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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  • tamalero - Tuesday, July 11, 2017 - link

    How is that different if AMD ran stuff that is extremely optimized for them? Reply
  • Friendly0Fire - Tuesday, July 11, 2017 - link

    That's kinda the point? You want to benchmark the CPUs in optimal scenarios, since that's what you'd be looking at in practice. If one CPU's weakness is eliminated by using a more recent/tweaked compiler, then it's not a weakness. Reply
  • coder543 - Tuesday, July 11, 2017 - link

    Rather, you want to test under practical scenarios. Very few people are going to be running 17.04 on production grade servers, they will run an LTS release, which in this case is 16.04.

    It would be good to have benchmarks from 17.04 as another point of comparison, but given how many things they didn't have time to do just using 16.04, I can understand why they didn't use 17.04.
    Reply
  • Santoval - Wednesday, July 12, 2017 - link

    A compromise can be found by upgrading Ubuntu 16.04's outdated kernel. Ubuntu LTS releases include support for rolling HWE Stacks, which is a simple meta package for installing newer kernels compiled, modified, tested and packaged by the Ubuntu Kernel Team, and installed directly from the official Ubuntu repositories (not via a Launchpad PPA). With HWE 16.04 LTS can install up to the kernel of 18.04 LTS.

    I also use 16.04 LTS + HWE (it just requires installing the linux-generic-hwe-16.04 package), which currently provides the 4.8 kernel. There is even a "beta" version of HWE (the same package plus an -edge at the end) for installing the 4.10 kernel (aka the kernel of 17.04) earlier, which will normally be released next month.

    I just spotted various 4.10 kernel listings after checking in Synaptic, so they must have been added very recently. After that there are two more scheduled kernel upgrades, as is shown in the following link. Of course HWE upgrades solely the kernel, it does not upgrade any application or any of the user level parts to a more recent version of Ubuntu.
    https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Kernel/RollingLTSEnablemen...
    Reply
  • CajunArson - Tuesday, July 11, 2017 - link

    Considering the similarities between RyZen and Haswell (that aren't coincidental at all) you are already seeing a highly optimized set of RyZen results.

    But I have no problem seeing RyZen be tested with the newest distros, the only difference being that even Ubuntu 16.04 already has most of the optimizations for RyZen baked in.
    Reply
  • coder543 - Tuesday, July 11, 2017 - link

    What similarities? They're extremely different architectures. I can't think of any obvious similarities. Between the CCX model, caches being totally different layouts, the infinity fabric, Intel having better AVX-256/512 stuff (IIRC), etc.

    I don't think 16.04 is naturally any more optimized for Ryzen than it is for Skylake-SP.
    Reply
  • CajunArson - Tuesday, July 11, 2017 - link

    Oh please, at the core level RyZen is a blatant copy-n-paste of Haswell with the only exception being they just omitted half the AVX hardware to make their lives easier.

    It's so obvious that if you followed any of the developer threads for people optimizing for RyZen they say to just use the Haswell compiler optimizations that actually work better than the official RyZen optimization flags.
    Reply
  • ddriver - Tuesday, July 11, 2017 - link

    Can't tell if this post is funny or sad. Reply
  • CajunArson - Tuesday, July 11, 2017 - link

    It's neither: It's accurate.

    Don't believe me? Look at the differences in performance of the holy 1800X over multiple Linux distros ranging from pretty new (OpenSuse Tumbleweed) to pretty old (Fedora 23 from 2015): http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=article&...

    Nowhere near the variation that we see with Skylake X since Haswell was already a solved problem long before RyZen lauched.
    Reply
  • coder543 - Tuesday, July 11, 2017 - link

    Right, of course. Ryzen is a copy-and-paste of Haswell.

    Don't make me laugh.
    Reply

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