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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  • StargateSg7 - Sunday, August 6, 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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