Intel Xeon vs. AMD EPYC Performance On The Linux 5.8 Kernel
Written by Michael Larabel in Processors on 2 October 2020. Page 1 of 5. 6 Comments

Given that Ubuntu 20.10 will be shipping with Linux 5.8 out-of-the-box along with other autumn 2020 Linux distributions where Linux 5.9 is landing too late, here is a fresh comparison of several different AMD EPYC 7002 "Rome" and Intel Xeon "Cascade Lake" processors on this current stable kernel release for seeing how the performance is standing up as we approach this next round of Linux distribution releases.

Ubuntu 20.10 benchmarks on various server and mobile/desktop platforms will be coming later this month while this article is more broadly providing fresh reference figures of the AMD EPYC and Intel Xeon performance for Linux 5.8. This newer kernel is also important as we move closer to the release of the next-generation Intel Xeon "Ice Lake" and EPYC "Milan" processors for newer hardware support/compatibility. It's also fun providing this fresh look when thinking about how the server landscape may evolve with those upcoming launches. Plus this article has some new/updated test profiles (benchmarks) compared to some of the past server CPU benchmark articles.

For today's tests all the of CPUs were tested on Ubuntu 20.04.1 LTS with all available updates while running the Linux 5.8 kernel and keeping the other "Focal Fossa" packages at their updated defaults off an Intel Optane 900p 280GB NVMe solid-state drive. Tested on the AMD side were the EPYC 7402, 7452, 7532, 7552, 7642, 7742, 7F32, 7F52, and 7F72 all in a 2P configuration. The AMD testing was performed with the Supermicro H11DSi-NT v2.00 motherboard using 16 x 32GB DDR4-3200 DIMMs.

On the Intel side were the Xeon Gold 5220R, Xeon Gold 6250, Xeon Gold 6258R, and Xeon Platinum 8280 all in dual socket (2P) configurations as well based on the CPUs available. That testing was done with 12 x 32GB DDR4-2933 memory with the Gigabyte S451-3R0 Storage Server.

Not reflected by benchmarks but significant in going from Linux 5.4 (as found by default in Ubuntu 20.04/20.04.1 LTS) to newer kernels of Linux 5.8+ is better AMD CPU temperature monitoring support with the k10temp driver, the AMD Energy driver was added to Linux 5.8 for exposing AMD energy reporting metrics finally under Linux, more work on AMD SEV, and other continued refinements for both the current Intel and AMD microarchitectures along with other general feature additions.

Via the Phoronix Test Suite dozens of different benchmarks were carried out for looking at the performance of these x86_64 server CPUs with the Linux 5.8 kernel. Again, comparisons against Ubuntu 20.10 and friends will be coming in the weeks ahead.


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