SKUs and Pricing

Before we start with the benchmarks, we first have to check what you get for your money. Let's compare the AMD chips with Intel's offerings.

AMD vs. Intel 2-socket SKU Comparison
Xeon
E5
Cores/
Threads
TDP Clock
(GHz)
Price Opteron Modules/
Integer
cores
TDP Clock
(GHz)
Price
High Performance High Performance
2680 8/16 130W 2.7/3/3.5 $1723          
2665 8/16 115W 2.4/2.8/3.1 $1440 6386 SE 8/16 140W 2.8/3.2/3.5 $1392
2660 8/16 95W 2.2/ $1329          
2650 8/16 95W 2/2.4/2.8 $1107          
Midrange Midrange
          6380 8/16 115W 2.5/2.8/3.4 $1088
2640 6/12 95W 2.5/2.5/3 $885 6378 8/16 115W 2.4/2.7/3.3 $867
          6376 8/16 115W 2.3/2.6/3.2 $703
2630 6/12 95W 2.3/2.3/2.8 $639          
          6348 6/12 115W 2.8/3.1/3.4 $575
2620 6/12
95W
2/2/2.5 $406 6234 6/12 115W 2.6/2.9/3.2 $415
High clock / budget High Clock / Budget
2643 4/8 130W 3.3/3.3/3.5 $885          
2609 4/4 80W 2.4 $294 6320 4/8 115W 3.0/3.3/3.6 $293
2637 2/4 80W 3/3.5 $885 6308 2/4 115W 3.5 $501
Power Optimized Power Optimized
2630L 8/16 60W 2/2/2.5 $662 6366HE 8/16 85W 1.8/2.3/3.1 $575

We tested two AMD Opterons: the 6376 and the 6380. The 6380 competes against the octal-core 2GHz 2650, the 6376 targets the six-core 2630 at 2.3GHz. There is more than list prices of course. At the end of the day, most of us do not buy trays of processors, we buy server systems. As Dell's website is still the easiest to use, we configured very similar systems on the DELL US site. All systems include:

  • Two 500GB SATA drives
  • 64GB of 1600MHz RDIMMs
  • A PERC H700/710 with 512MB of NV RAM
  • iDRAC Express and all other "cheap" options (no OS, Single PSU...)

Below you can find the total price, when configuring such a system in the beginning of February 2013.

AMD vs. Intel System Price
Model CPU Memory Other Price
Dell R720 Dual Xeon E5-2630

8x8GB

Perc H710 512MB NV $5008
Dell R720 Dual Xeon E5-2660 8x8GB Perc H710 512MB NV $6778
Dell R715 Dual Opteron 6376 8x8GB Perc H700 512MB NV $4225
Dell R715 Dual Opteron 6380 8x8GB Perc H700 512MB NV $5339

The Intel based systems have a small advantage as they have two additional hard disk bays, but that difference can be ignored as that will hardly make the system significantly more expensive. The reason why we upgraded the R720 to an 8-bay chassis is that we wanted all the servers to have 2.5-inch bays and thus similar storage systems; 2.5-inch drives are now more common anyway.

A Dell R715 with a dual Opteron 6376 costs $500 less than a similarly configured Dell R720 with Dual Xeon E5-2630, despite the fact that the listed price of the Opteron is slightly higher. This might be a result of AMD offering larger discounts, but it's probably also a result of keeping the platform the same. As the Opteron 6100, 6200 and 6300 use the same socket and motherboard infrastructure, validation costs are very low for the OEMs.

If the Opteron 6376 can beat or even match the Xeon E5-2630 in performance/watt, it can offer a cost advantage. If the Opteron 6380 can come close to an E5-2660, it can offer a significant cost advantage. The latter Opteron must however defeat the E5-2630 clearly to be attractive to the server buyers. After all, most people buy AMD for a cost or performance bonus (preferably both).

We'll compare our new Opterons with two Xeon configurations: the Xeon 2660 and a Xeon 2660 with two cores disabled. To be competitive, the Opteron 6376 should beat the Xeon 2660 with two cores disabled. If the 6380 can offer about 90% of the performance of the 2660 and consume a similar amount of energy, it can become a very attractive alternative as well. So the goals are clear and set for the AMD Opterons. Let us see if they can pull it off.

Introduction Benchmarking Configuration
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  • coder543 - Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - link

    You realize that we have no trouble recognizing that you've posted about fifty comments that are essentially incompetent racism against AMD, right?

    AMD's processors aren't prefect, but neither are Intel's. And also, AMD, much to your dismay, never announced they were planning to get out of the x86 server market. They'll be joining the ARM server market, but not exclusively. I'm honestly just ready for x86 as a whole to be gone, completely and utterly. It's a horrible CPU architecture, but so much money has been poured into it that it has good performance for now.
    Reply
  • Duwelon - Thursday, February 21, 2013 - link

    x86 is fine, just fine. Reply
  • coder543 - Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - link

    totes, ain't nobody got time for AMD. they is teh failzor.

    (yeah, that's what I heard when I read your highly misinformed argument.)
    Reply
  • quiksilvr - Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - link

    Obvious trolling aside, looking at the numbers and its pretty grim. Keep in mind that these are SERVER CPUs. Not only is Intel doing the job faster, its using less energy, and paying a mere $100-$300 more per CPU to cut off on average 20 watts is a no-brainer. These are expected to run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with no stopping. That power adds up and if AMD has any chance to make any dent in the high end enterprise datacenters they need to push even more. Reply
  • Beenthere - Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - link

    You must be kidding. TCO is what enterprise looks at and $100-$300 more per CPU in addition to the increased cost of Intel based hardware is precisely why AMD is recovering server market share.

    If you do the math you'll find that most servers get upgraded long before the difference in power consumption between an Intel and AMD CPU would pay for itself. The total wattage per CPU is not the actual wattage used under normal operations and AMD has as good or better power saving options in their FX based CPUs as Intel has in IB. The bottom line is those who write the checks are buying AMD again and that's what really counts, in spite of the trolling.

    Rory Read has actually done a decent job so far even though it's not over and it has been painful, especially to see some talent and loyal AMD engineers and execs part ways with the company. This happens in most large company reorganizations and it's unfortunate but unavoidable. Those remaining at AMD seem up for the challenge and some of the fruits of their labor are starting to show with the Jaguar cores. When the Steamroller cores debut later this year, AMD will take another step forward in servers and desktops.
    Reply
  • Cotita - Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - link

    Most servers have a long life. You'll probably upgrade memory and storage, but CPU is rarely upgraded. Reply
  • Guspaz - Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - link

    Let's assume $0.10 per kilowatt hour. A $100 price difference at 20W would take 1000 kWh, which would take 50,000 hours to produce. The price difference would pay for itself (at $100) in about 6 years.

    So yes, the power savings aren't really enough to justify the cost increase. The higher IPC on the Intel chips, however, might.
    Reply
  • bsd228 - Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - link

    You're only getting part of the equation here. That extra 20w of power consumed mostly turns into heat, which now must be cooled (requiring more power and more AC infrastructure). Each rack can have over 20 2U servers with two processors each, which means nearly an extra kilowatt per rack, and the corresponding extra heat.

    Also, power costs can vary considerably. I was at a company paying 16-17cents in Oakland, CA. 11 cents in Sacramento, but only 2 cents in Central Washington (hydropower).
    Reply
  • JonnyDough - Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - link

    +as many as I could give. Best post! Reply
  • Tams80 - Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - link

    I wouldn't even ask the NYSE for the time day. Reply

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