Intel Xeon E5 2690 vs. AMD Epyc 7601: Specifications Comparison

In this article, we would be comparing the Intel Xeon E5 2690 vs. AMD Epyc 7601. While Intel’s part was released many years ago, it is still present on various OEM Server manufacturers. So, let’s get started.

For most people, they believe that a standard desktop computer and a server are pretty much the same. Well, this statement only speaks half the truth. Any regular PC which meets the minimum requirements for running a server operating system can be utilized as a server. However, this does not make a desktop computer as reliable as a server. Even if a desktop has same storage, memory, and processor speed capacity to that of a server, it cannot replace an actual enterprise server. It is because both are engineered to serve different purposes. A desktop is more user-friendly, end-user oriented, while a server is used to manage server-side resources. Thus components used in both of them differ both in architecture and long-term reliability.

Today, we are discussing two dedicated / server optimized processors by Intel and AMD:

Intel Xeon E5 2690 vs. AMD Epyc 7601

We will go through all the relevant specifications and comparison of some technical details and try to understand what makes one server CPU better from another. So without any discussion, here we begin:

Specs Comparison: Intel Xeon E5 2690 vs. AMD Epyc 7601:

In case of AMD’s Zen based EPYC core, each core has a CPU Complex (CCX), where each core has a dedicated 2 MB of Level-3 cache, and can also access to the other L3 shared cache rather speedily.

AMD used what it calls the “Infinity Fabric” Quad DDR4 Channels (2 DDR4-channels) and dedicated PCIe lanes. So basically, each AMD EPYC chip is an MCM (Multi-Chip Module) containing four Zeppelin dies.

Intel’s Xeon E5-2690 based on the Sandy Bridge architecture is capable of boosting up to 3.8 GHz of the clock frequency. It is a six year + old design which is now available at a competitive price and excellent performance for server workloads.

Basic Details

Specification Intel Xeon E5 2690

AMD Epyc 7601

Manufacturer Intel AMD
Family Xeon Epyc, Q1 – 2018
Release Date June 20, 2012,

As the table implies, Intel Xeon E5 2690 comes from Xeon CPU family, which was introduced way back in 2012. On another hand, AMD Epyc 7601 was introduced last year in June 2017. Thus, we expect AMD Epyc to surpass Intel Xeon in performance with a great margin.

CPU Features

Specification Intel Xeon E5 2690

AMD Epyc 7601

Core Name  Sandy Bridge EP Naples
Micro Architecture Sandy Bridge Zen
Technology (micron) 0.032 0.014
Data Width 64 bits 64 bits
Socket Socket 2011  SP3
Frequency (MHz) 2900 2200
Turbo Frequency (MHz) 3800 / 3600 / 3400 / 3300 3200 / 2700
L1 Cache 256 KB (code) / 256 KB (data) 2048 KB (code) / 1024 KB (data)
L2 Cache 2048 KB 16384 KB
L3 Cache 20480 KB 65536 KB
TDP 135 Watts 180 Watts
Core Voltage 0.6 – 1.35 V
Cores 8 – 1P 32
Threads 16 64
Multiprocessing 2 2
Instruction Set Extensions AES / Advanced Encryption Standard

AMD64 / EM64T 64-bit technology

AVX / Advanced Vector Extensions

MMX, SSE, SSE2, SSE3, SSE4.1, SSE4.2, SSSE3 / Supplemental SSE3

AES / Advanced Encryption Standard

AVX / Advanced Vector Extensions

AMD64 / EM64T 64-bit technology

MMX, SSE, SSE2, SSE3, SSE4.1, SSE4.2, SSSE3 / Supplemental SSE3

AVX2 / Advanced Vector Extensions 2

F16C / 16-bit Floating-Point conversion

FMA3 / 3-operand Fused Multiply-Add

Supported Technologies Hyper-Threading

PowerNow! / Enhanced SpeedStep

Trusted Execution

Turbo Core / Turbo Boost

Virtualization

Virus Protection / Execute Disable bit

 

Hyper-Threading

Turbo Core / Turbo Boost

Virtualization

Virus Protection / Execute Disable Bit

 

As shown above, Intel Xeon E5 2690 utilizes Sandy Bridge cores while AMD Epyc 7601 comes with Naples cores. Intel has sandy bridge micro-architecture while AMD is based on Zen micro-architecture. Epyc operates on 0.014-micron technology which is considered much better than Intel Xeon’s 0.032-micron technology. Both of them have the data width of 64 bits.

