Today we are going to launch Part 1 of our performance series on the dual AMD EPYC 7601 series processors. This is going to be the first of a multi-part series. For those wondering why we discussed a bit in our AMD EPYC Infinity Fabric Latency DDR4 2400 v 2666: A Snapshot piece but we have been waiting for our test platforms to mature to the point that we feel confident that our numbers will resemble what our readers will see if they buy systems.
With that said, our expanded benchmark suite runs are automated but take 10+ days to run, especially with the higher-end applications. We also wanted to get enough data we could use to compare systems that will compete in the marketplace. Comparing a $10,000 Intel Xeon Platinum and a $4,200 AMD EPYC CPU is not something that is overly useful since they are focused on different market segments. Every day that goes by we are collecting a significant amount of data on AMD and Intel platforms, but this process does take time. Just to give our readers a sense, at any given time we are now using about 10kW in the data center testing this new generation of gear.
The AMD EPYC 7601 is a great chip and an absolute monster in terms of raw specs. It has 32 cores, 64 threads. L3 cache measures 64MB. There is a total of eight DDR4-2666 memory channels capable of two DIMM per channel configurations or up to 2TB per CPU. PCIe lanes abound with 128x (1P) 64x (2P) I/O lanes per CPU that can be used for PCIe or SATA III. Let us be clear, on a platform level, the AMD EPYC 7000 series is simply awesome.
For our tests we have been using a Supermicro Ultra platform configured as follows:
- System: Supermicro 2U Ultra EPYC Server (AS-2023US)
- CPUs: 2x AMD EPYC 7601 32-core/ 64-thread CPUs
- RAM: 256GB (16x16GB DDR4-2400 or 16x16GB DDR4-2666)
- OS SSD: Intel DC S3710 400GB
- OS: Ubuntu 17.04 “Zesty” Server 64-bit
- NIC: Mellanox ConnectX-3 Pro 40GbE
We did run tests both with DDR4-2400 and DDR4-2666 and stand by our recommendation that anyone purchasing an AMD EPYC 7000 series system use only DDR4-2666.
We also wanted to make a few notes that we thought warranted discussion. First, we do have some professional application benchmarks that run on CentOS/ RHEL. We use CentOS 7.3 but with EPYC, we are going to suggest upgrading the kernel. Likewise, Ubuntu 16.04 is the current LTS release but we suggest using Ubuntu 17.04 “Zesty” or upgrading the kernel to 4.10 or later if you must use 14.04 LTS or 16.04 LTS. Our general policy is to use standard Ubuntu LTS and CentOS releases but AMD EPYC is getting more performance from newer software ecosystems. This is normal and we expect EPYC to get performance gains as software optimizes for the new CPU architecture.
Just to give one an idea in terms of power consumption, here is what we saw with the platform:
Overall, strong results. We are going to delve more into power consumption as we do the system review since chassis cooling, power supplies and platform configurations make such a big difference in today’s overall server power consumption. These numbers are directionally correct which should provide a sense of power consumption of the platform.
We also expect the Supermicro EPYC platforms to be among the first that are commercially available so it is a reasonable starting point.