AMD'S EPYC vs INTEL XEON - The Arch Rivalry
AMD soft-launched their new EPYC 7000 series processors. Based on the company's Zen architecture and scaled up to server-grade I/O and core counts, EPYC represents an epic achievement for AMD, once again putting them into the running for competitive, high-performance server CPUs after nearly half a decade gone.
Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) is making a big comeback in the x86 server processor space and it is turning out to the be one of the most valuable potential markets for the company. AMD's EPYC line of servers was unveiled in July 2017 and will soon they will begin production and compete against Intel's Xeon servers.
We shall be discussing on how AMD's strategy of innovating single-socket server and integrated GPU server will give them the edge over Intel's Xeon Servers.
Intel XEON has a 1MB L2 cache that’s 16-way associative but has higher (13 cycle) latency. Less L3 cache is integrated per core (1.375MB), the cache is 11-way set associative instead of 16-way, it has a 77 cycle latency (up from 44), and it’s a non-inclusive cache.
Intel’s use of very large L3 caches in previous Broadwell and Skylake-S chips mitigated this issue by providing a large absolute amount of cache space.
In comparison to Intel’s new chips, AMD’s EPYC uses its own CCX and Infinity Fabric doesn’t implement AVX-512, and has the same cache structure as Ryzen.
AMD uses its own distinct CPU Complex (CCX) design, which combines four CPU cores and an 8MB L3 cache. Two CCX’s make up one Zeppelin die, and AMD’s own EPYC diagrams show up to four dies per CPU package. The L3 is mostly exclusive victim cache, but AMD’s reliance on the CCX architecture for cross-communication between cores means there are some tangible penalties and impacts.
AMD’s FPU performance is surprisingly excellent compared with Intel. There are several reasons for this, but a number of them come down to various aspects of AVX and its impact on turbo clocks. For the last few product cycles, Intel has publicly stated that its Turbo Mode frequency figures depend on whether AVX is active, with non-AVX clocks being substantially lower. Intel’s Xeon 8176 has a non-AVX 28-core maximum turbo frequency of 2.8GHz, an AVX 2.0 28-core maximum turbo frequency of 2.4GHz, and an AVX-512 28-core maximum turbo frequency of just 1.9GHz.
This is going to be a game changer for AMD as they have launched their new line of product that is priced amazinly lower than their rival product.
AMD has a significant advantage in base price; the top-end EPYC 7601 (180W TDP) is a 32-core chip with a 2.2GHz base / 3.2GHz max clock speed and a $4,200 price tag. Whereas Intel’s Xeon 8180 is a 28-core chip with a 2.5 – 3.8GHz max clock and a $10,009 price tag
The sum up the entire discussion we would say that AMD's EPYC is going to do well in the market and would surely eat up some of the market share Intel has been sitting on for a long time. But some would still say that AMD’s EPYC isn’t the better choice in every situation or environment. A combination of lower prices, competitive performance and some solid test wins show AMD would give Intel a tough competition, even at the top of the market. For hardware cost-conscious companies or vendors, EPYC is a very strong brand. But Intel XEON shows some formidable performance gains of its own, has a better scaling mesh topology, and the stronger overall level of performance.