A Look At How The AMD EPYC Linux Performance Has Evolved Over The Past Year

Written by Michael Larabel in Processors on 11 June 2018. Page 1 of 5. 13 Comments

This month marks one year since AMD returned to delivering high-performance server CPUs with the debut of their EPYC 7000 series processor line-up. It's been a triumphant period for AMD with the successes over the past year of their EPYC family. Over the past year, the Linux support has continued to improve with several EPYC/Zen CPU optimizations, ongoing Zen compiler tuning, CPU temperature monitoring support within the k10temp driver, and general improvements to the Linux kernel that have also helped out EPYC. In this article is a comparison of a "2017" Linux software stack as was common last year to the performance now possible if using the bleeding-edge software components. These Linux benchmarks were done with the EPYC 7351P, 7401P, and 7601 processors.

This comparison boiled down to testing these three EPYC processors with a software stack from 2017 to what's now possible if employing the very latest key software components on the same system. The software stacks included:

2017: Ubuntu 16.04.4 LTS server edition, which by default is on the Linux 4.4 kernel, GCC 5.4 compiler, EXT4 file-system, and the other stock components of Ubuntu Server 16.04 with that being the latest LTS release as of last year.

2018: Ubuntu 18.04 LTS server edition but with having upgraded to the Linux 4.17 kernel and GCC 8.1 for offering the very latest kernel and compiler, given the ongoing Zen tuning that has taken place.

With both software stacks, the CFLAGS/CXXFLAGS set during the test build and execution process were "-O3 -march=native" for tuning the binaries for this EPYC platform. The other software settings, etc were maintained the same in their stock form on Ubuntu Server.

AMD EPYC Ubuntu 2017 vs. 2018 Linux Benchmarks

The same hardware was used throughout testing. The EPYC 7351P/7401P/7601 processors were tested on the Tyan 2U B8026T70AE24HR using the latest V1.02.B10 BIOS. The Tyan B8026T70AE24HR has been our primary EPYC test platform over the past year of EPYC benchmarking and it continues working out extremely well. The Tyan server was loaded with 128GB of DDR4 memory and 280GB Intel Optane 900p NVMe SSD.

This testing is quite straight-forward so let's get right to these numbers for seeing the AMD EPYC performance differences as a result of the latest Linux code over the past year. All of the benchmarking was facilitated via the Phoronix Test Suite.

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