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AMD launches EPYC 3, claims "world's fastest" server CPU.

Raft of new servers, hyperscaler instances landing.

AMD latest line of enterprise CPUs has landed, with the EPYC 3 lineup -- dubbed Milan, or more officially the 7003 series -- promising what the chipmaker holds to be class-leading firepower, including a claimed 106% performance increase using its most expensive chip for cloud workloads, over Intel's 28 core Xeon Gold 6258R.

The chips -- priced from $913 for a EPYC 7313P with 16 cores / 32 threads to $7,890 for the EPYC 7763 with 64 cores / 128 threads and L3 cache of 256 MB -- feature up to 64 “Zen 3” cores per processor and improved per-core cache memory, along with the PCIe 4 connectivity and memory bandwidth of its "Rome" or 7002 series.

AMD said the launch means it now offers the "fastest server CPU in the world."

For those running their own hardware, the major providers were all quick to tout new EPYC 3-powered product suites. HPE said it has secured 19 world records in key areas for optimising workload experiences, including achieving leadership positions in virtualisation, energy efficiency, database analytic workloads, and Java applications with its new line of HPE ProLiant servers and HPE Apollo systems. (Its HPE ProLiant DL345 Gen10 Plus server  targets storage-optimised solutions for database workloads; its ProLiant DL365 Gen10 Plus server target virtual desktop infrastructure solutions. Both are available from April 19).

Supermicro, meanwhile, said its SuperBlade had achieved "back-to-back world record benchmarks on the critical-jOPS and max-jOPS tests" using EPYC 3s, with a "36% improvement from the 2nd Gen to 3rd Gen of AMD EPYC CPUs."

"Supermicro has always led the industry in designing and manufacturing the largest application-optimized portfolio of servers that meet the demands of our customers," said Charles Liang, president and CEO, Supermicro. "Our building block architecture allows us to deliver a versatile portfolio of systems that maximize the benefits of the 3rd Gen AMD EPYC Processors for specific workloads be it our 2U 2 Node GPU System with PCIe 4.0 for cloud gaming our 2U CloudDC single processor high core count system for storage applications These systems reduce TCO and the Total Cost to the Environment (TCE), which is an essential metric as we all have the responsibility to minimize a data centers effect on the environment."

AMD is also boasting a new feature snappily titled "Secure Encrypted Virtualization-Secure Nested Paging (SEV-SNP)" that aims to deepen existing SEV protections against hypervisor-based attacks by creating an isolated execution environment. (More technical detail to follow).

"The new processors increase transactional database processing by up to 19%, improve Hadoop big data analytic sorts by up to 60% with 61% better price to performance than the competition, and offer superior performance for flexible Hyperconverged Infrastructure -- all of which help CIOs turn data into actionable insights faster" AMD claimed in a release, adding that the release meant it now offered "the fastest server CPU in the world."

An AMD EPYC 7003 series, de-lidded.

The company will be targeting High Performance Computing (HPC) workloads with its higher-end Milan chips and has made early headway on that front.

Several high-profile HPC procurement decisions were made before the processor launch, favouring Milan over Intel's Ice Lake. (Frontier, an exascale supercomputer being built for the Department of Energy (DOE) by Cray Inc. is a prominent example).

AMD Milan launch: What else is new?

Improved clock speeds thanks to a maturing 7nm process stand out, with the Zen 3 architecture-based Milan chips capable of clocking up to 4.1 GHz on the same wattage as Rome: 280W. All EPYC 3 chips feature 128 lanes of PCIe 4.0 , 8 channels of DDR4 and 3200 MHz EEC support.

Dell, HPE, Lenovo, Supermicro all promised new EPYC 3-powered server lines, while Oracle pledged EPYC 3-backed virtual machine and bare metal compute offerings. Azure VMs for HPC applications powered by the chips are GA today, with Confidential Computing VMs that tap the security features of the AMD EPYC 7003 series are in private preview. GCP and AWS said new EPYC-3-backed instances will be available this year.

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