AMD EPYC 7002 Series Rome Delivers a Knockout


AMD EPYC 7002 PCIe Gen4 Network Performance

PCIe Gen4 has been around for some time, but the ecosystem for PCIe Gen4 capable devices is still relatively new. Mellanox has been a pioneer and has had PCIe Gen4 capable controllers since its previous generation ConnectX-5 line. Since we had the dual-port Mellanox ConnectX-5 VPI PCIe Gen3 cards from our Gigabyte G481-S80 8x NVIDIA Tesla GPU Server Review, we decided to test those cards against the Mellanox ConnectX-5 VPI PCIe Gen4 (CX556A) variants. We hooked each of the cards up to our 100GbE Dell Z9100-ON switch and wanted to see if there was indeed a benefit to newer PCIe Gen4.

Mellanox CX556A 100GbE And EDR
Mellanox CX556A 100GbE And EDR

There is certainly a lot of room for improvement here. Pushing dual 100GbE links even with something as simple as iperf/ iperf3 is not trivial. Still, this is a more or less out-of-the-box performance of dual 100GbE ports without a lot of tuning

Mellanox ConnectX 5 100GbE PCIe Gen3 And Gen4
Mellanox ConnectX 5 100GbE PCIe Gen3 And Gen4

Make no mistake, this is a big deal. The PCIe Gen3 100GbE network links are utilizing their upstream switch ports at under 60% utilization. In essence, expensive 100GbE switch ports are being wasted by more than 40% using Intel Xeon Scalable and PCIe Gen3. The $1000 NIC is going over 40% wasted with Intel. The “inexpensive” $100 DACs between the machine and its switch are wasted with Intel.

If you want to do NVMe over Fabric, as an example, then PCIe Gen4 has another benefit: it allows for more I/O to even PCIe Gen3 devices. Architecturally, a 24-drive PCIe x4 NVMe 2U chassis requires 96 lanes. That means for a dual Intel Xeon Scalable server, to add one 100GbE NIC to the server, one needs at minimum 112 lanes or 16 more than the dual Xeon server can provide. That also leads to an 6:1 oversubscription ratio with 16 PCIe lanes for network and 96 lanes for SSDs. Instead, we see NVMe servers based on Intel Xeon often with one or two PCIe switches and a x16 link back to the CPU from each switch. That means one keeps the 100GbE NIC bandwidth at 1:1. On the other hand, one is limited to a maximum of PCIe Gen3 x16 speeds using this configuration.

AMD EPYC 7002, even in a single-socket configuration, can handle 24x NVMe SSDs with 96x PCIe Gen3 lanes at full speed (theoretically even only using x48 PCIe Gen4 lanes with appropriate PCIe switches.) It still can place one or two PCIe Gen3 NICs in a Gen3-only system which is only a 3:1 oversubscription, half of Intel’s. Alternatively, it can handle one PCIe Gen4 100GbE NIC and still see a 3:1 oversubscription with 16 lanes for SATA or NVMe boot. The other configuration is two 100GbE PCIe Gen4 NICs in which case NVMe bandwidth to network bandwidth is a 1.5:1 ratio. That also happens on a single NUMA node where Intel needs to span two NUMA nodes to the detriment of performance.

Bottom line, PCIe Gen4 matters and will enable a new class of performance in systems even using legacy PCIe Gen3 storage, networking, and accelerators. System builders can create the systems using a single AMD EPYC 7002 CPU that are not possible with even two Intel Xeon CPUs.

AMD EPYC 7002 Power Consumption

As vendors crank up the TDP on their parts, power consumption is an area we hear less about. Packages like the Intel Xeon Platinum 9200 series and NVIDIA Tesla V100 can put pressure on cooling at a rack level due to high TDPs. On a relative scale, today’s mainstream CPUs are much easier to cool. Still, there is a big story with the AMD EPYC 7002 series.

We are going to present a few data points in a min/ max. The minimum is system idle. Maximum is maximum observed through testing for the system. AMD specifically asked us not to use power consumption from the 2P test server with pre-production fan control firmware we used for our testing. We are also not allowed to name because Intel put pressure on the OEM who built it to have AMD not disclose this information, despite said OEM having their logo emblazoned all over the system. Yes, Intel is going to that level of competitive pressure on its industry partners ahead of AMD’s launch.

