When Alibaba's T-Head subsidiary introduced its 128-core Yitian 710 processor consisting of 60 billion transistors and produced on TSMC's N5 node, it made quite a splash in the world of CPUs. This week the company published official performance results of the chip at SPEC.org, an industrial benchmark, and revealed that the chip is actually the world's fastest processor in SPEC CPU2017 integer workloads, as noticed by ServeTheHome.
Alibaba's T-Head Yitian 710 datacenter system-on-chip integrates 128 Arm v9 cores operating at up to 3.20 GHz with 1MB of L2 cache per core and 128MB L3 cache per chip. The SoC packs eight DDR5-4800 memory channels that can provide up to 307.2 GBps of bandwidth, as well as 96 PCIe 5.0 lanes to attach high-performance solid-state storage, network cards, and other devices. The chip is exclusively used by Alibaba Cloud, which developed its proprietary Panjiu servers specifically for the Yitian 710 SoC. Panjiu can be used both for general-purpose and accelerated AI workloads, but to test the CPU in the SPEC CPU2017 benchmark Panjiu was used purely as a number crunching machine.
The tested Alibaba Cloud Panjiu server was based on a 128-core Yitian 710 operating at 2.75 GHz and mated with 512GB of DDR5-4800 (using eight 64MB modules). The machine run Anolis OS release 8.6 installed on a 240GB SATA SSD.
The machine's baseline SPEC CPU2017 integer rate reached 510 (3.984 per core), but there is no benchmark for the peak score. Meanwhile, even 510 is 15% higher when compared to AMD's 64-core EPYC 7773X processor, which scored 440 baseline result (6.875 per core). The highest baseline result achieved by Intel's 36-core Xeon Platinum 8351N processor is 266 (7.38 per core), whereas the best rate hit by Ampere's Altra 80-core machine is 301 (3.7625).
While Yitian's and Ampere's per core results look less impressive than their baseline results, the massive number of cores and the overall integer capability speak for themselves. If one needs an extreme integer rate, then the 128-core monster from Alibaba's T-Head looks to be the processor of choice.
Now, while integer rate of Yitian 710 in SPEC CPU2017 is nothing but spectacular, for some reason Alibaba Cloud did not submit any floating point results of its platform. Perhaps, the floating point unit of the processor is not as impressive as its integer unit, or maybe software and/or CPU microcode still have to be polished off. In any case, at present CPU2017 floating point rates are dominated by AMD's EPYC 7773X-based machines.
Alibaba Cloud will start to offer instances powered by its Panjiu servers equipped with its Yitian 710 processors this September. At present the cloud service company offers select customers to test drive Yitian 710-based machines.