Intel Xeon Silver 4214 Benchmarks and Review

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Intel Xeon Silver 4214 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.

Intel Xeon 4214 v. Intel Alternatives

Many of our readers will want to know if they should upgrade the Intel Xeon Silver 4210 to the Intel Xeon Silver 4214 when they are configuring their servers for an order. There are a few ways to look at that question.

Here is a quick look at what the Intel Xeon Silver 4214 value analysis looks like compared to the previous generation as well as other mainstream Xeon Silver SKUs in this generation:

Intel Xeon Silver 4200 V 4100 Value
Intel Xeon Silver 4200 V 4100 Value

The sweet spot here is with the Intel Xeon Silver 4210 when looking only at CPU cost. On the other hand, when you consider that server configurations are getting richer, driving up ASPs, the $193 per socket upgrade is likely warranted.

That begs the question of whether one upgrades to the Silver 4216. We think in most cases the answer is yes, but the TDP is slightly higher on that part at 100W.

Intel Xeon Silver 4214 v. AMD EPYC Alternatives

We are publishing this review just before the AMD EPYC “Rome” next-generation CPUs will launch. As a result, Intel has its updated line that is more competitive with the AMD EPYC “Naples” platform in terms of performance and price/ performance.

As we pointed out, the AMD EPYC 7281 16-core part costs less, has more memory channels, more PCIe lanes, and also uses more power. The flip side to this, is that our effective CPU cost for the AMD EPYC 7401P in the servers STH orders for its internal clusters is now well below even the EPYC 7281’s list price. Realistically, one can get more than 2x the AMD EPYC 7001 “Naples” cores for the less than the Intel Xeon Silver 4214 CPU systems we are quoted. 12 Intel cores v. 16 AMD “Naples” cores is close. 12 v. 24 is not. If your workload is impacted by AMD EPYC 7001 four NUMA node designs, then Intel is still the easier choice.

Final Words

What an interesting market segment. Here Intel did a blockbuster job delivering 20-30% more performance per dollar at the same TDP compared with the previous generation. It sets up questions on whether one should buy up from the Silver 4210 to the Intel Xeon Silver 4214 or go higher still to the Silver 4216. That is going to depend on budget constraints because, from a CPU perspective, one gets some of the best performance per dollar gains in the Intel Xeon Silver segment.

At the same time, we wonder if that is enough. AMD’s partners are fire-selling the 2017-era AMD EPYC 7001 “Naples” CPUs readying for their 2019 EPYC 7002 “Rome” launch. At prices from the same vendors that STH is getting quoted for single CPU configurations, going AMD gives twice the core count at a lower price, but with higher power costs.

One thing is for sure, this is an exciting segment in the heart of the server market. Seeing some competition in this space for the first time in around seven years is welcome. The Intel Xeon Silver 4214 has a pedigree born of this competition, and we think that customers who buy at the Silver 4×14 level are in for a major performance bump with this generation.

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