AMD EPYC 3251 Benchmarks and Review the Challenger We Need

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OpenSSL Performance

OpenSSL is widely used to secure communications between servers. This is an important protocol in many server stacks. We first look at our sign tests:

AMD EPYC 3251 OpenSSL Sign Benchmark
AMD EPYC 3251 OpenSSL Sign Benchmark

Here are the verify results:

AMD EPYC 3251 OpenSSL Verify Benchmark
AMD EPYC 3251 OpenSSL Verify Benchmark

OpenSSL is a workload that we see quite often in the embedded space as a component of a larger application. Performance is still above the Intel Xeon Silver 4108 8-core mainstream part. That is impressive since the AMD EPYC 3251 has a lower TDP and is a significantly more compact package.

UnixBench Dhrystone 2 and Whetstone Benchmarks

Some of the longest-running tests at STH are the venerable UnixBench 5.1.3 Dhrystone 2 and Whetstone results. They are certainly aging, however, we constantly get requests for them, and many angry notes when we leave them out. UnixBench is widely used so we are including it in this data set. Here are the Dhrystone 2 results:

AMD EPYC 3251 UnixBench Dhrystone 2 Benchmark
AMD EPYC 3251 UnixBench Dhrystone 2 Benchmark

And the whetstone results:

AMD EPYC 3251 UnixBench Whetstone Benchmark Single And Multi
AMD EPYC 3251 UnixBench Whetstone Benchmark Single And Multi

One will hopefully see a pattern on these benchmarks which is the key takeaway. The AMD Zen architecture underpinning the AMD EPYC 3251 is extremely competitive with Intel Broadwell and Skylake generations in performance. AMD is not entering the market with a second-rate design, this 55W TDP part is competitive with much more expensive Intel chips.

GROMACS STH Small AVX2/ AVX-512 Enabled

We have a small GROMACS molecule simulation we previewed in the first AMD EPYC 7601 Linux benchmarks piece. In Linux-Bench2 we are using a “small” test for single and dual socket capable machines. Our medium test is more appropriate for higher-end dual and quad socket machines. Our GROMACS test will use the AVX-512 and AVX2 extensions if available.

AMD EPYC 3251 GROMACS STH Small Benchmark
AMD EPYC 3251 GROMACS STH Small Benchmark

The AMD EPYC 3251 performance is solid compared to the Intel Xeon Silver line. These findings in the AVX-512 enabled GROMACS again confirm that Intel is “sandbagging” performance specs of the Xeon D-2100 series. We were the first to report in our piece Intel Xeon D-2183IT Benchmarks and Review 16C SoC an AVX-512 Monster that the math units in the D-2100 series are more like the Intel Xeon Gold 6100 series than the Xeon Gold 5100, Silver, and Bronze CPUs. As a result, the AMD EPYC 3251 is more akin to the single FMS AVX-512 Intel competition.

Chess Benchmarking

Chess is an interesting use case since it has almost unlimited complexity. Over the years, we have received a number of requests to bring back chess benchmarking. We have been profiling systems and are ready to start sharing results:

AMD EPYC 3251 Chess Benchmark
AMD EPYC 3251 Chess Benchmark

Here one can see that the performance is grouped with our other 8 core CPU results. The AMD EPYC 3251 notches a small victory over the more expensive Intel Xeon Silver 4110 8-core mainstream CPU which is certainly an accomplishment.

The bottom line is this. If you are looking for an 8 core embedded CPU, the AMD EPYC 3251 is right with the Intel alternatives in terms of performance. That is doubly impressive since the memory bandwidth with dual DDR4 channels is more akin to the Intel Xeon D-1500 series, which it easily outpaces core for core.

Next, we are going to look at the power consumption of the chip. We are going to follow that with a discussion of the chip in relation to other chips in the market. We will end with our final thoughts on the AMD EPYC 3251.

18 COMMENTS

  1. Do ya’ll have the 16 core one?

    I’m going to ask our PM team if their fixin’ to make up our appliance with embedded 3000 EPYC.

  2. I’ll read the rest later, but you’re right on the need for an Intel alternative. These side channel attacks and the embedded clock bugs show a need in the market for a second x86 supplier.

