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

    99%? I love your highly scientific numbers. and yes, of course only Intel can design a perfect processor. I'm glad you were here to let everyone know.

    To quote Abraham Lincoln, (no, not really) "All of our servers run Intel. Everything AMD makes is no better than British tea."
    Reply
  • Tams80 - Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - link

    How much are Intel paying you? XD

    Seriously though; you've gone through the entire comments* posting walls of texts that add little to the discussion. Not only that, but your posts are a little offensive.

    *I realise I'm being hypocritical here.
    Reply
  • JKflipflop98 - Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - link

    Well, Intel does pay me and I'll be the first to say these chips are lookin pretty good in comparison with their previous generation counterparts. Good value for the money for sure.

    As Anand says, however, HPC users are usually after the "extreme" ends of the scale. They're either after max performance or max performance to fit into a certain power/heat envelope. In either case, we win.
    Reply
  • Tams80 - Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - link

    I'm sure you know what I mean. It wasn't exactly high brow humour.

    They certainly do look good, especially for a company that has already invested in AMD chips. Intel may well be better in both use cases, but at least AMD are providing competent competition.
    Reply
  • tech6 - Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - link

    The AMD 6x000 series has always looked nearly competitive on paper but is nowhere near Intel performance and efficiency. We have 3 data centers and one is running a mix of 6100 and 6200 Opterons while the others a re older Xeon 7300s and new E5 Xeons. In terms of single threaded and total performance of the 6x00 series cannot keep up with even old 7300 Xeons and can't touch the E5s. What AMD needs is a 30-40% boost in real world performance before they could be considered competitive. AMD also needs better relations with VMWare to optimize memory management on that platform.

    The price difference won't help them as the cost for a data center host is mostly software and can be $15 vCloud and $10K hardware. That reduces the cost advantage to 5% but delivers worse performance and uses more power.

    Most data centers are looking to get the most from their VMWare investments while reducing power consumption and these AMDs do neither.
    Reply
  • duploxxx - Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - link

    interesting information, but hard to catch if you don't add some figures and real data.

    Firsts of all the 7300 series had huge disadvantages with there FSB, so mentioning that these are way faster then the 6100-6200 opteron series is debatable. I 100% tend to disagree and we had severe Vmware performance issues on these machines on our highend applications.

    i'll just used anandtech as a refference:
    http://www.anandtech.com/show/2851/8
    http://www.it.anandtech.com/show/2978/amd-s-12-cor...

    even the 7400 series are a dog against opteron 8000 series and they are way older and slower against the 6000 series.

    for the E5 you have a point there, often the E5 series show a higher responsive platform, but once you load real life applications within hypervisor and they are starting to hit those HT cores we have seen several degraded performance within our datacenters, this is not really resulted into the anandtech VAPU's scores due to some sw within the benchmark that provides some code optimised results for the intels (the web servers) hence the higher score.

    The 6200 series did showe some response disadvantages but many things have to do with configuration of bios and power profiles in both server and hypervisor. might want to blame the setup rather then the servers. so for 6200 series we actually bought a 10% higher clock speed version to cover that, but reduced that again now with 6300 series.
    Reply
  • silverblue - Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - link

    I'm going to go trawl the internet (note I said trawl, not troll - very important to bear in mind) for articles on FX CPUs resulting in PCs dying... nope, no matches. Funny, huh?

    I've also run a search concerning AMD CPUs producing incorrect results and crashing; any such occurrences would be the results of design bugs which, I must point out, are not limited to AMD. Nehalem had a bug causing spurious interrupts that locks up the hypervisor on Windows Server 2008 R2, for example. Core 2 had a huge list of bugs.
    Reply
  • Shadowmaster625 - Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - link

    It is hard to disagree with the statement, knowing how overpaid US IT professionals are. But I just want to point out that this mentality is one of the reasons IT is being outsourced at a furious rate. Keep that in mind before you go blaming someone else for US jobs being lost.

    This meager cost savings may not matter here, but what about some company in Asia? They might actually bite on a few hundred dollar savings, especially if they are ordering quantities in the hundreds. In that case, $300 becomes $30,000. Which might be more than they spend on the people who deploy those servers.
    Reply
  • ExarKun333 - Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - link

    Outsourced work isn't much cheaper these days and the workers are of much less quality, on a whole. Reply
  • sherlockwing - Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - link

    Except in Asia( especially developing countries) the cost of electricity is a lot higher due to rapidly expanding industry,population & lacking power plants. Reply

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