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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  • ddriver - Tuesday, July 11, 2017 - link

    Gotta love the "you don't care about the xeon prices" part thou. Now that intel don't have a performance advantage, and their product value at the high end is half that of amd, AT plays the "intel is the better brand" card. So expected... Reply
  • OZRN - Wednesday, July 12, 2017 - link

    You need some perspective. Database licensing for Oracle happens per core, where Intel's performance is frequently better in a straight line and since they achieve it on lower core count it's actually better value for the use case. Higher per-CPU cost is not so much of a concern when you pay twice as much for a processor license to cover those cores.

    I'm an AMD fan and I made this account just for you, sweetheart, but don't blind yourself to the truth just because Intel has a history of shady business. In most regards this is a balanced review, and where it isn't, they tell you why it might not be. Chill out.
    Reply
  • ddriver - Thursday, July 13, 2017 - link

    You are such a clown. Nobody, I repeat, NOBODY on this planet uses 64 core 128 thread 512 gigabytes of ram servers to run a few MB worth of database. You telling me to get pespective thus can mean only two things, that you are a buthurt intel fanboy troll or that you are in serious need of head examination. Or maybe even both. At any rate, that perfectly explains your ridiculously low standards for "balanced review". Reply
  • Notmyusualid - Friday, July 14, 2017 - link

    It seems no matter what opinion someone presents that might exhibit Intel in a better light - you are going to hate it anyway.

    What a life you must lead.
    Reply
  • OZRN - Friday, July 14, 2017 - link

    No, they don't. They use them to host gigabytes to terabytes worth of mission critical databases, with specified amounts of cores dedicated to seperate environments of hard partitioned data manipulation. I've done some quick math for you and in an average setup of Enterprise Edition of Oracle DB, with only the usually reported options and extras, this type of database would cost over $3.7m to run on *64 cores alone*. At this point, where is your hardware sunk costs argument?

    Also, I don't think anyone here is impressed by your ability to immediately personally insult people making valid points. Good luck finding your head that deep in your colon.
    Reply
  • CajunArson - Tuesday, July 11, 2017 - link

    "All of our testing was conducted on Ubuntu Server "Xenial" 16.04.2 LTS (Linux kernel 4.4.0 64 bit). The compiler that ships with this distribution is GCC 5.4.0."

    I'd recommend using a more updated distro and especially a more up to date compiler (GCC 5.4 is only a bug-fix release of a compiler from *2015*) if you want to see what these parts are truly capable of.

    Phoronix does heavy-duty Linux reviews and got some major performance boosts on the i9 7900X simply by using up to date distros: http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=article&...

    Considering that Purley is just an upscaled version of the i9 7900X, I wouldn't be surprised to see different results.
    Reply
  • CajunArson - Tuesday, July 11, 2017 - link

    As a followup to my earlier comment, that Phoronix story, for example, shows a speedup factor of almost 5X on the C-ray benchmark simply by using a modern distro with some tuning for the more modern Skylake architecture.

    I'm not saying Purley would have a 5X speedup on C-ray per-say, but I'd be shocked if it didn't get a good boost using modern software that's actually designed for the Skylake architecture.
    Reply
  • CoachAub - Wednesday, July 12, 2017 - link

    Keywords: "actually designed for the Skylake architecture". Will there be optimizations for AMD Epyc chips? Reply
  • mkozakewich - Friday, July 14, 2017 - link

    If it's a reasonable optimization, it makes sense to include it in the benchmark. If I were building these systems, I'd want to see benchmarks that resembled as closely as possible my company's workflow. (Which may be for older software or newer software; neither are inherently more relevant, though benchmarks on newer software will usually be relevant further into the future.) Reply
  • CajunArson - Tuesday, July 11, 2017 - link

    And another followup: The time kernel compilation on the i9 7900X got almost a factor of 2 speedup over the Ubuntu 16.04 using more modern distros. Reply

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