Some Comparative CPU-Z Benchmark Scores

About a month ago, I built a new desktop gaming system based on an AMD Ryzen R7-3700X 8C/16T processor. I mainly use that system to play World of Tanks at 2K (2560 x 1440), and this new system has significantly higher frame rates at 2K (typically 95-120 fps) than my previous system. When you are gaming at 2K or 4K, your video card is going to be your main bottleneck, unless your CPU is extremely slow. I am using the stock AMD RGB Wraith Prism CPU cooler, and the only tweak I have done so far is to enable the XMP memory profile in the BIOS so that my G.Skill Trident Z CL15 DDR4-3600 memory is running at full speed.

I previously promised some benchmarks on the new system, so one very quick and easy one is the CPU-Z benchmark. This test only takes about 15 seconds, and it is part of the very useful  CPU-Z utility, which requires no installation. This makes it very easy to run on a system, whether it is a gaming rig or a VM that will be running SQL Server. Figure 1 shows an example result on my AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2950X workstation.


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Figure 1: Example CPU-Z Benchmark Results


Today, I decided to run the CPU-Z 1.89.1 CPU benchmark on eight different systems that I have around the house. Two of these are high-end desktops (HEDT), three are mainstream desktops, and three are laptops. The ST Score is the single-threaded score, while the MT score is the multi-threaded score.

The oldest system in the bunch is the 14nm Intel Core i7-6700K from Q3 2015, while the newest is the 7nm AMD Ryzen R7-3700X from Q3 2019. My AMD Ryzen Threadripper systems don’t quite have the same single-threaded CPU performance as the mainstream desktop systems, but they do have a lot more cores (and PCIe 3.0 lanes).


CPU-Z scores

Figure 2: Comparative CPU-Z Benchmark Scores


None of these systems are the current “top of the line” anymore. The AMD Ryzen R7-3700X is roughly in the middle of the stack for the AMD Ryzen 3000 series. The value proposition of the AMD Ryzen 3000 series is that you get great multi-threaded CPU performance, and close enough single-threaded CPU performance for significantly less money than comparable Intel mainstream desktop processors. You also get PCIe 4.0 support with an X570 motherboard.

Rumor has it that AMD may introduce the 3rd generation Ryzen Threadripper processors as soon as September 7, 2019, supposedly with new X599 motherboards to enable PCIe 4.0 support.




Glenn’s Tech Insights For August 11, 2019

(Glenn’s Tech Insights… used to be part of our bi-weekly newsletter but we decided to make it a regular blog post instead so it can get more visibility. It covers interesting new hardware and software developments that are generally relevant for SQL Server).

AMD Releases EPYC 7002 Series Processors

On August 7, 2019, AMD finally unveiled their new 7nm EPYC 7002 Series server processors, formally code-named “Rome” at the AMD EPYC Horizon Event. This is the second generation EPYC server processor that uses the same Zen 2 architecture as the AMD Ryzen 3000 series desktop processors. These new processors are socket compatible with the previous generation AMD EPYC 7001 processors, but you will need a new model server to be able to leverage PCIe 4.0 support.

This new series includes 19 public launch SKUs that have anywhere from 8 physical cores to 64 physical cores. 2nd Generation AMD EPYC processors deliver up to 23% more instructions per clock (IPC) per core on server workloads and up to a 4X larger L3 cache compared to the previous generation AMD EPYC 7001 Series “Naples” processors.

There is already very broad industry support behind these new processors, with Dell EMC, HPE, Gigabyte, Lenovo, SuperMicro, and TYAN announcing new server models for these processors. Google is already using AMD EPYC 7002 processors for internal infrastructure workloads and will be offering virtual machines using these processors later in 2019. Microsoft is offering HBv2 virtual machines that will running on AMD EPYC 7002 series processors.

The initial reviews and benchmarks have been very impressive.

AMD EPYC 7002 Series Rome Delivers a Knockout

AMD Rome Second Generation EPYC Review: 2x 64-core Benchmarked

A detailed look at AMD’s new Epyc “Rome” 7nm server CPUs

This processor series is going to have a huge impact on the server market. I’ll be writing a lot more about this in the future!


