AMD 4th-Gen EPYC Genoa 9654, 9554, and 9374F Review: 96 Cores, Zen 4 and 5nm

The Server Slam Dunk

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We've tested servers over several generations using our existing library of test results, but time has caught up with us — our version of Linux and the benchmark revisions were no longer representative of, or even fully supported, modern-day server systems. As such, we decided to discard our existing library of test data and start over fresh with a new Ubuntu 22.04.1 LTS install and the latest revisions of benchmarks.

However, while this is important to ensure that we're giving accurate information, it presented an insurmountable issue — we simply do not have many of the previous-gen systems from our old library of results. That's because server systems are often incredibly expensive, so review units are sent on loan and then returned. As a result, our test pool is slimmer with this review than we would like.

However, our test pool would be even slimmer if not for Michael Larabel, the founder of Phoronix. This Linux-focused hardware website also maintains the Phoronix Test Suite, which we've used for several years for our server testing. Larabel graciously installed a matching operating system and ran the same benchmark scripts to provide results for the two Milan systems — the 2P EPYC Milan 7763 and 75F3 — present in our charts. That allows us to have a previous-gen comparison point for the EPYC systems, and also highlights one of the benefits of the Phoronix test suite — you can install and run similar tests to see how your hardware compares. Thanks to Michael for his help! 

We tested the Genoa processors with the Titanite system outlined on the preceding page, while the previous-gen Milan chips were tested on AMD's Daytona reference system. We also tested the Intel Xeon Ice Lake 8380s on Intel's reference platform, as shown in the specs below. 

I'm busy adding more HPC-centric tests to the new roster of benchmarks we'll use for testing servers over the next few years, so view the following benchmarks as a preliminary step while we build out the new test suite and library. We'll have Sapphire Rapids in the lab soon enough, so feel free to make suggestions in the comments below. 

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Test PlatformMemoryTested Processors
2P AMD Titanite Reference Platform24x 64GB (1.5TB) Samsung ECC DDR5-4800AMD EPYC Genoa 9654, 9554, 9374F
2P AMD Daytona Reference Platform16x 32GB (512GB) Micron DDR4-3200AMD EPYC Milan 7763, 75F3
2P Intel S2W3SIL4Q Reference Platform16x 32GB SK hynix ECC DDR4-3200Intel Xeon Platinum 8380
Paul Alcorn
Managing Editor: News and Emerging Tech

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

  • Roland Of Gilead
    Okay, for those more knowledgeable than me (I'm not really into server tech), how is it that Intel is so far behind in terms of core count with these systems? Looking at some of the benches (and I might as well be blind in both eyes and using a magnifying glass to scroll through the data!) it seems to me that if Intel were able to increase core count, that they would be comparable in performance to the AMD counterparts? What gives?

    Intel have taken the performance crown with ADL and Raptor in the consumer market, but on the bigger scales can't get close.
  • rasmusdf
    Well, basically AMD has mastered the art and technology of connecting lots of small chips together. While Intel still has to make chips as one big lump. Big chips are harder and more expensive to produce. Plus when combining small chips you can always and easily add more.

    Intel might be competing right now in the consumer space - but they don't earn much profit on their expensive to produce CPUs.

    Additionally - AMD is cheating a bit and is several chip nodes ahead in production process - while Intel is struggling to get past 10 nm, AMD is on what, 4 nm? Because of TSMCs impressive technology leadership and Intels stubborness.
  • gdmaclew
    Strange that Tom's mentions that DDR5 support for these new Data Center CPUs is a "Con" but they don't mention it in yesterday's article of Intel's new CPUs using the same DDR5.

    But then maybe not, knowing Tom's. It's just so obvious.
  • SunMaster
    Roland Of Gilead said:
    Intel have taken the performance crown with ADL and Raptor in the consumer market, but on the bigger scales can't get close.

    Rumour has it that AMD prioritize less on the consumer market, and more on the server marked. So if "one core to rule them all" it means Zen4 is a core designed primarily for server chips. Whether Alder Lake took the "performance crown" or not is at best debateable, as is Raptor Lake vs Zen4 if power consumption is taken into consideration.

    Intel does not use anything equivalent of chiplets (yet). The die size of raptor lake 13900 is about 257 square mm. Each Zen4 ccd is only 70 square mm (two in a 7950x). That gives AMD a tremendous advantage in manufacturing and cost.

    See oMcsW-myRCU:2View: some info/estimates on yields and cost of manufacturing.
  • bitbucket
    You have forgotten the face of your father.

    Most likely multiple reasons.
    1) Intel struggled for a long time trying to reach the 10nm process
    This delayed entire product lines for a couple of years and ultimately led to Intel outsourcing some production to TSMC which wasn't struggling to shrink the fabrication process
    AMD had already been using TSMC as AMD had sold off their manufacturing facilities years before
    2) AMD moved to a chiplet strategy long before Intel, which I don't believe has a product for sale using chiplets yet, not sure though
    Large monolitic, high core-count CPUs are harder to make than smaller lower core-count CPUs
    - An example is AMD putting two 8-core chiplets in a package (plus IO die) for a product that has 16 cores
    - Intel has recently countered this by going with heterogeneous cores in their CPUs; a mix of bigger/faster and smaller/slower cores
    - I don't believe that the heterogeneous core strategy has been implemented in servers products yet
  • InvalidError
    The DIMM slot fragility issue could easily be solved or at least greatly improved by molding DIMM slots in pairs for lateral stability and sturdiness.
  • Roland Of Gilead
    bitbucket said:
    You have forgotten the face of your father.
    Hile Gunslinger :)
  • Roland Of Gilead
    SunMaster said:
    Whether Alder Lake took the "performance crown" or not is at best debateable, as is Raptor Lake vs Zen4 if power consumption is taken into consideration.
    Fair point
  • GustavoVanni
    It is just me or do you guys also think that AMD can fit 24 CCDs in the same package in the not so distant future?

    Sure there's some small SMDs in the way, but it should be doable.

    Just imagine one of those with 192 ZEN4 cores ou 256+ ZEN4c cores.

    Maybe with ZEN5?
  • -Fran-
    Intel's only bastion seems to be accelerators and burn as much money as they can on adoption, even worse than AVX512.

    I just looked at the numbers of OpenSSL and I just laughed... Intel is SO screwed for general purpose machines. Their new stuff was needed in the market last year.