Sizing Up Servers: Intel's Skylake-SP Xeon versus AMD's EPYC 7000 - The Server CPU Battle of the Decade?by Johan De Gelas & Ian Cutress on July 11, 2017 12:15 PM EST
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)|
|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|
|32||2.2 -3.2||$4200||Xeon 8160 (150W)||24||2.1-3.7||$4702|
|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|
|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
|EPYC 7281 (155/170W)||16||2.1-2.7||$650||Xeon 4114
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)|
|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.