    Can someone make a damn mini ITX motherboard with these, 4 DIMM slits and some NVMe headers?

  3. Are the single die parts way cheaper? The higher core counts looked like huge cost savings but I’m not seeing any on AMD’s site. Only 4 SKUs there https://www.amd.com/en/products/specifications/embedded/8161

    Model: AMD EPYC™ Embedded 3251
    Product Type: SOC
    Family: AMD EPYC™ Embedded Processors
    Line: EPYC Embedded SOC
    OPN: PE3251BGR88AF
    TDP: 55W
    CPU Type: Zen
    CPU Base Freq.: 2.5GHz
    CPU Max Freq.: 3.1GHz
    # of CPU Cores: 8
    # of Threads: 16
    GPU Support: No
    Security Processor: Yes
    Total L2 Cache: 4MB
    Total L3 Cache: 16MB
    System Memory Type: DDR4
    DDR4 Rate (Max): 2666 MHz
    Memory Controller: Dual Channel
    ECC: Yes
    USB 2.0: 0
    USB 3.0: 4
    USB 3.1 Gen1: 0
    USB 3.1 Gen2: 0
    SATA: 8
    Low Speed Interfaces: EMMC, eSPI, GPIO, I2C, LPC, SMBus, SPI, UART
    # of PCI controllers: 8
    Gen3: 32
    Gen2/3: 0
    Gen2: 0
    Ambient Temp Range: 0-105°C
    Enhanced Temp Support: Extended Temp (0-105°C)
    Infrastructure: SP4
    Last Time Buy: 2028
    Recommended for new designs: Yes

  4. Unless I missed something, but who makes the NIC? The lspci output showed the NIC as an AMD network card, but who did AMD license the NIC from? What network driver is it the chip using? That could provide some clues.

  5. I’m just surprised AMD building their own NIC IP. I suspect they licensed it as many others do. E.g. Asmedia makes the chipsets.

  6. Hi Misha, I understand it is an SoC. Typically what you do as part of SoC designs is license IP (in chip design IP means a blob of VHDL / Verilog code), so let’s say I design an ARM SoC, I get an ARM core from ARM, I may get a video core IP from Imigation, a flash controller IP from someone else. Yes, you can design pieces in-house too. Something like networking is so complicated and I don’t recall AMD having any experience in there, I doubt they started from scratch and just licensed IP from a Marvell or some other company. I’m curious what IP it is unless it is truly their own design.

  7. Finally, Patrick, thanks.

    I would assume that’s $315 USD in bulk lots of 1000 for the chip? Wholesaler price?
    So could we assume at least $550 / $600 US motherboards using this?

    I’d still strongly consider it, it certainly seems to perform. I’d prefer perhaps something 15w lighter and $100 lighter, but we’ll have to wait for more boards.

    As I posted on the forums, incredibly hugely disappointing that AsRock, SuperMicro, Tyan all either told me “nope, no interest in this!” or flat out didn’t respond!

    These would make a monster FreeNAS machine, especially the 3201 model with 8c/8t at only 30Watts!

    Patrick, do you know if this problem impacts the Epyc 7xxx or 3xxx series?
    https://bugzilla.kernel.org/show_bug.cgi?id=196683

    https://forums.freenas.org/index.php?threads/ryzen-stability-on-11-0-u4.59017/

  8. $315 is the tray pricing. Anyone buying these embedded parts is likely buying quantities for motherboard runs.

    I believe that kernel bug is for Ryzen users and has not been confirmed on EPYC.

  9. @kpin:

    I hadn’t thought of that, it seems unlikely but I wouldn’t put it past them to try that.
    I did contact SuperMicro, Tyan and AsRock about this CPU multiple times since Feb and have either had no response or an outright “no” from them, which was disapointing.

    However, SuperMicro already do some AMD Epyc stuff, so they aren’t ‘frightened’ of Intel, to my knowledge.

  10. We need a competitive board to the likes of SMCI’s x11sdv-*c-tlnf8 boards. (I hope I got the model name right from memory.)

    Would be great if we could get the same treats the Intel line currently has.

  11. Anyone know of a board coming out with the dual 10 Gb option? the supermicro boards which just came out are all 1 Gb.

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