With over 17 years of IT hardware supply chain resources



Intel Scalable Processor Family Skylake SP Gold

Today we have our initial benchmarks of a dual socket Intel Xeon Gold 6150 system. One of the biggest questions we have heard lately is around what is going on with the rest of the stack beyond the top-end quad Platinum 8180 and Platinum 8176 systems we already benchmarked. There are a few answers, first, Linux-Bench2 is not quite ready. 80% of the test suite is working well with regressions, but we are working to nail down the last 20%. When we do around 10,000 regression runs, even with many machines doing short 15 minutes per run benchmarks still require over 100 machine days across dozens of systems for us to validate and put into use. In the interest of time, we are going to publish figures based on our legacy Linux-Bench suite. e5-4603 v2

The Intel Xeon Gold 6150 is a significantly more mainstream part versus the Platinum 8180’s we tested earlier. These chips retail for under $3400 each. With 18 cores, 36 threads and high clock speeds (2.7GHz base 3.7GHz single core turbo) the chips are a higher-TDP 165W variant. Compared to the previous generation of Intel Xeon E5 V4 chips, they are similar to the E5-2697 V4 with significantly higher clocks or the E5-2697A V4 with more cores and slightly higher clocks. Of course, there are a host of architectural improvements with the new Intel Xeon Scalable family. We have a complete architecture discussion you can review via our Intel Xeon Scalable Processor Family (Skylake-SP) Launch Coverage Central. Let us explore how well these chips perform compared to our legacy data set.

Test Configuration

For this test, we are using a relatively standard 2U dual socket setup.

  • CPUs: 2x Intel Xeon Gold 6150
  • RAM: 384GB in 12x SK.Hynix 32GB DDR4-2666 2RX4 DIMMs
  • OS SSD(s): 1x Intel DC S3700 400GB
  • NVMe SSD(s): 2x Intel DC P3600 1.6TB AIC
  • OSes: Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, Ubuntu 17.04, CentOS 7.2

This is not the highest-end configuration, but it is showing off what the system can generally handle.

Dual Intel Xeon Gold 6150 Benchmarks

For our testing, we are using Linux-Bench scripts which help us see cross platform “least common denominator” results. We are using gcc due to its ubiquity as a default compiler. One can see details of each benchmark here. We are already testing the next-generation Linux-Bench that can be driven via Docker and uses newer kernels to support newer hardware. The next generation benchmark suite also has an expanded benchmark set that we are running regressions on. For now, we are using the legacy version that now has over 100,000 test runs under its belt.

Python Linux 4.4.2 Kernel Compile Benchmark

This is one of the most requested benchmarks for STH over the past few years. The task was simple, we have a standard configuration file, the Linux 4.4.2 kernel from, and make utilizing every thread in the system. We are expressing results in terms of compiles per hour to make the results easier to read.

Intel Xeon Gold 6150 Linux Kernel Compile Benchmark

One will notice that we added the dual AMD EPYC results in this chart for an interesting reason: the dual Intel Xeon Gold 6150 falls just between the EPYC 7601 DDR4-2400 and DDR4-2666 results. This also creates a lot of traffic in the caches so we see better scaling than we do in benchmarks were data sits locally. In many of our tests, we will see the Intel Xeon Gold 6150 is close to the Intel Xeon E5-2697 V4. In this instance, the new Skylake-SP architecture plus more memory bandwidth is serving the chips well.

c-ray 1.1 Performance

We have been using c-ray for our performance testing for years now. It is a ray tracing benchmark that is extremely popular to show differences in processors under multi-threaded workloads.

Intel Xeon Gold 6150 C Ray Benchmark

This is an example like Cinebench R15 on the windows side.

7-zip Compression Performance

7-zip is a widely used compression/ decompression program that works cross platform. We started using the program during our early days with Windows testing. It is now part of Linux-Bench.

Intel Xeon Gold 6150 7 Zip Benchmark

Here you can see that the Intel Xeon Gold 6150 performs very close to a previous generation Intel Xeon E5-2697 V4 configuration. We also wanted to highlight that these chips offer strong consolidation ratios over Sandy Bridge (E5 V1) systems and older.

NAMD Performance

NAMD is a molecular modeling benchmark developed by the Theoretical and Computational Biophysics Group in the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. More information on the benchmark can be found here. We are going to augment this with GROMACS in the next-generation Linux-Bench in the near future and already have the first dozen or so machines with AVX-512 and new Zen architecture supporting AVX2 code.

Intel Xeon Gold 6150 NAMD Benchmark

Again, performance is very close to what we would see on the dual Intel Xeon E5-2698 V4. We kept the lower-end dual L5520 and dual E5-2620 V1 just to give a bit more color for those looking to consolidate.

One item to note, in the newer AVX-512 code, we expect the Gold 6150’s to top this chart.

Sysbench CPU test

Sysbench is another one of those widely used Linux benchmarks. We specifically are using the CPU test, not the OLTP test that we use for some storage testing.

Intel Xeon Gold 6150 Sysbench Multi Threaded Benchmark

Sysbench does very well on AMD’s architecture as it features less inter-core/ NUMA node movement. The key takeaway here is that the Intel Xeon Gold 6150 performs very well compared to the older generation Xeon E5 V4 parts.

OpenSSL Performance

OpenSSL is widely used to secure communications between servers. This is an important protocol in many server stacks. We first look at our sign tests:

Intel Xeon Gold 6150 OpenSSL Sign Benchmark

And verify results:

Intel Xeon Gold 6150 OpenSSL Verify Benchmark

Again, we can see just how close the dual Intel Xeon Gold 6150 setup is to the dual E5-2697 V4 chips in this test.

The next generation of data we are collecting is significantly broader in terms of OpenSSL performance. We are going to maintain this test for backward compatibility.

UnixBench Dhrystone 2 and Whetstone Benchmarks

One of our longest running tests is the venerable UnixBench 5.1.3 Dhrystone 2 and Whetstone results. They are certainly aging, however, we constantly get requests for them, and many angry notes when we leave them out. UnixBench is widely used so it is a good comparison point.

Intel Xeon Gold 6150 UnixBench Dhrystone 2

To make this a bit less redundant, we widened the scope of the whetstone comparison numbers:

Intel Xeon Gold 6150 UnixBench Whetstone

Again, we see a part that is competitive with the higher-end of the previous generation. You can also see where the dual socket configuration falls between the quad Platinum 8180 and the single Bronze 3104.

Final Words

The next generation Intel Xeon Scalable processors are certainly an architectural improvement over previous generations. We are busy generating a huge data set to help you navigate the current generation of processor options. A careful eye will have noticed a few of the Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum results we are working on creep into the charts above. Stay tuned for much more to come!



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