AMD Takes Aim At Intel's Hold On The Server Market With New Epyc Data Center Processors

AMD is hoping to break Intel's hold on the server market, unveiling Tuesday the official launch of its new Epyc data center chip family.

The Epyc platform, which marks AMD's return to the server market after a four-year hiatus, consists of nine 7000 processors that boast a larger memory bandwidth and broader array of input/output lines.

’With our Epyc family of processors, AMD is delivering industry-leading performance on critical enterprise, cloud and machine intelligence workloads,’ said Lisa Su, president and CEO of AMD, in a statement. ’Epyc processors offer uncompromising performance for single-socket systems while scaling dual-socket server performance to new heights, outperforming the competition at every price point. We are proud to bring choice and innovation back to the data center with the strong support of our global ecosystem partners.’

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AMD's Zen-based Epyc lineup ranges from eight-core, 16-thread pieces up to 32-core, 64-thread CPUs with four eight-core dies.

These dies are internally connected through AMD's Infinity Fabric, which the company said is cheaper than trying to pack multiple cores on a single die.

"We are very excited about AMD’s new server platform based on the Epyc SoC," said Andrew Kretzer, director of sales and marketing at Bold Data Technology, a Fremont, Calif.-based system builder. "Our preliminary testing has shown Epyc-based systems to excel at memory and I/O-intensive tasks – whether bare metal or virtualized – all at a very competitive price point. Everyone benefits when there is competition in the marketplace."

AMD said that single-socket systems running its high-end Epyc 7601 chip can achieve up to 20 percent capital expenditure savings, compared with Intel's Xeon E5-2660 v4-based two-socket system.

Intel, which has been heavily investing in its data center business as part of its widespread restructuring efforts, currently holds a tight grip on the $16.5 billion server chip market with its popular Xeon chips.

Intel did not respond to a request for comment before publication. The Santa Clara, Calif.-based chip giant has said it will refresh its server processors over the summer.

"This competition helps the channel, and it makes Intel very sharp at its game," said Dominic Daninger, vice president of engineering at Northern Computer Technologies, a Burnsville, Minn.-based custom system builder. "The memory bandwidth [on the Epyc SoCs] is good… AMD has generally had a lower-priced offering than Intel, so this should generate some interest with our customers."