Instead, we are going to present 1P power consumption. Each system was setup with Micron 32GB DIMMs in the fastest the CPU would allow. The systems also had four 3.84TB Micron 9300 NVMe SSDs installed. We found three 2U systems that could handle this type of configuration for AMD and Intel. We are using the Dell EMC PowerEdge R7415 (AMD EPYC 7001), the Supermicro SuperStorage SSG-5029P-E1CTR12L (Intel Xeon), and a new Gigabyte R272-R32 (EPYC 7002.) We will have our Gigabyte R272-R32 review coming, but this is a PCIe Gen4 capable 24-bay NVMe server with extra PCIe Gen4 slots available for high-speed networking.

AMD EPYC 7002 Power Consumption
AMD EPYC 7002 Power Consumption

Here we can see a completely intriguing pattern emerge. AMD uses about the same power as the higher-end Xeon Scalable processors. At the Intel Xeon Silver range, power is much lower, but we are looking at higher-end CPUs in this piece. Remember, an Intel Xeon Scalable system also requires a Lewisburg PCH with 15-21W TDP. The PCH is integrated into the AMD EPYC design. As such, Intel’s lower-end power figures tend to be a bit higher than what one may expect from a chip’s TDP.

AMD seems to have just decided against sampling us low TDP parts. One can set the cTDP to a lower value and constrain power/ performance. One can also set it higher, for example up to 240W cTDP on the AMD EPYC 7742 part. We are going to have a dedicated piece on those impacts on power and performance soon. Still, there are no sub-100W TDP parts on AMD’s SKU list. AMD is pushing a consolidation story, and that makes absolute sense.

This is the important part to remember: performance per watt. Intel absolutely hammered AMD on this in previous generations of server and client products. Now, the tables have turned, especially at the high-end. AVX-512 is a particular feature that absolutely pushes Intel Xeon power consumption. It seems AMD’s decision to omit AVX-512 in this generation means that it is more power-efficient. In every dual-socket test, we are seeing the AMD EPYC 7742 out-perform the dual Intel Xeon Platinum 8280 configuration sometimes by ~2x, and yet the maximum power is lower.

Real-World Power Savings Example: STH Load Generation

Practically, performance per socket has a big impact on power. We have a series of 2U 4-node chassis in the lab with dual Intel Xeon E5-2630 V4 CPUs, 128GB of RAM, and 10/50GbE NICs each that we use for load generation targets. This was the high-volume mainstream market through Q2 2017.

Intel 2U4N 2P Xeon E5 2630 V4 Load Gen Nodes
Intel 2U4N 2P Xeon E5 2630 V4 Load Gen Nodes

You may have seen a few of the results from this configuration leak into our performance results. We are looking at somewhere between 3-4 of these dual-socket mainstream Xeon E5 V4 systems from a year ago consolidating into 1 single socket AMD EPYC 7702P system.

Frankly, this completely breaks corporate IT purchasing cycles. Consolidating 6-8 sockets into 1 has an immense VMware licensing impact. Further, we are using about one-quarter of the power even with some of the efficiencies we gained by going 2U 4-node. To your IT procurement folks, this is the view:

Supermicro 1U WIO AMD EPYC 7002 And 4x Intel 2U4N Xeon E5 2630 V4 Nodes
Supermicro 1U WIO AMD EPYC 7002 And 4x Intel 2U4N Xeon E5 2630 V4 Nodes

The TDP of the AMD EPYC 7702P is higher than the Intel Xeon E5-2630 V4’s, but when you are replacing 6-8 sockets to 1 socket, the power savings are absolutely immense. We have not seen 6:1 consolidation ratios in under 2.5 years of technology advancement happen in the industry.

Next, we are going to discuss the solution’s market positioning and then give our final thoughts.


  1. Absolutely amazing. I still can’t believe the comeback AMD has made in just a few years. From a joke to toppling over the competitor for the top position in what, 3 odd years?

    Definitely going to get this for our next server build. Major props to AMD.

  2. “Intel does not have a competitive product on tap until 2020.”
    Cooper Lake is not remote competitive with Rome, much less it’s actual 2020 competitor Milan.

    Highly unlikely Intel will be close to competitive until it’s Zen equivalent architecture on it’s 7nm node.

