Everyone wants a fast processor. The ability to get more stuff done is one of a number of guiding principles of business. However, business also needs consistency, safety and security, which is why having enterprise-class processors is often a requirement in the back-end infrastructure. These processors, with lots of cores, aren’t as fast as consumer processors, so it becomes a tussle whether it makes sense to go fast without security, or to play it safe with a proven platform. With AMD’s new 7F processors, the aim is to provide that proven platform with super-fast cores with lots of cache. We’ve got the 7F52 in for testing today.

The Enterprise Market Wants It All

The nature of enterprise processors in recent generations has tended towards more cores and more cache. As power budgets have increased, in order to ensure stability and get the best efficiency points, the solution has been to add more cores. However, there are still markets that want high frequency components, and quite often users will look at consumer hardware, which doesn’t offer the trimmings of the enterprise world, such as ECC memory, RAS features, management, and high-speed IO. We’ve seen OEMs build servers on super rare ‘consumer-grade’ processors, like the auction-only 5 GHz 14-core parts that offer the peak of performance, but fall down on basic enterprise features, such as ECC memory.

To that end, AMD’s Enterprise division has been developing some high-frequency processors within its EPYC line of hardware to address this market. We saw with the first generation ‘Naples’ EPYC processors AMD come out with a special EPYC 7371 processor, which offered 16 cores but had +700 MHz on the base frequency and +900 MHz on the turbo frequency compared to the next best 16-core part, and the tradeoff was only +30 W of power and paying a bit extra. At the time the EPYC 7371, which was launched several months after the rest of the product line, was a test run for what is this new line of 7F ‘high frequency’ processors.

AMD 7F and 7H: Targeting High Performance

The best way to consider AMD’s EPYC processor line, especially for the second generation ‘Rome’ hardware, is in four segments.

First is the main stack. These are the regular processors for the majority of the market, from the 7252 with eight cores all the way up to the 7742 with 64 cores. These are all dual-socket compatible, and are anywhere from 155 W to 225 W (except the 7252 and 7262 which are 120 W).

AMD EPYC 7002 'Rome' Processors (2P)
  Cores
Threads
Frequency (GHz) L3 TDP Price
Base Max
EPYC 7742 64 / 128 2.25 3.40 256 MB 225 W $6950
EPYC 7702 64 / 128 2.00 3.35 256 MB 200 W $6450
EPYC 7642 48 / 96 2.30 3.20 256 MB 225 W $4775
EPYC 7552 48 / 96 2.20 3.30 192 MB 200 W $4025
EPYC 7542 32 / 64 2.90 3.40 128 MB 225 W $3400
EPYC 7502 32 / 64 2.50 3.35 128 MB 200 W $2600
EPYC 7452 32 / 64 2.35 3.35 128 MB 155 W $2025
EPYC 7402 24 / 48 2.80 3.35 128 MB 155 W $1783
EPYC 7352 24 / 48 2.30 3.20 128 MB 180 W $1350
EPYC 7302 16 / 32 3.00 3.30 128 MB 155 W $978
EPYC 7282 16 / 32 2.80 3.20 64 MB 120 W $650
EPYC 7272 12 / 24 2.90 3.20 64 MB 155 W $625
EPYC 7262 8 / 16 3.20 3.40 128 MB 120 W $575
EPYC 7252 8 / 16 3.10 3.20 64 MB 120 W $475

Second are the single socket processors. These are variants of the main stack but designated with a P at the end, as these are built for systems that only require a single processor. The benefit here is that the P processors are actually cheaper ($2600 for the 32-core 7502 compared to $2300 for the 7502P) if the customer can guarantee they never need a dual socket design. These also go from 8 cores all the way up to 64 cores.

AMD EPYC 7002 Rome Processors (1P)
  Cores
Threads
Frequency (GHz) L3 TDP Price
Base Max
EPYC 7702P 64 / 128 2.00 3.35 256 MB 200 W $4425
EPYC 7502P 32 / 64 2.50 3.35 128 MB 200 W $2300
EPYC 7402P 24 / 48 2.80 3.35 128 MB 200 W $1250
EPYC 7302P 16 / 32 3.00 3.30 128 MB 155 W* $825
EPYC 7232P 8 / 16 3.10 3.20 32 MB 120 W $450
*170W TDP mode also available

Third is the 7H family of processors, which as it stands only has one member right now. This was launched a couple of months after the first two segments, and the ‘H’ stands for High Performance Computing. The power limits of this chip has increased up to 280 W, and the goal is to drive a higher sustained frequency than the regular parts. For example, the 7742 has a base frequency of 2.25 GHz at 225W, but the 7H12 has a base frequency of 2.60 GHz at 280 W. The 7H processors aren’t on general retail as far as we can tell, but specific customers can request them.

