Database Performance & Variability

Results are very different with respect to transactional database benchmarks (HammerDB & OLTP). Intel's 8160 has an advantage of 22 to 29%, which is very similar to what we saw in our own independent benchmarking.

One of the main reasons is data locality: data is distributed over the many NUMA nodes causing extra latency for data access. Especially when data is locked, this can cause performance degradation.

Intel measured this with their own Memory Latency Checker (version 3.4), but you do not have rely on Intel alone. AMD reported similar results on the Linley Processor conference, and we saw similar results too.

There is more: Intel's engineers noticed quite a bit of performance variation between different runs.

Intel engineers claim that what they reported in the first graph on this page is, in fact, the best of 10 runs. Between the 10 runs, it is claimed there was a lot of variability: ignoring the outlier number 2, there are several occasions where performance was around 60% of the best reported value. Although we can not confirm that the performance of the EPYC system varies precisely that much, we have definitely seen more variation in our EPYC benchmarks than on a comparable Intel system.

Enterprise & Cloud Benchmarks HPC Benchmarks
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  • piesquared - Tuesday, November 28, 2017 - link

    And the hilarity continues. So AMD posts in house benchmarks and the crowd goes: Derp, these are AMD supplied benchmarks, best wait for third party benchmarks.
    Intel posts in house benchmarks and the crowd goes: Wow awesome dude, that's the shitsors! Who needs third party benchmarks, AMD should post more in house benchmarks. derp derp
    Reply
  • tamalero - Tuesday, November 28, 2017 - link

    Guerrilla marketing at its finest? The hilarity is that when Intel was dominating.. they never mentioned intel nor they needed.

    Now that AMD has a compelling product. They suddenly started doing "comparisons" left and right and claiming how bad "glue" is in AMD cpus (while ignoring the drama bout using cheap TIM instead of solder)
    Reply
  • bmf614 - Tuesday, November 28, 2017 - link

    Epyc really hasnt even launched yet. Try buying a Dell or HP with Epyc. Nope. Reply
  • supdawgwtfd - Wednesday, November 29, 2017 - link

    It's launched. Demand has outstripped supply. They are now starting to get on top of it.

    Maybe stop being an Intel biased dickhead and go look at what is actually happening?
    Reply
  • Topweasel - Wednesday, November 29, 2017 - link

    Yeah, I don't get it. I mean even Ryzen mobile launched well before we saw it. Eypc announcement early was important to build up demand with OEM's. Something that wasn't as important with a consumer product that needed announcement with availability. EPYC's announcement wasn't for the end purchaser. Both these need long testing periods and seed supply. Epyc then has ODM builds for cloud services that they have supply. Ryzen mobile launched when OEM's had products to ship. EPYC launched when they products to ship to manufacturers. When those Manufacturers offered EPYC depends completely on their development cycle. Reply
  • Johan Steyn - Monday, December 18, 2017 - link

    Haha so true Reply
  • Ninhalem - Tuesday, November 28, 2017 - link

    Can we get ANSYS Structural or Comsol benchmarks for the HPC sections? Building machines using Xeons for these applications is beyond expensive for engineering design on fixed price contracts. Reply
  • anactoraaron - Tuesday, November 28, 2017 - link

    No, because AT didn't test anything here. They are just 'publishing' Intel's benchmarks and calling it an 'analysis'.

    Doesn't this qualify for the #ad in the title?
    Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Wednesday, November 29, 2017 - link

    To throw some context in here, the purpose of this article isn't to publish Intel's benchmarks. Rather, it's commentary on what has been a very unusual situation.

    Up until now, neither AMD nor Intel have engaged in any serious Skylake Xeon vs. Zen EPYC technical marketing.

    "AMD's technical marketing of the new CPU has been surprisingly absent, as the company not published any real server benchmarks. The only benchmarks published were SPEC CPU and Stream, with AMD preferring for its partners and third parties to promote performance"

    This despite the fact that AMD and Intel's server products haven't been competitive like this in nearly a decade. Normally you'd expect there to be case studies flying out left and right, which has not been the case. And it's especially surprising since, as the underdog, AMD needs to claw back lost ground.

    Consequently, Intel's own efforts are, to date, the first efforts by a server vendor to do a comprehensive set of benchmarks over a range of use cases. And let's be clear here: this is Intel doing this for Intel's own benefit. Which is why we've already previously reviewed the two CPUs, as have other 3rd party groups.

    Still, I think it's very interesting to look at what Intel has chosen to represent, and what their numbers show. Intel has more resources than pretty much everyone else when it comes to competitive analysis, after all. So their choices and where they show themselves falling behind AMD says a lot about the current situation.

    (And no, this doesn't quality for #ad as Intel hasn't paid us. That's not how this works; that's not how any of this works)
    Reply
  • deltaFx2 - Wednesday, November 29, 2017 - link

    @Ryan Smith: "Up until now, neither AMD nor Intel have engaged in any serious Skylake Xeon vs. Zen EPYC technical marketing." I think that's largely because the market is different from a decade ago. Hyperscalers do their own testing and aren't swayed by Intel's or AMD's whitepapers. They do their own thing. There are still many companies that buy and maintain their own servers, but my understanding is that this market is shrinking or at least not growing. Cloud is where the money is, and they know what they want. I don't think AMD is trying to go after enterprise this time around (I'm sure they'll take their business but the main target seems to be hyperscalers. The CCX, MCM, large memory footprint etc all point to them saying we'll target scale-out as opposed to scale-up. AMD does quite well in scale-out, while taking a hit in scale-up.).

    Also, AMD might still be in the process of doing minor firmware tweaks as evidenced by tier-1 server availability (HP/Dell) coming online only end of Q4.
    Reply

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