HPE ProLiant MicroServer Gen10 Plus Performance
In this section, we wanted to discuss the server’s CPU performance. The MicroServer Gen10+ at launch had two CPU options. The lower-end option was the Intel Pentium Gold G5420 and the higher-end Intel Xeon E-2224. You can read that linked Pentium Gold G5420 review, for example, to get some broader sense of performance and also what instructions have been shed for the lower-cost part. In our review, we are going to focus on five data points:
- AMD Opteron X3421 (Gen10 “Performance” SKU)
- Intel Xeon E-2224 (Gen10+ Performance SKU)
- Intel Pentium Gold G5420 (Gen10+ Value SKU)
- Intel Xeon Bronze 3204 (mainstream server low-end part)
- Intel Atom C3558 (popular embedded part for storage servers)
In our options article, we are going to discuss more about what other CPUs one can potentially upgrade this platform to. For now, we wanted to put some data around how much faster this new version is. We are selecting a subset of benchmarks from our normal test suite to show different views but also keeping the piece relatively short. You can see our full benchmark articles on STH for the chips.
We are going to use green to show the Xeon E-2224 and Pentium G5420 options for the Gen10 Plus. We have the previous generation’s “performance” model, the AMD Opteron X3421 highlighted in black. The two blue bars will be for the Xeon Bronze and Atom C3558 comparison points. The one exception will be for the 7zip compression/ decompression benchmarks. Hopefully, this simplified view will show our readers the basics in terms of the performance deltas between the two processor options and the impacts beyond core and clock speed in an easy-to-digest manner.
Python Linux 4.4.2 Kernel Compile Benchmark
This is one of the most requested benchmarks for STH over the past few years. The task was simple, we have a standard configuration file, the Linux 4.4.2 kernel from kernel.org, and make the standard auto-generated configuration utilizing every thread in the system. We are expressing results in terms of compiles per hour to make the results easier to read:
Here you can see a trend that will continue throughout these numbers. The dual-core Intel Pentium G5420 base-level value SKU is significantly faster than the previous generation performance AMD Opteron X3421. The Opteron X3421 is more of an Atom competitor, and it shows here.
7-zip Compression Performance
7-zip is a widely used compression/ decompression program that works cross-platform. We started using the program during our early days with Windows testing. It is now part of Linux-Bench.
Here we wanted to highlight the comparison between the two MicroServer Gen10 Plus CPU options and the Intel Xeon Bronze 3204. Many organizations configure ROBO servers with a Xeon Bronze, one or two sticks of RAM, and a drive or two. The MicroServer Gen10 Plus can offer more CPU performance at a lower cost and lower physical footprint with the Xeon E-2224 variants.
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:
Here are the verify results:
OpenSSL is a foundational technology on the web. Here we see a more muted benefit of the Pentium Gold G5420 over the previous-generation performance model. Still, this is a massive performance increase.
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.
GROMACS is a high-performance computing workload that is not likely to be run on a MicroServer Gen10 Plus in the real world. It does, however, utilize AVX-512 and AVX2. The Xeon Bronze 3204 utilizes AVX-512 and is able to keep up with the much higher clocked Xeon E-2224 that only supports AVX2 more than we would see if instruction sets were equal. At the same time, the Pentium G5420, Opteron X3421, and Atom C3558 do not support AVX2. As a result, their performance suffers.
The Pentium Gold G5420 only supports up to the SSE4.2 instruction set which is much older than the newer instructions supported by the Xeon E-2224. This is a good example of why the Xeon E is the performance option even beyond cores, threads, and clock speeds.
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 now have a fairly large data set for this workload.
Here, the Xeon E-2224 is able to really shine. Performance is again well over 2x the previous generation. This is also another example of where the Pentium G5420 is using popcnt instead of the slightly faster bmi2 instructions which hurts performance here.
Overall, the Intel Xeon E-2224 is our pick from a performance standpoint and is our recommendation unless one absolutely needs to save every dollar, regardless of benefits. With street pricing the difference is only around $100 and one gets a significantly better CPU, more RAM, and higher RAM clocks (DDR4-2666 v. DDR4-2400) with the Xeon E over the Pentium Gold.
Next, we are going to look at power consumption and noise before getting to the STH Server Spider and our final words.