AMD EPYC 7H Rome Processors (1P)
  Cores
Threads
Frequency (GHz) L3 TDP Price
Base Max
EPYC 7H12 64 / 128 2.60 3.30 256 MB 280 $?

Fourth is the newest set of hardware, the 7F family. The F in this case is for Frequency, and these parts are spiritual successors to the 7371 in the last generation: a lot more base frequency and a lot higher turbo for the consumer to use. AMD is also equipping these processors with lots of cache, so the cache per core can effectively quadruple.

There are three members to the Rome 7F family:

AMD EPYC 7F Rome Processors (1P)
  Cores
Threads
Frequency (GHz) L3 TDP Chiplets Cores
per
CCX
Price
Base Max
EPYC 7F72 24 / 48 3.20 3.70 192 MB 240 W 6 2 $2450
EPYC 7F52 16 / 32 3.50 3.90 256 MB 240 W 8 1 $3100
EPYC 7F32 8 / 16 3.70 3.90 128 MB 180 W 4 1 $2100

These processors do look a little confusing.

For the 8 core 7F32 and the 16 core 7F52, AMD is enabling 1 core per CCX, or 2 cores per chiplet, which means the equivalent of 16 MB of L3 cache per core. This is four times as much as what any other AMD EPYC processor gets.

The 24 core 7F72 is cheaper than the 16 core, as AMD is adjusting the level of cache on offer here to 192 MB. This means that this processor only has six of the eight chiplets active, and each CCX will have two cores active (6 chiplets * 2 CCX per chiplet * 2 cores per CCX = 24). The frequency is a little bit lower because of the increased active core density, so along with the decreased cache, AMD felt the need to price this one below that of the 7F52.

For this review, we’re testing the 7F52 processors. Compared to the base 7302 16-core that AMD offers, this means another +500 MHz on the base frequency, and +600 MHz on the turbo frequency, but also going up from 155 W to 225 W.

Naturally some of the key comparison points for the 7F52 CPU are going to be equivalent 16-core CPUs from Intel, such as the new Xeon Gold 6226R, or comparisons to 28/32 core options from both Intel and AMD.

7F52 2P Comparison Points
AMD
7F52 (2P)
AMD
7601
AnandTech Intel
8280
Intel
6226R (2P)
2 x 16 / 32 32 / 64 Cores / Threads 28 / 56 2 x 16 / 32
3500 2200 Base Frequency 2700 2900
3900 3200 Turbo Frequency 4000 3900
2 x 256 MB 64 MB L3 Cache 38.5 MB 2 x 22 MB
DDR4-3200 DDR4-2666 DRAM Support DDR4-2933 DDR4-2933
2 TB / socket 2 TB DRAM Capacity 1 TB 1 TB / socket
2 x 240 W 180 W TDP 205 W 2 x 150 W
2 x $3100 $4200 Price $10008 2 x $1300

In our tests today, we’re using Supermicro’s H11DSi motherboard for testing the 2P EPYC processors, the ASRock Rack EPYCD8 for the 1P configurations, the ASUS WS C621E SAGE for 2P Xeon, and the ASUS ROG Dominus Extreme for 1P Xeon. Many thanks to Kingston for supplying memory for this review, as well as Micron for both memory and storage, Corsair for the power supplies, and Noctua for the coolers.

 

Frequency Ramp, Latency and Power
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  • hehatemeXX - Thursday, April 16, 2020 - link

    No one in their right mind would evaluate a server CPU, designed for datacenters against a consumer CPU that will never see the light of day. WTB a real data center oriented website.. you consumers are just annoying when it comes to this stuff. Reply
  • Oxford Guy - Saturday, April 18, 2020 - link

    " No one in their right mind would evaluate a server CPU, designed for datacenters against a consumer CPU that will never see the light of day. WTB a real data center oriented website.. you consumers are just annoying when it comes to this stuff."

    Is there any kind of metric about ECC vs. non-ECC RAM, in terms of cost-benefit ratio? It's not all about CPU speed. It's also about data stability, correct?

