Test Platforms and How We Test
We're testing a wide range of Intel CPUs that we have on-hand, along with the 32C/64T AMD EPYC 7601, in dual-socket server configurations.
|Cores / Threads||Base / Boost||L3 Cache||TDP||Memory Support||Price|
|Cascade Lake Platinum 8280||28 / 56||2.7 / 4.0||38.5MB||205W||6-Channel DDR4-2933||$10,009|
|AMD EPYC Naples 7601||32 / 64||2.2 / 3.2||64MB||180W||8-Channel DDR4-2666||$4,500|
|Cascade Lake Platinum 8268||24 / 48||2.9 / 3.9||35.75MB||205W||6-Channel DDR4-2933||$6,302|
|Cascade Lake Gold 6230||20 / 40||2.1 / 3.9||28MB||125W||6-Channel DDR4-2933||$1,894|
|Skylake-SP Platinum 8176||28 / 56||2.1 / 3.8||38.5MB||165W||6-Channel DDR4-2666||$8,719|
|Skylake-SP Gold 6152||22 / 44||2.1 / 3.7||30.25MB||140W||6-Channel DDR4-2666||$3,661|
|Skylake-SP Gold 6154||18 / 36||3.0 / 3.7||24.75MB||200W||6-Channel DDR4-2666||$3,543|
|Broadwell Xeon E5-2697 v4||18 / 36||2.3 / 3.6||45MB||145W||4-Channel DDR4-2400||$2,706|
|Haswell Xeon E5-2699 v3||18 / 36||2.3 / 3.6||45MB||145W||4-Channel DDR4-2133||$4,115|
The Test Platforms
Intel Purley S2P2Y3Q Server
For our first-gen Xeon Scalable review, Intel sent a Server System S2P2SY3Q platform powered by a dual-socket Intel Server Board 2600WF. We pressed this machine back into service to test the second-gen CPUs, highlighting that these chips are backward-compatible with previous-gen LGA 3647-equipped servers.
This system originally came equipped with 12x 32GB Hynix DDR4-2666 DIMMs, which we swapped out for 12x 32GB SK hynix DDR4-2933 DIMMs in order to tap into the second-gen Cascade Lake design's increased bandwidth. We tested all first- and second-gen Xeon Scalable processors (Cascade Lake and Skylake) with these modules, which clocked down to DDR4-2666 on the Skylake chips.
The Software Development Platform includes two redundant 80 PLUS 1100W power supplies. The PSUs, like the fans, are hot-pluggable to avoid downtime issues due to component failure.
Intel Wildcat Pass S2G3SY1Q Server
We tested the Broadwell-EP-based Xeon E5-2697 v4 and the Haswell-EP-based Xeon E5-2699 v3 on an Intel Software Development Platform server. The pre-production Grantley-R EP S2G3SY1Q (Wildcat Pass) Broadwell Qualification 2U test bed originally came with two Xeon E5-2697 v4 CPUs sporting 18 Hyper-Threaded cores and 45MB of shared cache apiece.
The test platform features Intel's C610 chipset and includes eight 32GB SK hynix DDR4-2400 DIMMs (HMA84GL7AMR4N-UH). Intel provided this server for use as a software development platform; it's not designed for use in a production environment. As such, it lacks some of the features that facilitate redundancy, such as dual PSUs. One of the PSU bays is covered, while the other houses a single 900W power supply.
AMD Speedway-AMG-16 Server
We tested the EPYC Naples 7601 CPUs, delivering a combined 64 cores and 128 threads, on the Speedway-AMG-16 server. This system came with 16x 16GB Samsung DDR4-2666 DIMMs, totaling 256GB of capacity. It also included redundant hot-swappable 1200W power supplies and four hot-swappable fans.
How We Test
We benchmarked the servers with the open source Linux-Bench script, which is available on Linux-Bench.com and GitHub. ServeTheHome and others in the open source community maintain it. We tested with Ubuntu Server 18.04.2 LTS. The script installs dependencies and runs several well-known independent open source benchmarks in a Docker container. The test suite also leverages the standard GCC compiler, which is used across AMD, Intel, ARM, and Power architectures. Naturally, in many cases, both AMD and Intel's respective compilers unlock more performance for the respective architectures.
Most enterprise deployments are built for specific needs and workloads, and as tempting as application testing is, there are far too many variables to make the results applicable to all but a small subset of users. The benchmarks in this article encompass several industry-standard tools that quantify performance trends. But it's noteworthy that optimized deployments could unlock even more performance.
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