On Monday, Intel launched roughly 50 SKUs in total, with top-end 28-core prices reaching $10K to $11K per physical CPU. Intel’s new Xeon “Purley” Skylake-SP CPUs supports AVX-512, Intel’s own mesh topology, and the aforementioned larger L2 cache, so the chips are rather significantly different (with both gains and losses) relative to previous Xeon products.
AMD has a significant advantage in base price; the top-end Epyc 7601 (180W TDP) is a 32-core chip with a 2.2GHz base / 3.2GHz max clock speed and a $4,200 price tag. Intel’s Xeon 8180 is a 28-core chip with a 2.5 – 3.8GHz max clock and a $10,009 price tag (the same chip in a 165W TDP with support for 1.5TB of DRAM per socket, and a 2.1GHz base clock retails for $11,722). Anandtech tested the Xeon 8176 — 28 cores, 2.1GHz base, with a maximum of 768GB of RAM per socket and a price tag of $8,719. Intel’s new Platinum/Gold/Silver/Bronze format looks nothing short of nightmarishly complicated, with vastly different specs swept into the same “families” in some cases. Other designations contain a number of exceptions to the rules that are supposed to govern which chips are placed in which brackets.
The bottom line is this: AMD’s Epyc isn’t the better choice in every situation or environment. But a combination of lower prices, competitive performance, and some solid test wins show AMD can hang with Intel again, even at the top of the market. For hardware cost-conscious companies, or vendors that can afford to optimize heavily for Ryzen (cloud providers like MS, for example), Epyc is a very strong brand. But Skylake-SP shows some formidable performance gains of its own, has a better scaling mesh topology, and the stronger overall level of performance. If your TCO is dominated more by software costs than hardware pricing, Intel and its proven track record may still be the better option here.
Who the bleep thought FIFTY SKUs was a good idea?