    How much value does ECC RAM bring to the table? That information seems to be critical when comparing consumer CPUs to enterprise and prosumer CPUs.
    Reply
  • twtech - Monday, April 20, 2020 - link

    Generally that may be the case. However, this CPU may be considered as an option for workstations. For that use case, it's nice to know how it stacks up against consumer CPUs, HEDT, TR, etc. Reply
  • DanNeely - Tuesday, April 14, 2020 - link

    Can you borrow Johan's server benchmarks as a baseline for building your own out? Reply
  • Ivan Argentinski - Tuesday, April 14, 2020 - link

    Hi Ian,

    I am big fan of Anandtech. But I have always missed articles, relevant to me. I am a decision maker for database servers for ERP (among other things). We heavily employ frequency-optimized processors and I feel I can shed some light on the subject.
    Unfortunately, I feel like the article (and just about everybody) is partially missing the point of these processors. Frequency optimized processors are a niche product. They have only one use-case - for enterprise software, which is licensed per-core (like Microsoft SQL Server). So, it is irrelevant to discuss them in any other role.
    Per-core performance is not the same as single-threaded performance. Also, it is not lightly threaded performance. It is also not multi-thread performance, e.g. total CPU power. All these are irrelevant. We pay for SQL Server per core, per month. And it is costly. The CPU cost is nothing, compared to this. However, the total number of frequency-optimized cores we can cram in a server matters to some extent. Hence, the new 7F52 totally makes sense and I guess it will be the best-selling 7Fx2 CPU. If I can get 32 high-per-core-performant cores in a 2P server, it would be great.
    For example, our servers are usually 40-70% loaded during peak times of the day (with some 100% bursts). The thing that matters the most is how each core is handling, while all cores are loaded. This can be roughly stated as:

    Per-core Perf = Total Perf / Number of cores

    Hence, it is meaningless for this niche to:
    - Measure single threaded workloads
    The CPU can trick us by leveraging single-thread boost, which never happens in production.
    - Compare total CPU performance
    If the CPUs have different number of cores, this is meaningless. If we need more performance, we can just purchase more CPUs/servers.
    - Compare the CPU to non-frequency optimized CPUs
    These will just plain loose in per-core performance. But, on second thought, it would be fun to know what the actual difference is!
    - Compare to desktop or other kinds of CPUs.
    We just can’t use these in the data center. And if you are not purchasing for a data center and for a per-core software, then frequency optimized CPUs are not for you. Again, maybe just for fun.

    What if meaningful to compare for F-CPUs:
    - Per-core performance
    Throw heavy multi-threaded workload, then divide by the number of cores and see what you get for each CPU.
    - Watts for a unit of per-core perf
    Power is the other thing we are paying for.
    - $ for a unit of per-core perf
    Not of utmost importance, but still relevant.

    Ideas for relevant test scenarios:
    - 1P * 7F52
    - 2P * 7F52
    - 2P * 7F32
    - 2P * Gold 6250
    - 2P * Gold 6244 (our current setup)
    - 2P * Gold 6244, but with less DIMMs than memory channels (if you initially buy with less RAM, how much perf are you loosing?)

    Tests, relevant to databases:
    - OLTP - tpm
    - OLAP - qph

    If I have these figures, it can actually alter my purchasing behavior.

    Good Luck and all the best to you and the team!
    Reply
  • romrunning - Tuesday, April 14, 2020 - link

    Agreed - more enterprise-focused tests would be more relevant to this enterprise-focused EPYC.

    I also would have liked to see VM tests and database tests.
    Reply
  • Icehawk - Wednesday, April 15, 2020 - link

    Agreed, not quite as relevant for this specific SKU but I’ve been wanting to see VM testing for ages along with a lot of other server related testing like SQL performance. Of course consumer is this site’s focus and that’s OK. Reply
  • Atari2600 - Tuesday, April 14, 2020 - link

    Hey Ivan, you prob need to go look at servethehome.com

    As I'm sure your well aware, Anand is much more consumer focused with a benchmarking philosophy geared toward that.
    Reply
  • Oxford Guy - Saturday, April 18, 2020 - link

    What is the point of discussing $7000 CPUs, or even $3000 CPUs if you're only going to be "consumer-focused"?

    The only point I can think of is to try to convince people to buy some company's other product via mindshare (i.e. marketing).
    Reply
  • brucethemoose - Tuesday, April 14, 2020 - link

    Could you link those 2 benchmarks? Reply

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