High-end server processors: AMD’s new EPYC chips with larger cache

AMD is expanding its High-end chip series EPYC (formerly codenamed Milan-X) with four new processors that add additional L3 cache capabilities to the existing EPYC series.

The most important innovation of the new chips 7773X, 7573X, 7473X and 7373X lies in their physical construction – AMD calls the new technology 3D-V-Cache. While most processors are made from a single piece of silicon, the new AMD chips mount a second microprocessor die on top of the first chip, allowing for a larger L3 cache.

For Shane Rau, research vice president of computer semiconductors at IDC, this is an important feature for the very demanding applications AMD is targeting with the EPYC series. AMD summarizes this under the term “technical computing” and understands it to mean business workloads such as modeling and visualization as well as academic and scientific applications.

“The purpose of the cache is to make data available to be used next by the processor faster than having to access main memory to find the data,” explains Rau. “A larger L3 cache means processors have more data available faster for engineering workloads to consume.”

The prices for the new chips are relatively high, according to Rau. The 16-core 7373X starts at $4,185 each in 1,000-unit quantities, while the 64-core 7773X starts at $8,800. The capabilities of the chips combined with their relatively high price reflect AMD’s product strategy aimed at continuing to compete with Intel. Intel’s server processor market share is still around 85 percent, while AMD’s share is around 11 percent, according to Rau.

“Intel has a much larger product lineup…so if you buy a processor from Intel, you have more choices and arguably a finer segmentation of the market,” Rau continues. “AMD’s approach to the market is based on a smaller number of SKUs (stock keeping units), but each SKU is capable of serving a wider range of workloads.

High-end server processors: AMD’s new EPYC chips with larger cache

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