  3. Wow! I’ve been holding out upgrading my E5 v3-generation server, workstations, and render farms in my post-production studio because what has been available as upgrades seemed so incremental, it was udnerwhelming. And now here comes Rome and the top SKU is performing 5-6X faster than an E5-2697 v3! Maybe a weird comparison, but specific to me. I’m thinking back to some painfully long renders on recent jobs and imagining those done 5x faster…

    I would really, really love to see some V-Ray or even Cinebench benchmarks. I know I’m not the target market, but I’m not alone in wanting this for media & entertainment rendering and workstation use. Any chance you could run some for us?

    Also, what Rome chip would you need for a 24x NVMe server to make sure the CPU isn’t the bottleneck?

    Great work, as always. Thank you!

  4. Intel’s got Ice Lake too. I’d also wager that Patrick and STH know more about Intel’s roadmap than most.

    Ya’ll did a great job. Using CPU 2017 base instead of peak was good. I thought it was shady of AMD to use peak in their presentations.

    I’d like to see sysbench come back.

  5. Most OEMs will have no problems with moving to Rome but Apple is in a tough situation with their Intel partnership, aren’t they? How can they market Xeon generational improvements when others are will be talking about multiplying performance and a substantial relative price decrease?

  6. Take a look at the top of dual socket systems in the SPECrate2017_int_base benchmark here:
    Supermicro already posted a 655 base with 7742’s to top the charts.

  7. Wizard W0wy – we applied patches, however:
    1. We left Hyper-threading on. I know some have a harder-line stance on if they consider HT on a fully-mitigated setup.
    2. We did not patch for SWAPGSAttack. AMD says they are already patched or not vulnerable here. Realistically, SWAPGSAttack came out the day before our review and there was no way to re-run everything in a day.

    Tyler Hawes – we have the Gigabyte R272-Z32 shown on the topology page. That will handle 24x U.2 NVMe but that will be a common 2U form factor in this generation. CPU selection will depend on NIC used, software stack, and etc., but that is a good place to investigate.

  8. Awesome article STH

    I would love to see some more latency test, Naples had some issues with latency sensitive workloads in part due to the chiplet design. So, will you guys test it out in the future?

    And more database tests?

  9. You did mention you would talk more about 3rd Gen EPYC? I don’t think I saw it anywhere in the article. Will it be out to compete with Ice Lake? What are the claims so far?

    Thanks for the great article! Best I’ve read so far.

  10. I’m also disappointed in the lack of a second gen 7371 SKU. Our aging HP GL380p G8 MSSQL server is due for a replacement, and I don’t want to have to license any more cores. Per-core performance really shines considering $7k/core. It would feel wrong to deploy without PCIe Gen 4; I might drop a 7371 into one of the new boards (if I can get any vendor support) and swap it when the time comes.

  11. I appreciate the amount of work you have done in compiling all this information. Thank you, and well done.

    Also, well done to AMD! What an amazing product they have delivered. Truly one of the greatest leaps in performance-per-dollar we have seen in recent years.

  12. Hello Patrick,
    There was a Gigabyte converged motherboard layout (H262-Z66) floating out that showed 4 Gen-Z 4C slots coming from the CPU. There were rumors of Gen -Z in Rome going back to the Summer of 2018; Is there anything you can tell us about that?

  13. Hi guys, taking my wife to the hospital in 30 minutes for surgery. Will try to get a few more answered but apologies for the delay later today. She broke her elbow (badly.) Thank you for the kind comments.

    Jesper – it is a bit different in this generation. When you are consolidating multiple sockets, or multiple servers, into a single socket, your latency comparison point becomes different as well. We have data but tried to manage scope for the initial review. We will have more coming.

    Luke – Milan is coming, design complete, 7nm+ and the same socket. AMD said the Rome socket is the Milan socket.

    Billy – I think AMD’s problem is that there is so much demand for their current stack, some of those SKUs did not make the launch. I am strongly implying something here.

    Michael Benjamins – 2P 7742 was 27005 without doing thread pinning. There is a lot more performance there. Also, Microsoft Windows Server 2019 needed a patch (being mainlined now) to get 256 threads to boot. I am not sure if I want to show this before we get a better tuned result. Even with this, R20 hits black screen to fully rendered in ~12 seconds. Cores were under 40-98% load for <10 seconds with R20. I actually think R20 needs a bigger test for a 256 thread system.

  14. I’m not sure I understand the paragraph about Intel putting pressure on OEMs. What exactly should not be named/disclosed? Can someone please explain the meaning to me?

