Performance According to AMD

For the first time in Opteron history, AMD was not able to provide us with samples before the launch. We are working with them to make sure we can show our independent benchmarks. Until then we have to work with what we AMD has published.

The clock speed advantage of the 6380 at 2.5GHz is 4%, so the SPEC CPU tests show that Piledriver is about 4% more effficient per clock when we focus on high IPC, low MLP benchmarks. However, as we have shown in previous articles, server applications behave very differently from SPEC CPU benchmarks.

AMD claims 24% higher performance in the Java benchmark SPECJBB, but that is an inflatable benchmark. We do not want to dismiss the benchmark result immediately, but AMD does not disclose the JVM settings. The following settings were disclosed:

The Opteron 6380 based server:

77.9W at Active Idle, 308W and 1,636,298 ssj_ops at 100% of target load, and 4,040 overall ssj_ops/watt using 2 x AMD Opteron™ processors Model 6380 in Supermicro 1022G-NTF server, 64GB (8 x 8GB DDR3-1600) memory, Supermicro PWS-563-1H20 power supply, 240GB SATA disk drive, Microsoft® Windows Server® 2008 R2 x64 Enterprise Edition.

The Opteron 6278 based server:

82.6W at Active Idle, 320W and 1,233,423 ssj_ops at 100% of target load, and 2,892 overall ssj_ops/watt using 2 x AMD Opteron™ processors Model 6278 in Supermicro 1022G-NTF server, 64GB (8 x 8GB DDR3-1600) memory, Supermicro PWS-563-1H20 power supply, 240GB SATA disk drive, Microsoft® Windows Server® 2008 R2 x64 Enterprise Edition.

It is very likely that some new JVM performance boosting tricks contribute more to the performance increase than better processor performance. Most of those JVM tricks are unacceptable in a real-world Java application, so we fear that the SPECJBB results tell us very little. As just one example, AMD uses 16 JVMs on 32 integer cores to obtain the SPECJBB results. That means that each JVM is running on one module, minimizing the coherency traffic and optimizing the cache hits. Of course everybody that posts these SPECJBB scores uses these kinds of very unrealistic settings, but it also means that we can deduce very little about the real performance increase that the Piledriver cores offer.

The power numbers of the SPECPower_ssj2008 benchmarks make us somewhat optimistic though. The 40% increase in performance/watt is clearly not the result of JVM performance tricks alone. The idle and maximum power numbers also confirm that the Opteron 6300 is quite a bit more efficient in server loads than the 6200. We estimate that the new Opteron offers a 20% (or better) higher performance/watt ratio in the real world. Let us wrap up with a look at the SKUs and prices.

Taking Small Steps forward SKUs and Pricing
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  • gamoniac - Tuesday, November 6, 2012 - link

    On top of that, there is licensing costs. Windows Server 2012, for example, can be licensed per processor rather than by core count. That that comes into play, it can quickly inflate the TCO when comparing 4-socket vs 2-socket servers.
  • alpha754293 - Friday, November 9, 2012 - link

    There are a lot of programs that have different licensing methods.

    Ansys is per core.

    Windows actually makes it potentially quite cost effective - especially if you're running a virtualization server because you can throw a lot of VM tiles on a 8-module(?) Opteron 6300 so while you might have to pay more for the additional sockets, it might save you money because you don't have to run twice the number of servers to handle the same number of VM tiles. It really depends on what you're doing with it.

    (I think that Enterprise Linux is also licensed in the same way (per socket).)
  • alpha754293 - Friday, November 9, 2012 - link depends.

    For some of our larger runs (both at my work and also my CFD runs at home, and also the research that I used to be doing for the university) - we had to write restart files on a regular interval in the event that something goes wrong or the power goes out or something like that.

    That's our kind of "backup". Although unlike say...the financial sector where they want five 9's uptime, (99.99999%), our restriction isn't THAT bad, but the professional HPC centers will have HA of some kind implemented.

    I think that you saw the last time that you ran the LS-DYNA benchmarks on the Opteron 6274 that the way that AMD are counting the cores (integer cores, not FP cores) - means that there was only like 7-8% performance benefit for HPC applications (which isn't much given twice the "core" count).

    The FPU itself runs into something akin to thread contention issues. (It still boils down to fighting for FPU resources).

    But if say...for example, you have a properly, well coded Photoshop - and they are learning on how to write MPP codes from HPC, it can take what they already do quite well, and make it run even better. Fewer cores perhaps, but if the cores ARE available, it will know how to best break up the problem so that it would be able to better run the same task in parallel vs. the more like...quasi-parallel (multi-threaded) approach that a lot of these programs use nowadays.

    (Imagine if you're batch processing images and it's able to spawn multiple instances of the batch solver/processor so that you can work on multiple images at the same time rather than working on them one at a time, but working on them in a multi-threaded manner.)

    Or imagine if the Flash plugin was multi-core capable/aware so when you have 146 tabs, it doesn't crash your browser session. ;o) (Oh the joys of being a researcher.)
  • Kevin G - Monday, November 5, 2012 - link

    Any idea when these will hit e-tail? I have a dual socket G34 board that two Opteron 6320 or two 6374's would be a good match. Still have decided between high clock and high core count. When you get up to 32 simultaneous threads, things really start to hit diminishing returns.
  • MySchizoBuddy - Monday, November 5, 2012 - link

    All of the new opteron chips can be used in 4P configurations. While none of the listed Xeons can. Can you add the Xeons that work in 4P configurations as well.
  • Stuka87 - Monday, November 5, 2012 - link

    Xeons that work in Quad Socket configs cost significantly more and do not really compete with the Opterons.

    But it would be interesting to see the cost to performance difference between the two.
  • Kjella - Monday, November 5, 2012 - link

    Right under "AMD Opteron 6300 versus 6200 SKUs" the leftmost column says Xeon E5, where it should say Opteron 6300. Anyway, now AMD can't even get a review sample out the door? Seriously? Either they're too incompetent or the benchmarks would be too embarrassing, either way it's not good.
  • PsiAmp - Tuesday, November 6, 2012 - link

    Why are you comparing two CPUs that have 64% price difference and say cheaper one has 12% less performance and is not attractive?

    You need to compare products of similar price points. Or take into account price difference, which you didn't mention at all.
  • JohanAnandtech - Tuesday, November 6, 2012 - link

    Can you be more specific and tell me which CPU comparison you are talking about? The CPUs I compared had a 4 to 15% price difference ( 6386 SE vs 2665 or 6366HE vs 2630L).
  • DeaDSOuLz - Monday, November 12, 2012 - link

    Strange I have had 2 Opteron 6376 for about 3 weeks. So getting them out early shouldn't have been an issue. Of course I bought about 2 thousand of the 6274 of the last 12 months, may have something to do with it.

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