Amazon EC2 M6i Performance For Intel Ice Lake In The Cloud Benchmarks
Written by Michael Larabel in Processors on 20 August 2021. Page 1 of 8. 1 Comment

Earlier this week Amazon introduced Intel Xeon Scalable 3rd Gen "Ice Lake" powered EC2 cloud instances and marks their first x86-based sixth-generation offerings that follow their "M6g" Graviton2 instances launched last year. Curious about the "M6i" Ice Lake performance with AWS, here are a number of benchmarks looking at the performance and value of the new M6i instances compared to former Intel M5 instances as well as Amazon's own M6g Graviton2 instances.

AWS has been promoting their Amazon EC2 M6i instances as offering up to a 15% improvement in price/performance over comparable fifth-generation instances. In addition, there is up to 20% higher memory bandwidth, always-on memory encryption is now supported, and larger instances. Thanks to higher core counts available with Ice Lake over Cascade Lake, there is a new M6i "32xlarge" instance type that now offers 128 vCPUs with 512GB of RAM compared to M5 topping out at "24xlarge" with 96 vCPUs and 256GB of RAM. Making the M6i offering in the Elastic Compute Cloud even more compelling is that at least for now the on-demand M6i pricing is the same as M5 (yes, also, it's new that with sixth-generation they are now denoting Intel CPUs with the "i" just as there is M5a suffix for AMD).

Our testing of multiple M6i instance types have found the Ice Lake CPU model to be the Intel Xeon Platinum 8375C. These Hyper Threading enabled Xeon Ice Lake processors have a maximum all-core turbo clock frequency of 3.5GHz.


The initial M6i Ice Lake line-up with current on-demand pricing used.


The prior-generation M5 Cascade Lake instances with somewhat surprisingly the same pricing as M6i for now.

For this article, the testing of the EC2 M6i instances this week is broken down into a few key areas:

- Looking at the M6i.8xlarge versus previous-generation M5.8xlarge (Cascade Lake) performance. Both generations are comprised of 32 vCPUs (16 physical cores + HT). The 8xlarge instance type was selected for being a "middle of the road" instance type with its 32 vCPUs and 128GB of RAM while M6i can be found in as little as the m6i.large for 2 vCPUs or up to m6i.32xlarge for 128 vCPUs.

- In seeing how the latest generation M6i can compete to Amazon's existing sixth-generation Graviton2 instances, there is also a look at the m6i.8xlarge vs. m5.8xlarge vs. m6g.8xlarge comparison. The m6g.8xlarge instance is at 32 vCPUs just like the Intel 8xlarge instances but with Graviton2 means being backed by all physical cores and not SMT/HT.

- For seeing how well the Ice Lake EC2 instances do at the top end, there is also a look at the m6g.metal (Graviton2 bare metal complete server) against m5.24xlarge as their Cascade Lake top instance type, m6i.24xlarge as the similar Ice Lake instance type, and then m6i.32xlarge as the top-end instance type offered right now with Ice Lake for seeing what the peak performance is like out of a single instance.

For the performance-per-dollar metrics, the US on-demand pricing for US West was used.

If you are wondering about the performance against AMD, we're still waiting for Amazon to introduce their new EPYC 7003 "Zen 3" instance types. Once EC2 has their sixth-generation AMD EPYC instances available, I'll certainly run some benchmarks there for putting the latest-generation CPUs across Intel, AMD, and AWS/Graviton.

A wide mix of tests was carried out although somewhat limited to keep costs involved reduced - if you enjoy these sorts of articles, consider showing your support by joining Phoronix Premium, PayPal tips, or at the very least disabling any ad-blocker for this site.


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