    Sounds like the typical and shady anti competitive measures Intel is known for.

    p.s. I hope this is not a double post, but I got no indication if my previous submit worked or not.

  15. Quick question on the successor to Snowy Owl? Have we got an ETA, or will AMD simply pop Ryzen in its place, like ASRock have done?

  16. This is f@#$ing great work. You’ve covered high-level, deep technical, business and market impact, with numbers and practical examples like your load gen servers that are great. I’ve read a few of the other big sites but you’re now on a different level.

  17. To anyone that’s new I’ll reiterate what I said on the jellyfish-fryer article

    Patrick’s the Server Jesus these days.

    He’s done all the server releases and they’re reviewing all the servers

  18. Okay. My criticism was this looked really long. I started reading yesterday. Finished today. Why’d AMD have to launch so late????

    After I was done reading I was totally onboard with your format. You’ve got a lot of context interjected. I’d say this isn’t as sterile as a white paper, but it’s ultra valuable.

    Now get to your reviews on CPUs and servers.

  19. @Youri and another Epyc system from Gigabyte already beat the SuperMicro one at your link ;)

    R282-Z90 (AMD EPYC 7742, 2.25GHz)

  20. I’m thinking you should submit this to some third tier school and call it a doctoral thesis for a PhD. That was a dense long read. I’ve been reading STH since Haswell and I’ll say that I really like how you’ve moved away from ultra clinical to giving more anecdotes. I can tell the difference reading STH over other pubs. This is deep and thorough.

  21. What vendor can accept the first orders for the systems with AMD EPYC 7002 (configurator ready) and is able to ship let’s say within next 2-3 weeks?

  22. I am so glad I waited until today to read this, when I could sit down and read at my leisure. Thank you Patrick and team. This is why I read STH.

  23. “2. Customers to change behavior”

    This is likely not what AMD can do since there is no medicine or medical operation available to fix stupidity!

    Stupidity can’t be fixed by others except people themselves!

  24. Mike Palantir,
    During the event, I thought I recalled the HP rep stating they had systems available for order today.

  25. FYI Rumour rag, WCCF claimed to Fact check your statistic’s!

    “Warning: some of the numbers below are simply absurd.

    ServeTheHome reviewed the top-end 64 core dual socket and found that “AMD now has a massive power consumption per core or performance advantage over Intel Xeon, to the tune of 2x or more in many cases.”

    The new EPYC parts have a massive I/O advantage with 300% the memory capacity versus Xeon 33% more memory channels (8 versus 6) and finally 233% more PCIe Gen3 lanes. But what about actual performance?”

  26. This is probably a dumb question but are there any vendors that will be selling individual chips (not systems) within the next quarter or two? And who would the best vendor be?


  27. guys.. remember that both AMD and us as customers do owe TSMC a lot. Without TSMC all this would probably be not possible today.

  28. Never mind my previous comment. Newegg is selling the processors and is already on back order to the end of August for most of the desirable SKU’s.

  29. Patrick thank you for the informative article and all the great work you and your team do. Also would like to thank the STH readers for their article comments and posts in the forums. This is one of very few sites where I actually enjoy reading what other people think and say…

    And thank you for the nudge nudge wink wink information with regards to the 7371 style skus. I have a application that processes in a very serial fashion and it benefits from higher megahertz vs Core quantity, though 16 cores is perfect for the SQL and other tasks on the machine. I’m excited about the new NUMA architecture and I’m looking forward to whatever is next.

    Best wishes and a speedy recovery to your wife!

  30. @Billy
    Epyc 7542 would probably match or beat the 7371 in mosts lightly threaded tasks.
    What can TSMC make that Samsung couldn’t?

  31. Amazing writeup Patrick, once again! Beamr is proud to be a Day 1 application partner as the only company focused on video encoding. As a result of this amazing achievement by AMD, on the Gen 2 EPYC we were demonstrating at the launch event 8Kp60 HDR live HEVC video encoding on a single socket of a 7742.

    And as a result of having 64 high performance cores, because we are heavily optimized for parallel operation, all cores were utilized at 95% or above! Beamr is super excited to have this level of performance available to our first tier OTT streaming customers and large pay TV operators.

    AMD has broken through on so many levels with this new processor generation that I understand why you feel the need to even go deeper with your analysis and review after writing an “epic” 11k word article.

