Intel's Custom Sapphire Rapids CPUs Power Amazon's EC2 Instances

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AWS has announced the general availability of Amazon EC2 M7i-flex and EC2 M7i instances powered by Intel's custom 4th-Gen Xeon Scalable 'Sapphire Rapids' processors. These processors are said to deliver up to 15% better performance over comparable CPUs used by other cloud providers. The new M7i instances are said to deliver up to 19% better price performance compared to the older M6i instances and are aimed at businesses and developers seeking efficient, high-performing compute resources in the cloud.

The M7i instances are designed for general-purpose workloads requiring the largest instance sizes or continuous high CPU usage, including large application servers and databases, gaming servers, CPU-based machine learning, and video streaming. These instances are available in different sizes. Starting from two vCPUs and 8GB of DDR5 memory (m7i.large) and all the way to 192 vCPUs, 768GB of memory, and 50 Gbps network bandwidth (m7i.48xlarge).

M7i instances also support the new Intel Advanced Matrix Extensions (AMX) for accelerated matrix multiplication operations and include built-in Intel accelerators for efficient data operations. Intel says that its CPUs featuring AMX are capable of meeting the performance requirements for large language models (LLMs) with less than 20 billion parameters. 

Future additions to the M7i family will include bare-metal sizes, suited to high-transaction and latency-sensitive workloads that will rely on Intel's Data Streaming Accelerator (DSA), In-Memory Analytics Accelerator (IAA), and QuickAssist Technology (QAT).

In addition, AWS uses Intel's Sapphire Rapids processors for its M7i-Flex instances are a lower-cost variant of M7i instances, with 5% better price performance and 5% lower prices. They are well-suited for applications that do not fully use all compute resources at all times, and therefore, they offer a baseline of 40% CPU performance and can scale up to full CPU performance 95% of the time. AWS offers different m7i-flex sizes starting at two vCPUs and 8GB of memory and up to 32 vCPUs and 128GB of DDR5 memory. 

Amazon claims that its M7i-Flex offer 15% higher CPU performance compared to competing cloud offerings, which makes them more competitive for things like web and application servers, virtual desktops, batch processing, micro-services, databases, and enterprise software.

"Intel worked closely with AWS to bring our feature-rich 4th Gen Xeon processors to its cloud customers, many of which have benefited from its performance and value for months in private and public preview," said Lisa Spelman, Intel corporate vice president and general manager of the Xeon Products and Solutions Group. "Today, we are happy to bring that same real-world value to cloud customers around the globe."

Anton Shilov
Contributing Writer

Anton Shilov is a contributing writer at Tom’s Hardware. Over the past couple of decades, he has covered everything from CPUs and GPUs to supercomputers and from modern process technologies and latest fab tools to high-tech industry trends.