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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  • TheOriginalTyan - Tuesday, July 11, 2017 - link

    Another nicely written article. This is going to be a very interesting next couple of months. Reply
  • coder543 - Tuesday, July 11, 2017 - link

    I'm curious about the database benchmarks. It sounds like the database is tiny enough to fit into L3? That seems like a... poor benchmark. Real world databases are gigabytes _at best_, and AMD's higher DRAM bandwidth would likely play to their favor in that scenario. It would be interesting to see different sizes of transactional databases tested, as well as some NoSQL databases. Reply
  • psychobriggsy - Tuesday, July 11, 2017 - link

    I wrote stuff about the active part of a larger database, but someone's put a terrible spam blocker on the comments system.

    Regardless, if you're buying 64C systems to run a DB on, you likely will have a dataset larger than L3, likely using a lot of the actual RAM in the system.
    Reply
  • roybotnik - Wednesday, July 12, 2017 - link

    Yea... we use about 120GB of RAM on the production DB that runs our primary user-facing app. The benchmark here is useless. Reply
  • haplo602 - Thursday, July 13, 2017 - link

    I do hope they elaborate on the DB benchmarks a bit more or do a separate article on it. Since this is a CPU article, I can see the point of using a small DB to fit into the cache, however that is useless as an actual DB test. It's more an int/IO test.

    I'd love to see a larger DB tested that can fit into the DRAM but is larger than available caches (32GB maybe ?).
    Reply
  • ddriver - Tuesday, July 11, 2017 - link

    We don't care about real world workloads here. We care about making intel look good. Well... at this point it is pretty much damage control. So let's lie to people that intel is at least better in one thing.

    Let me guess, the databse size was carefully chosen to NOT fit in a ryzen module's cache, but small enough to fit in intel's monolithic die cache?

    Brought to you by the self proclaimed "Most Trusted in Tech Since 1997" LOL
    Reply
  • Ian Cutress - Tuesday, July 11, 2017 - link

    I'm getting tweets saying this is a severely pro AMD piece. You are saying it's anti-AMD. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Reply
  • ddriver - Tuesday, July 11, 2017 - link

    Well, it is hard to please intel fanboys regardless of how much bias you give intel, considering the numbers.

    I did not see you deny my guess on the database size, so presumably it is correct then?
    Reply
  • ddriver - Tuesday, July 11, 2017 - link

    In the multicore 464.h264ref test we have 2670 vs 2680 for the xeon and epyc respectively. Considering that the epyc score is mathematically higher, howdoes it yield a negative zero?

    Granted, the difference is a mere 0.3% advantage for epyc, but it is still a positive number.
    Reply
  • Headley - Friday, July 14, 2017 - link

    I thought the exact same thing Reply

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