AMD 4th-Gen EPYC Genoa 9654, 9554, and 9374F Review: 96 Cores, Zen 4 and 5nm Disrupt the Data Center

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AMD’s 4th-Gen EPYC Genoa processors are the industry’s first 5nm x86 CPUs for the data center, and the flagship 96-core 192-thread EPYC 9654 leads the charge. The $11,805 EPYC 9654 enables packing an unprecedented amount of compute into slim server designs — up to 192 cores and 384 threads in a single chassis — courtesy of AMD’s chiplet-based chip design paired with the denser 5nm node and the Zen 4 microarchitecture. In addition, AMD says that a wide array of advances, including a 14% increase in IPC from the Zen 4 architecture and improved power delivery, culminate in up to ~30% more performance per core in both integer and floating point operations than Intel’s Ice Lake. That’s made even more impressive by the sheer core count advantage; the highest-end Genoa processor has more than twice the number of cores of the Ice Lake Xeons, and 60% more cores than the as-yet-unreleased Sapphire Rapids’ rumored peak of 60 cores.

The 9004-series Genoa chips also come packed with up to 384MB of L3 cache and the latest in connectivity tech, including support for up to 6TB of memory spread across twelve channels of DDR5, 128 lanes of PCIe 5.0, and CXL 1.1+, all of which makes Intel’s Ice Lake product stack, which tops out at the 40-core Intel Xeon Platinum 8380 for $9,400, look rather dated. Of course, much of that is because Intel’s oft-delayed Sapphire Rapids, which also comes brimming with advanced connectivity tech and has a host of in-built accelerators, is Genoa’s real competitor. However, it won’t arrive until January 2023.

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