AMD Epyc Server Chips Take The Data Centre Fight To Intel Xeon

32 core processors, 2TB of memory support and 128 lanes of PCIe are on offer with the Eypc chips

AMD is looking to knock Intel off its top spot in the data centre processor sector, with its Epyc system-on-a-chip. 

Based upon AMD’s latest Zen CPU architecture, the Epyc chipsets start with octa-core processors and go up to 32-core variants for servers that need to handle demanding workloads. 

For each core, Epyc supports two high-performance threads and offers eight channels of memory on each chipset. In two-socket servers that means support for up to 32 DIMMS of DDR4 memory spread across 16 channels to deliver a total memory capacity of 4TB. 

However, in the single-socket variation, AMD is still championing high-performance with the ability to support 2TB of memory and 128 lanes of PCIe, which provides more I/O than rival Intel Xeon server chips

Having this performance on a single-socket chips is being touted by AMD as a means to boost energy efficiency, and take up less server space.

Epyc ambitions 

AMD EpycAMD is championing Epyc chipsets as being highly scaleable for the data centre world, with the entry-level chip, the Epyc 7251 offering eight cores and a base clock speed of 2.1GHz that can be boosted to 2.9GHz.

At the top end of the Epyc spectrum is the Epyc 7601 which rocks 32 cores and a base frequency of 2.2GHz that boosts to 3.2GHz. 

AMD already has customers on its books for the Epyc chips including Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), Dell and Lenovo. 

“The EPYC processor represents a paradigm shift in computing and will usher in a new era for the IT ecosystem,” said Antonio Neri,  general manager of HPE’s Enterprise Group.

 “Starting with the Cloudline CL3150 and expanding into other product lines later this year, the arrival of Epyc in HPE systems will be welcomed by customers who are eager to deploy the performance and innovation Epyc delivers.”

AMD will need to see strong adoption of Epyc is it is to tackle Intel in the server market, as AMD has arguably been a tad lacklustre in the data centre arena as Epyc represents the first major chipset it has aimed at servers since the introduction of its Opteron line way back in 2003

However, AMD is not likely to have an easy time making its comeback into the server world, as Intel has its net wave of Xeon chips on the horizon designed to offer a hike in performance beyond its current Broadwell-based Xeon chips. 

Intel has already been keen on showcasing its 18 core equipped Core i9 processor, so it is likely to present a solid response to AMD’s Eypc before too long. But this is the first time Intel has faced such solid competition against its processors and chipsets, which for the overall industry should see both chipmakers push each other to be more innovative and produce evermore impressive slices of silicon. 

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