AMD EPYC 3151 Market Positioning
Thes chips are not released in a vacuum instead, they have competition on both the Intel and AMD sides. When you purchase a server and select a CPU, it is important to see the value of a platform versus its competitors.
AMD EPYC 3151 v. AMD Alternatives
In terms of segmentation, the AMD EPYC 3151 is one of eight SKUs that were announced in the AMD EPYC 3000 first generation. Half have two die per package, the other half has a single die. Adding that second die puts that half of the SKU stack in a different league.
We see the AMD EPYC 3151 as almost a half-performance version of the high-end EPYC 3251 has 8 cores and 16 threads yet at a lower price. Although it has a higher 45W TDP rating than the EPYC 3201, and half the cores, in many cases the AMD EPYC 3151 is able to surpass the chip with a greater model number.
AMD has great segmentation between the AMD EPYC 3101 and the lower end of the 7000 series, the AMD EPYC 7251 to the point where they are very different products in just about every aspect. Also, CPU performance is significantly better than the AMD Opteron X3421 so there is strong differentiation there as well.
AMD EPYC 3151 v. Intel Alternatives
This is absolutely fascinating. The AMD EPYC is a strong competitor to the Intel Xeon D-2123IT in the 4 core / 8 thread embedded segment. AMD also has lower power consumption and pricing in that comparison. There are a few places where the Intel Xeon D-2123IT has simply better performance. Two of those are in raw memory bandwidth and in AVX-512 performance. If you are not overly constrained by either of those two and wanted a second-source supplier to Intel, the AMD EPYC 3151 makes a lot of sense. One does not need to port their code to the Aarch64 (Arm) and everything will work out of the box.
Beyond the Intel Xeon D-2100 series, if you are looking for a second source for an Intel Xeon D-1528 or lower part, the AMD EPYC 3151 should be an easy alternative. For new designs, the AMD EPYC 3151 may well be the first choice if the 45W TDP is not a barrier.
We see the AMD EPYC 3151 as more of a competitor to the Intel Xeon D than the Intel Atom C3000. The Intel Atom C3000 parts are significantly better than previous generations, but still not at the same level of per-core performance and features as the AMD EPYC 3000 series.
AMD EPYC 3151 v. Arm Competition
The AMD EPYC 3151 is more vulnerable to the Arm competition than higher-end SKUs. As Arm cores near x86 cores in terms of general compute capability, memory bandwidth, and I/O, the easiest adjacency is the segment that AMD EPYC 3151 occupies. There are eight core Arm chips on the market that if they became SBSA compliant, and added additional memory controller and PCIe capabilities could occupy this space. The technology is there, and we expect the 7nm generation to be the one where we start to see real competitors emerge. At 45W, Arm vendors should be able to deliver a lot of functionality and equal or better CPU performance. AMD’s lower TDP SKUs have a better competitive position in this sense.
While those Arm competitors are coming, the AMD EPYC 3151 works out of the box using the same ISO OS install images that are used on Intel machines. As one can also see from the one year lag between when we saw the launch and when channel partners started making adaptable products, AMD also has an advantage that it has been in the market. Arm Neoverse N1, its competitive core, just launched. Then chipmakers will turn those Neoverse N1 cores to chips (about a year lag.) Finally, those Arm Neoverse N1 chips will find their way into embedded applications. AMD still has some runway until this happens.
If you are building a lower-cost appliance, and 45W TDP is in your range (perhaps say 60-70W on a configured system), then the AMD EPYC 3151 is a strong option. SKU feature and segmentation differences are much stronger between the AMD EPYC 3151 and the EPYC 3101 and EPYC 3201 than what we typically see on the Intel side in this segment. That is impressive for a new line of embedded processors.
If you use Intel Broadwell-DE or Skylake-D Xeon D solutions in your channel offerings or embedded servers, you should get an AMD EPYC 3000 series, perhaps an AMD EPYC 3101 and AMD EPYC 3151 series platform and try it out. That means for Supermicro X10SDV and X11SDV customers try the M11SDV-4C-LN4F we tested with for this review.
As we saw with Spectre and Meltdown as well as L1TF and Foreshadow the performance impacts of security flaws can be different on Intel and AMD platforms. For customers who had to choose between motherboard suppliers in the embedded space, one can now choose between SoC suppliers as well. It is important for the ecosystem that there is a viable alternative in the market and the AMD EPYC 3151 should have minimal to no new software steps needed to use it as a second source alternative.
AMD has a strong offering for the embeeded space with the EPYC 3151.