SQL Server 2016 and SQL Server 2017 Cumulative Updates

On July 31, 2019, Microsoft released SQL Server 2016 SP2 CU8 (Build 13.0.5426.0) which has 28 public hotfixes. If you are on SQL Server 2016, you really should be on the SP2 branch by now, especially since both the RTM and SP1 branches are no longer supported by Microsoft. If you are on the RTM or SP1 branch, you will have to install SP2, and then install the latest SP2 Cumulative Update to get fully up to date. I’ve already updated my blog post that highlights the more important hotfixes (in my opinion) for each CU in the SP2 branch.

Performance and Stability Related Fixes in Post-SQL Server 2016 SP2 Builds

On August 1, 2019, Microsoft released SQL Server 2017 CU16 (Build 14.0.3223.3) which has 39 public hotfixes. Starting with SQL Server 2017, Microsoft is not using Service Packs as a servicing mechanism for SQL Server, only Cumulative Updates. Microsoft has fixed hundreds of bugs since SQL Server 2017 RTM, and they have also added a significant number of product improvements and new features since the RTM release. I’ve already updated my blog post that highlights the more important hotfixes (in my opinion) for each SQL Server 2017 CU that has been released.

Performance and Stability Fixes in SQL Server 2017 CU Builds

You really are better off trying to stay as current as possible on your SQL Server builds. Here is Microsoft’s official guidance:

Microsoft recommends ongoing, proactive installation of CUs as they become available

  • SQL Server CUs are certified to the same levels as Service Packs, and should be installed at the same level of confidence.

  • Historical data shows that a significant number of support cases involve an issue that has already been addressed in a released CU.

  • CUs may contain added value over and above hotfixes. This includes supportability, manageability, and reliability updates.

SQLskills SQL101: Upgrading to a Different Edition of SQL Server

SQLskills has an ongoing initiative to blog about basic topics, which we’re calling SQL101. We’re all blogging about things that we often see done incorrectly, technologies used the wrong way, or where there are many misunderstandings that lead to serious problems. If you want to find all of our SQLskills SQL101 blog posts, check out SQLskills.com/help/SQL101.

Introduction

A relatively common task that you may have to handle as a database professional is upgrading to a different edition of SQL Server on an existing instance of SQL Server. This is known as an Edition Upgrade, and Microsoft documents the procedure here. This is different than a version upgrade (such as going from SQL Server 2012 to SQL Server 2017).

The two most common scenarios are upgrading from Evaluation Edition to a paid Edition, and upgrading from Standard Edition to Enterprise Edition. There are other possible paths, that are listed for SQL Server 2016 and for SQL Server 2017.

Edition Upgrade Procedure

In order to upgrade the Edition of SQL Server, you will need your SQL Server installation media (which is typically an .iso file). With modern versions of Windows Server you can right-click on the .iso file and select Mount to make the contents of the .iso file available. From the root folder, double-click setup.exe. Once the SQL Server Setup program has loaded (SQL Server Installation Center), click Maintenance, and then select Edition Upgrade.

After a few seconds, you should see the Product Key page as shown in Figure 1. If you are upgrading to a paid edition, you will need a Product Key that will look something like this: 7GPYM-VHN83-PHDM3-Q9T2R-KBV91

License Key

Figure 1: Product Key


Next, you’ll have to accept the license terms, as shown in Figure 2.


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Figure 2: License Terms


Next, the Edition Upgrade Rules will be checked, as you see in Figure 3.


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Figure 3: Edition Upgrade Rules

Once the Edition Upgrade Rule check has completed, you can check the details as shown in Figure 4. You will have to resolve any failed rule checks before you can continue.

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Figure 4: Edition Upgrade Rules Details


Next, you will have to select the instance that you want to upgrade, as shown in Figure 5.


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Figure 5: Select Instance


Finally, you will see the Ready to upgrade edition screen as shown in Figure 6. You will need to click the Upgrade button to continue.


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Figure 6: Ready to Upgrade Edition


The Edition Upgrade process usually goes pretty quickly, in a couple of minutes.  The setup program will restart the SQL Server services as part of the installation, so this will cause an outage. In some cases, you may have to also restart the machine that you are running on.