AMD EPYC 7371 Processor in Q1 2019

At the Supercomputing 2018 Conference, AMD announced a special high-frequency SKU in their first-generation 14nm AMD EPYC “Naples” line of server processors.  This SKU will be the AMD EPYC 7371 processor. This upcoming processor will have 16C/32T, with a base clock speed of 3.1 GHz. It will boost up to 3.6 GHz on all 16 cores and up to 3.8 GHz on eight cores. It also has a 64MB L3 cache.

This is a significant clock speed increase over the existing AMD EPYC 7351  processor. The EPYC 7351 has a base clock speed of 2.4 GHz, with a max boost speed of 2.9 GHz. This is especially relevant for SQL Server 2017 usage. This is because SQL Server 2017 licensing is based on core counts, not clock speeds or actual performance. 

Because of this, you want to get the most performance and capacity possible for each licensed CPU core. A base clock speed increase of 29.2% is going to be quite noticeable on a typical SQL Server instance.

I hope that mainstream vendors like Dell offer this SKU in their existing systems. For example, the Dell PowerEdge R7415 and R7425 would be great choices.

Anandtech has some more details here. ServeTheHome calls this SKU “the fastest 16-core processor” here.

New CPU Microcode Updates for Intel Processors

Intel has released a new round of CPU microcode updates that address the Spectre variant #2 CPU vulnerability that now include older processor microarchitectures (all the way back to Haswell). There is always a delay between when Intel makes these updates available and when the system vendors and motherboard manufacturers do their validation and release BIOS updates.

A number of system vendors and motherboard manufacturers have special sites where you can more easily locate the latest BIOS update for your system. You should make a point of periodically checking to see if any BIOS updates are available for your systems. Here is a list of some of the more popular vendors:


ASRock

ASUS

Dell

Dell (Server)

Gigabyte

HP

HPE

Lenovo

MSI


I have written quite a bit about Spectre and Meltdown, including my latest article for SQLPerformance.com here.



Performance Effects of Meltdown and Partial Spectre Fixes on Intel Core i7-7500U Laptop

I have a fairly recent vintage HP Spectre x360-13w023dx laptop (slightly over a year old) that has an Intel Core i7-7500U (Kaby Lake-U) processor, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, and a 512GB Samsung PM961 M.2 NVMe SSD that is running Windows 10 Professional Version 1709.

Last night, I installed the Windows 10 January 2018 Security Update (KB4056892) on this system, and then used PowerShell to check my status, with the results as shown in Figure 1. These are the relevant results:

Speculation control settings for CVE-2017-5715 [branch target injection] (This is Spectre variant 2)

Hardware support for branch target injection mitigation is present: False

Windows OS support for branch target injection mitigation is present: True

Windows OS support for branch target injection mitigation is enabled: False

Windows OS support for branch target injection mitigation is disabled by system policy: False

Windows OS support for branch target injection mitigation is disabled by absence of hardware support: True

Speculation control settings for CVE-2017-5754 [rogue data cache load] (This is Meltdown)

Hardware requires kernel VA shadowing: True

Windows OS support for kernel VA shadow is present: True

Windows OS support for kernel VA shadow is enabled: True

Windows OS support for PCID performance optimization is enabled: True [not required for security]

Suggested actions

* Install BIOS/firmware update provided by your device OEM that enables hardware support for the branch target injection mitigation mitigation


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Figure 1: After Windows 10 Security Update, but before BIOS Update


After I had installed the Windows 10 January 2018 Security Update (KB4056892) on this system, I ran both the CPU-Z 1.82.1 CPU benchmark and the CrystalDiskMark 6.0.0 synthetic disk benchmark three times, to get a performance baseline before I installed the new BIOS (that has the microcode update to enable the Spectre variant 2 fixes). Some results from these test runs are shown in Figures 3 and 5 below.


Following Microsoft’s guidance, I located and installed the latest BIOS for my HP Spectre x360 laptop, which is version F.42. Then, I again used PowerShell to check my status, with the results as shown in Figure 2. These are the relevant results:

Speculation control settings for CVE-2017-5715 [branch target injection] (This is Spectre variant 2)

Hardware support for branch target injection mitigation is present: True

Windows OS support for branch target injection mitigation is present: True

Windows OS support for branch target injection mitigation is enabled: True

Speculation control settings for CVE-2017-5754 [rogue data cache load] (This is Meltdown)

Hardware requires kernel VA shadowing: True

Windows OS support for kernel VA shadow is present: True

Windows OS support for kernel VA shadow is enabled: True

Windows OS support for PCID performance optimization is enabled: True [not required for security]


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Figure 2: After Windows 10 Security Update and BIOS Update


Figure 3 shows one of the CPU-Z 1.82.1 benchmark run results before the BIOS update, showing a CPU Single Thread score of 373.9, and a CPU Multi Thread score of 1000.2.


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Figure 3: After Windows 10 Security Update, but before BIOS Update


Figure 4 shows one of the CPU-Z 1.82.1 benchmark run results after the BIOS update, showing a CPU Single Thread score of 317.5, and a CPU Multi Thread score of 971.8. That is about a 15.1% reduction in single-threaded CPU performance and a 2.8% reduction in multi-threaded CPU performance, at least on this quick synthetic CPU benchmark.


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Figure 4: After Windows 10 Security Update and BIOS Update


Figure 5 shows one of the CrystalDiskMark 6.0.0 benchmark run results before the BIOS update.


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Figure 5: After Windows 10 Security Update, but before BIOS Update


Figure 6 shows one of the CrystalDiskMark 6.0.0 benchmark run results after the BIOS update.


image

Figure 6: After Windows 10 Security Update and BIOS Update


What these limited synthetic benchmark test results show is that installing the CPU microcode updates (which are a required part of the Spectre variant 2 fix) seems to have a pretty significant effect on single-threaded CPU performance in the CPU-Z benchmark. We also see a very significant effect on random I/O performance in CrystalDiskMark 6.0.0 using the default test settings with a 4GB test file.

Microsoft’s Terry Myerson has a pretty detailed post on this subject

Understanding the performance impact of Spectre and Meltdown mitigations on Windows Systems

Intel has published some client benchmark results for 6th, 7th, and 8th Generation Core processors, as shown here:

Intel Security Issue Update: Initial Performance Data Results for Client Systems