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AMD's EPYC Milan Breaks Cinebench Record, Here's a 10nm Ice Lake Xeon Comparison

(Image credit: AMD)

AMD's EPYC Milan processors launched last month with 120 new world records to their credit in various applications, like HPC, Cloud, and enterprise workloads. But variants of these chips will eventually come to the market as Threadripper models for high end desktop PCs, and AMD's server records don't tell us too much about what we could expect from the PC chips. However, the company recently broke the Cinebench world record with its Milan chips, giving us an idea of what to expect in rendering work. Just for fun, we also ran a few tests on Intel's new flagship 40-core Ice Lake Xeon chips to see how they stack up against not only AMD's new record it set with the server chips, but also a single AMD Threadripper processor.

During the latest episode of AMD's The Bring Up YouTube video series, the company took two of its $7,980 EPYC Milan 7763 chips for a spin in Cinbench R23, a rendering application that AMD commonly uses for its desktop PC marketing (largely because it responds exceedingly well to AMD's Zen architectures).

As a quick reminder, AMD's flagship 7763 server chips come armed with the 64 Zen 3 cores and 128 threads apiece and have a 2.45 GHz base and 3.5 GHz boost frequency. All told, we're looking at a Cinebench run with 128 cores and 256 threads, which you can see in the tweet below:

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The dual 7763's scored 113,631 points, while the previous world record weighed in at 105,570 (as per HWBot rankings). AMD says it used a reference server design with conventional air cooling for the test run, so there were no special accommodations or overclocking. The system peaked at 85C and 403W during the test run. Here's AMD's official HWBot world record submission

1K Unit Price / RCPCores / ThreadsBase / Boost - All Core (GHz)L3 Cache (MB)TDP (W)
AMD EPYC Milan 7763$7,89064 / 1282.45 / 3.5256280
Intel Xeon Platinum 8380$8,09940 / 802.3 / 3.2 - 3.060270

That isn't much info to work with, but it's enough for us to set up our own test. We ran a few tests with a dual Xeon 8380 Ice Lake Xeon server we used for our recent review. Much like AMD's test system, this is a standard development design with air cooling (more details in the review). The Xeon system houses two $8,099 10nm Ice Lake Xeons with 40 cores 80 threads apiece that operate at a 2.3 GHz base and 3.2 GHz boost frequency. Yes, AMD's Milan outweighs the Xeon system, but the Ice Lake 8380 is Intel's highest-end part, and both chips come with comparable pricing.

We're looking at the EPCY Milan server with 128 cores and 256 threads against the Intel Ice Lake system with 80 cores and 160 threads. Our quick tests here are not 100% like-for-like so take these with a grain of salt, though we did our best to match AMD's test conditions. Here are our test results, with a few extras from the HWBot benchmark database mixed in:

Cinebench Benchmarks
ScoreCoolingChip Price
2x AMD EPYC Milan 7763113,631Air$15,780
1x Threadripper 3990X (Splave)105,170Liquid Nitrogen (LN2)$3,990
2x EPYC 7H1292,357Air?
2x Intel Xeon Platinum 838074,630Air$17,000
1x Threadripper 3990X (stock)64,354 All-In-One (AIO) Liquid Cooling$3,990

As you can see, in Cinebench R23, the dual EPYC Milan 7763's are 52% faster than the dual Ice Lake Xeon 8380's. AMD lists a 403W peak power consumption during its tests, but we assume those measurements are for the processors only (and perhaps only a single processor). In contrast, our power measurement at the wall for the Xeon 8380 server weighed in at 1154W, but that includes a beastly 512GB of memory, other platform additives, and VRM losses, etc., meaning it's just a rough idea of power consumption that isn't comparable to the EPYC system.

Naturally, Cinebench R23 results have absolutely no bearing on the purchasing decision for a data center customer, but it is an interesting comparison. Notably, a single Threadripper 3990X, when pressed to its fullest with liquid nitrogen by our resident overclocking guru Splave, still beats the two Xeon Platinum 8380's, though the 8380's pull off the win against an air-cooled 3990X at stock settings (measured in our labs).

Finally, we decided to see how two Ice Lake Xeon 8380's compare against a broader set of processors. Intel suffered quite a bit of embarrassment back at AMD's launch of the 64-core Threadripper 3900X for high-end desktop PCs, as this $3,990 processor (yes, just one) beat two of Intel's previous-gen 8280 Xeons in a range of threaded workloads. Intel's Xeon's weighed in at $20,000 total and represented the company's fastest server processors. Ouch.

In fact, those benchmark results were so amazing that we included an entire page of testing in our Threadripper 3990X review comparing two of Intel's fire-breathing behemoths to AMD's single workstation chip, which you can see here. As a bit of a redux, we decided to revisit the standings with a quick run of Cinebench R20 with the new Intel 10nm Xeons. Notably, this test is with an older version of the benchmark than we used above, but that's so we can match our historical data in the chart below:

Xeon vs Threadripper

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Unfortunately, we don't have a dual-socket EPYC Milan 7763 system to add to our historical test results here, but we get a good enough sense of Ice Lake's relative positioning with this chart. The two Intel Ice Lake 8380's, which weigh in at $17,000, beat the single $3,990 Threadripper 3900X at stock settings. That's at least better than the dual 8280's that lost so convincingly in the past.

However, a quick toggle of the PBO switch, which is an automated overclocking feature from AMD that works with standard cooling solutions (no liquid nitrogen required), allows a single Threadripper 3990X to regain the lead over Intel's newest 10nm flagships in this test. Intel's latest chips also can't beat AMD's previous-gen EPYC Rome 7742's, which are 64-core chips.

Of course, this single benchmark has almost no bearing on the enterprise market that the Ice Lake chips are destined for, and the latest Xeon's do make solid steps forward in a broader range of tests that do matter, which you can see in our Ice Lake 8380 review. 

Paul Alcorn

Paul Alcorn is the Deputy Managing Editor for Tom's Hardware US. He writes news and reviews on CPUs, storage and enterprise hardware.