Benchmark Configuration and Methodology

For our look at the ThunderX2, all of our testing was conducted on Ubuntu Server 17.10, Linux kernel 4.13 64 bit. Normally we would use an LTS version, but since the Cavium shipped with that Ubuntu version, we did not want to take any unnecessary risks by changing the OS. The compiler that ships with this distribution is GCC 7.2.

Unfortunately however, our AMD EPYC system has missed the deadline for this article. We ran into problems with that system right up to press time and are still debugging the matter. But in short, the system did not perform well after we performed a kernel upgrade.

Finally, you will notice that the DRAM capacity varies among our server configurations. The reason is simple: Intel's system has 6 memory channels, while Cavium's ThunderX2 has 8 memory channels.

Gigabyte - Cavium "Saber"

CPU Two Cavium ThunderX2 CN9980 (32 cores at 2.2 - 2.5 GHz)
RAM 512 GB (16x32GB) Micron Reg. DDR4 @2666
Internal Disks SANDISK Cloudspeed Gen II 800 GB
Motherboard Cavium Sabre
BIOS version 18/2/2018
PSU Dual 1600W 80+ Platinum


Intel's Xeon "Purley" Server – S2P2SY3Q (2U Chassis)

CPU Two Intel Xeon Platinum 8176  (28 cores at 2.1 GHz, 165W)
RAM 384 GB (12x32 GB) Hynix DDR4-2666
Internal Disks SAMSUNG MZ7LM240 (bootdisk)
Intel SSD3710 800 GB (data)
Motherboard Intel S2600WF (Wolf Pass baseboard)
Chipset Intel Wellsburg
BIOS version 9/02/2017
PSU 1100W PSU (80+ Platinum)

The typical BIOS settings can be seen below. I should also note that we have both hyperthreading and Intel's virtualization technology enabled.

Other Notes

Both servers are fed by a standard European 230V (16 Amps max.) power line. The room temperature is monitored and kept at 23°C by our Airwell CRACs.

Energy Consumption

One thing that concerned us was the fact that the Gigabyte "Saber" system consumed 500W while simply running Linux (so mostly idle). Under load however the system consumed around 800W, which is in line with our expectations, as we have two 180W TDP chips inside. So as is typically the case for early test systems, we are not able to do any accurate power comparisons.

In fact, Cavium claims that the actual systems from HP, Gigabyte and others will be far more power efficient. The "Sabre" testing system we received had several power management problems: immature fan management firmware, a BMC bug, and an oversized (1600W) PSU.

The ThunderX2 SKUs: 16 to 32 Cores Memory Subsystem Measurements


View All Comments

  • imaheadcase - Wednesday, May 23, 2018 - link

    I really think Anandtech needs to branch into different websites. Its very strange and unappealing to certain users to have business/consumer/random reviews/phone info all bunched together.

    Ever since anand actually left it really did venture into more a business/insider based website with random stuff thrown in. It is in no way a bad thing, its just like this review for instance would not appeal to %95 of readers normally. Everyone likes technology naturally that comes to this website, but its a fine line between talking about high end server components that are out of reach to people who just read the article on the mini-itx gaming motherboard. lol
  • Andrei Frumusanu - Wednesday, May 23, 2018 - link

    You're always free to skip articles, nobody's forcing you to read it. Reply
  • boeush - Wednesday, May 23, 2018 - link

    I guess he'd prefer the site content to be grouped in some manner roughly mirroring market segmentation. For instance: consumer, professional, enterprise, exotic/HPC. As opposed to jumbling everything together. Personally, I don't mind - but then, I'm not known for obsessive-compulsive organizing, either :) Reply
  • BurntMyBacon - Thursday, May 24, 2018 - link

    Given the large differences in tech, focus, needs, and trends, I wouldn't mind breaking out Phones and perhaps servers into their own sections. I think there is more than enough overlap to keep consumer and professional desktop/laptop/workstation together, but that is entirely up to how deeply you want to divide things up. On the other hand, you'll want all of it to show up on the front page in some form, or it'll look like the site doesn't have much activity. Perhaps separate pipelines for each category could work. That all said, I don't really mind just skipping over articles that don't interest me. :) Reply
  • imaheadcase - Thursday, May 24, 2018 - link

    Please, that is just lazy excuse. Even news websites have catagory based on the news you interested in. Anandtech literally had a review of a gaming motherboard then a high end server thing, and newz feed gets filled with phone and other news. Reply
  • name99 - Thursday, May 24, 2018 - link

    God, you must REALLY hate Twitter then...

    I argue with Andrei a lot, but every so often he writes a sentence like "You're always free to skip articles, nobody's forcing you to read it" that makes me want to clap him on the back and say "yes, YOU get it" :-)
  • Threska - Sunday, May 27, 2018 - link

    Taken to it's logical extreme the front page could be a dumping ground cesspool and the retort would be "you don't have to wade through any of it" which sounds witty but doesn't solve anything, but over time would lead to the predictable outcome of people leaving. Reply
  • imaheadcase - Sunday, May 27, 2018 - link

    I do hate twitter, but because it has no valid purpose other than to get customer service done faster with companies because it reflects more on them because public venue. Its mostly just a rant inducing place, or a place that is basically just texting anyways since everyone just wants you to send a DM.

    The whole idea of saying "you are free to skip it" is kinda silly thing to say on the internet now. Especially since more and more you can filter things according to what you want. Not only that, but with the tight competition with views from tech websites its in best interest to have more options.

    Even the layout of website never changed. I mean have you ever been to website without a adblocker on? They don't even advertise tech related stuff on it. Its just stupid clickbait stuff.

    Keep in mind, this is not a complaint about articles itself, its just how they are posted. I love this site, been coming to it ever since i built first pc when i was a kid. But its focus is all over the place now vs years ago out what its posting. I'm half thinking one day i will see a review of electronic toothbrush then next day new CPU.
  • GreenReaper - Monday, June 4, 2018 - link

    I'd be fine with that, as long as it was the best darn toothbrush in town! Reply
  • Threska - Sunday, May 27, 2018 - link

    Accessing through RSS might be a better solution especially with a good reader. Just needs accurate tags to match. Reply

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