  32. Great look at the next big thing… After it all, I can only ask if with FINALLY a 1 node socket is there any talk of 4P or 8P…
    The thought of 512C\1024T in a 4U is like dreams come true… And if the rumors of SMT4 turn out to be true (EUV does give 20% more density and power-savings) 512C/2048T could do most heavy jobs in one box…
    And it does change the landscape since the progression from 8C to 64C covers basically 100% of the market.. The market doesn’t care if they need 1P or 8P, they only care about the areas where AMD is excelling…
    Another interesting area I’m not seeing a lot of is Edge Computing… This should seal the deal with an 8 or 16C that can have 6 NICs and an Instinct for AI inferencing…

    Love the site… Looking at bare metal in the future…

  33. So what they’ve figured out that other sites haven’t yet, is the whole consolidation story. That 4 Xeon E5-2630 V4 to 1 epyc really resonates.

  34. It will be interesting to see how long it is before VMware and other companies start adjusting their licensing to reflect future market trends. Software companies have investors to please too. If Intel doesn’t have anything to compete by the time prices start going up then it could cause a huge wave of companies switching to AMD for the simple fact that their licensing would be too expensive otherwise. The other thing they could do is switch. Everything to per core licensing which would give Intel a slight advantage or possibly just a tie once you factor in the total cost. I bet you big changes are coming though. No company could survive having their revenue cut to 1/6 its original value in a couple of years.

  35. So this is me just thinking about this some more. It will also be interesting to see the impact this could have on interest in open source alternatives. Costs jumping 2-6x are the kind of events that get people to start looking into alternatives.

  36. Colby, vmware changing its licensing to per core after appearing and praising rome on stage together with amd, would be one of the top3 stupidest move this industry has ever seen. Not impossible, but highly improbable.

  37. Yeah but in my experience when it comes to looking like an idiot and having to explain to your investors and wall street analysts why your revenue stream has been cut in half most CEOs would prefer to look like an idiot. After all the CEO owns a good portion of the company as well. I don’t necessarily think it will be all at once but instead of a 3% annual increase we may start seeing 10-15%. They also may be hoping that due to the cost reduction allowed in Rome that they will see more customers coming in looking to virtualize since it will be cheaper. Another thing that could potentially go VMware’s way would be if customers just started giving more resources to each vm since they aren’t as constrained by their licensing anymore. Instead of dual core vms with 4GB of ram now everyone gets

  38. …everyone gets 4 cores and 8GB with the benefit to the company being added productivity. Nothing happens in a vacuum in business but the question is what factors are going to prevail the most.

  39. Just joining in for the thanks. The most thorough and in-depth review on the net I’ve found so far.

    Also, Patrick, I wish your wife quick and full recovery. So you can get back to benchmarking, that is ;)

  40. I’m surprised at how inexpensive the lower core count 1P processors are. Are these practical in a high end CFD workstation or for other compute intensive workstations ?

    Someone needs to compare the Ryzen 9 3950X ($750) with the soon to be released 16 core Zen2 with the 7302P ($825). Can’t believe a 16 bit Rome EPYC is only $75 more than the R9 ! The 16 core Zen 2 has to be priced between these 2 devices, maybe $800 ?

    With the 7502P (32 cores) selling for $2300, I guess we know the upper end of the price on the Zen2 32 bit Threadripper.

    Another thing to keep in mind is that Zen3 products will be shipping in 15 months or so. They will surely push down the price/performance curve even further. Zen 3 will be 7nm EUV, which should be 20% higher density, lower power consumption and faster clock speeds. Zen 3 Ryzen should be 32 core, TR should be 128 core, EPYC should be 128 or even 256 core !

  41. @Nobody I’m also really curious about the suitability of these chips for a workstation and how they compare to threadripper. Patrick thought the clock speeds on gen 1 EPYC chips were too slow before the 7371 was released.

  42. Devastating. Adding the fact that second generation is compatible to SP3 and vendors have v2-enabled BIOSes out there already is a serious hit. Good job, AMD

  43. Followed the link back from your article on the 7 and 10nm Intel woes. When you wrote this, you expected Intel to be competitive in 2020. Instead Intel’s process woes have messed up the other parts of the company, and they are considering contracting out CPU and GPU production!

    I never thought I’d see Intel mess up so badly on process, and I know I’m not alone on this. It has given AMD a really big doorway, and curiously enough also seems to have opened the doorway further for ARM vendors, due I think to AMD being limited in production capabilities.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.