked
    blades could be racked on a 100 gigabit (or faster) fibre backbone
    to do 500,000 simultaneous users at a level MUCH CHEAPER than
    me having to goto IBM or HP for a 30+ million dollar HPC solution!
    Reply
  • PixyMisa - Tuesday, July 11, 2017 - link

    It seems like a well-balanced article to me. Sure the DB performance issue is a corner case, but from a technical point of view its worth knowing.

    I'd love to see a test on a larger database (tens of GB) though.
    Reply
  • philehidiot - Wednesday, July 12, 2017 - link

    It seems to me that some people should set up their own server review websites in order that they might find the unbiased balance that they so crave. They might also find a time dilation device that will allow them to perform the multitude of different workload tests they so desire. I believe this article stated quite clearly the time constraints and the limitations imposed by such constraints. This means that the benchmarks were scheduled down to the minute to get as many in as possible and therefore performing different tests based on the results of the previous benchmarks would have put the entire review dataset in jeopardy.

    It might be nice to consider just how much data has been acquired here, how it might have been done and the degree of interpretation. It might also be worth considering, if you can do a better job, setting up shop on your own and competing as obviously the standard would be so much higher.

    Sigh.
    Reply
  • JohanAnandtech - Thursday, July 13, 2017 - link

    Thank you for being reasonable. :-) Many of the benchmarks (Tinymembench, Stream, SPEC) etc. can be repeated, so people can actually check that we are unbiased. Reply
  • Shankar1962 - Monday, July 17, 2017 - link

    Don't go by the labs idiot
    Understand what real world workloads are.....understand what owning an entire rack means ......you started foul language so you deserve the same respect from me......
    Reply
  • roybotnik - Wednesday, July 12, 2017 - link

    EPYC looks extremely good here aside from the database benchmark, which isn't a useful benchmark anyways. Need to see the DB performance with 100GB+ of memory in use. Reply
  • CarlosYus - Friday, July 14, 2017 - link

    A detailed and unbiased article. I'm awaiting for more tests as testing time passes.
    3.2 Ghz is a moderate Turbo for AMD EPYC, I think AMD could push it further with a higher thermal envelope i/o 14 nm process improvement in the coming months.
    Reply
  • mdw9604 - Tuesday, July 11, 2017 - link

    Nice, comprehensive article. Glad to see AMD is competitive once again in the server CPU space. Reply
  • nathanddrews - Tuesday, July 11, 2017 - link

    "Competitive" seems like an understatement, but yes, AMD is certainly bringing it! Reply
  • ddriver - Tuesday, July 11, 2017 - link

    Yeah, offering pretty much double the value is so barely competitive LOL. Reply

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