AMD EPYC 7702P 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 7702P v. AMD Alternatives
The AMD EPYC 7702P has serious competition from its stablemates in the AMD EPYC 7002 Series. It is one of the higher cost per core parts for the “P” family of single-socket only SKUs, and about the middle of the pack for the entire line.
For those who need more cores than the AMD EPYC 7502P offers, this is really the primary upgrade path. During the launch event, I asked AMD why there is not a 48-core EPYC “P” series part, and I was told it did not make sense given the existing pricing scale. At around $4000 there is the AMD EPYC 7552 48-core part which can be used in single-socket servers, but at that point one is better off spending the extra $400 and getting 16 cores at $25 per core. That is some of the least expensive per core incremental pricing we have seen. If AMD had a $3300 48-core “P” SKU, it would be a much tougher recommendation.
We have tested the AMD EPYC 7742 in single socket configurations as you saw on our benchmarks. Frankly, unless there is a compelling and unique reason, it is hard to justify the significant price increase. One example of where we may get the higher-end 64-core part is at the 1TB+ memory level and with multiple PCIe devices. In the context of a $100,000+ system, we think the EPYC 7742 has merit as a single socket upgrade.
AMD EPYC 7702P v. Intel Xeon Alternatives
The AMD EPYC 7702P competes against the 2nd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable line in the mainstream server market. When we plot the Intel Xeon SKUs on the same chart this is what we are seeing:
AMD is essentially pricing its premium single-socket part at a price that is about what one would pay for the Intel Xeon Silver line like the Intel Xeon Silver 4214. At the same time, it is positioned as a premium part.
Since this is AMD’s top-end single-socket CPU, let us compare its capabilities to an Intel Xeon Platinum 8280:
Features wise, it is not close. If you see how many bars are at or above the 100% line, you can see why the AMD EPYC 7702P competes with two Intel Xeon CPU configurations.
Even in single-socket mode, we see appreciably more maximum power consumption with a single Intel Xeon Platinum 8280 versus an EPYC 7702P, more than the 5W TDP delta would seem to indicate.
At the lower end of the market, Intel has some competitive offerings. At this higher-tier, there Intel is not competitive, especially once pricing is accounted for.
Intel does have three primary features that AMD does not have a direct answer to. If you need AVX-512, DL Boost (VNNI), or Intel Optane DC Persistent Memory, and they are must-have features, Intel is the way to go. We are seeing Intel push the Optane DCPMM feature as one of its main competitive selling points now.
Most in the industry would agree, even if begrudgingly, that this 64 core AMD EPYC 7702P part is something unique and excellent in the market. It provides the ability to consolidate all of the lower-end dual Xeon Silver 4100 and Xeon E5-2600 V4 platforms by a 3:1 or a 4:1 server ratio or a 6:1 to 8:1 socket ratio. From a TCO point of view, once one includes networking, this can make a case to replace systems that are even just a year or two old. That is not something we have had in the industry for a long time.
AMD is delivering a part designed to compete with what Intel will announce in 2020, and win. Still, AMD is in-market today while we are still several quarters from Intel’s competitive offering. The two reasons we would not recommend the EPYC 7702P are if one does not need 64 cores in a single system or if one needs higher clock speeds. Otherwise, this is a chip everyone in the industry should have in their server RFPs and TCO models for the next year. The AMD EPYC 7702P is an absolutely disruptive force to the server market and is something we encourage our readers to at least evaluate for their needs.