Xeon has the better base and boosted frequency compared to AMD Epyc. Moreover, cache memory on different levels is better in AMD Epyc. The number of cores and threads are more in AMD compared to Intel, and so it consumes more power while operating. AMD offers better extension set while additional technical support is better in Intel Xeon.

Integrated Memory Controllers

Specification Intel Xeon E5 2690

AMD Epyc 7601

Memory Channels  4 8
Supported Memory DDR3 800, DDR3 1066, DDR3 1333, DDR3 1600 DDR4 2666
DIMMs Per Channel 3 Up to 2
Maximum Memory Bandwidth 51.2 GB/s 170.6 GB/s

AMD is a clear winner here. It comes with the double number of memory channels and offers triple memory bandwidth compared to Intel Xeon. Intel supports 3 DIMMs per channel while AMD has 2 DIMMs per channel. Here, we believe that dual channel architecture utilizes dual modules more effectively rather than a set of three modules. Moreover, Intel Xeon does not support latest DDR4 modules, which are supported in AMD Epyc, as shown in the table above.

Reason to Consider AMD Epyc 7601:

  • Compared to Xeon E5 2690, Epyc 7601 offers lots of CPU cores. It enhanced the performance in intense workload. In simple words, the number of cores means the CPU can handle multiple processes more efficiently at once.
  • AMD Epyc 7601 comes with AVX2, F16C, and FMA3 extensions. These extensions are recently introduced in the modern microprocessors. They are not entirely utilized in present applications. However, we firmly believe that they will play an essential role in future apps and architectural updates.
  • AMD Epyc 7601 offers higher memory bandwidth. With support to DDR4-2666 memory modules, it assures to deliver faster and enhanced performance while dealing with massive data sets. Non-memory bound applications will see the lower performance improvement.

Limitations of AMD Epyc 7601:

  • It has comparatively lower operating and boosted frequency compared to Intel Xeon E5 2690 microprocessors.
  • Moreover, AMD Epyc 7601 consumes more power since it offers better memory bandwidth and performance; hence the power consumption is high too.

Reasons to Consider Xeon E5-2690:

  • Intel Xeon E5 2690 offers higher operating frequency compared to AMD 7601 microprocessor. Moreover, boosted frequency for Xeon microprocessor is higher too compared to that of AMD Epyc.
  • The power consumption of Xeon is much lower compared to that of AMD Epyc.

Limitations of Intel Xeon E5 2690:

  • The number of CPU cores is limited to Xeon E5 Microprocessor. It means that it handles a fewer number of threads compared to AMD Epyc.
  • Since it supports DDR3 memory type only, the memory bandwidth is limited and does not support some instructions

Conclusion:

Overall, AMD Epyc is way better compared to Intel Xeon since it offers better memory bandwidth and offers additional extensions. Xeon has better operating and boosted frequency. However, it simply does not matter since it can handle fewer tasks at a time unlike AMD Epyc; which is capable of handling more parallel tasks thanks to more CPU cores and threads.

We hope this post helps you to understand various features and specifications of these two server-optimized microprocessors. For any query or suggestion, feel free to use the comment section below, Thank You!

Disclosure: We are a professional review website that sometimes receive compensation or free units from the companies whose products we review. We test each product thoroughly and give high marks to only the very best. We are independently owned and the opinions expressed here are our own.

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