AMD makes a compelling case for budget Ryzen dedicated servers

While AMD EPYC processors deliver phenomenal high-end server performance with up to 64 cores / 128 threads per socket, eight memory channels, and other features, not all server deployments require such capabilities. . In the low-end dedicated web server rental space, budget web hosting, and similar personal/small office server space, AMD Ryzen processors can prove more than capable. Some dedicated server vendors are already offering AMD Ryzen-powered servers and more are expected to arrive soon, especially with even more server-focused products for next-gen Ryzen. Reviewing this space, we recently benchmarked a number of AMD Ryzen processors against the Intel Xeon E-class competition to examine performance and value in the low-end dedicated server space.

AMD Ryzen with its range of SKUs currently up to 16 cores/32 threads is more than enough for lightweight web servers, mini/infrequent build/compilation cases, game servers and other lightweight tasks not requiring scale and investment as large as AMD EPYC. AMD Ryzen has proven to be incredibly popular with open source developers (and software developers in general) due to high desktop CPU count, speed, and value. We’ve previously reported that developers are increasingly turning to Ryzen hardware to power build boxes for distros and other open source projects and individual developer workstations. It’s just not a Linux thing, but Ryzen build boxes have proven popular with BSDs as well. Content creation with smaller studios has also seen great success with Ryzen when it needs solid performance, but not quite at the levels (or costs) of EPYC.

AMD appears to be positioning Ryzen Dedicated Servers to meet the basic web hosting needs of individuals and small businesses, cost-conscious content creators who may wish to offload the work of CPU-based rendering, dedicated game servers and definitely for build farms, be it CI/CD purposes or developers/teams leveraging remote Ryzen servers for faster build times than local laptops, video transcoders and others areas where EPYC’s very high core count is not needed, nor the extra memory channels and features offered by their flagship server processors. In our benchmarks today, we look at how Ryzen performs against Xeon E in these areas and more.

Besides being high performance processors, the other part of the equation with more cost oriented dedicated server vendors offering Ryzen options is the growing selection of Ryzen motherboards with server oriented features: primarily, the Verified ECC memory support with Ryzen processors and Ryzen motherboards with a BMC. ASRock Rack has been the leader in server-focused Ryzen (Socket AM4) motherboards, ranging from 1U barebones rigs to mini-ITX boards with IPMI and an assortment of other great products. I’m told that with the next generation of AMD Ryzen, we’ll likely see even more server options available.

While there’s always the “cloud” for those looking for low core counts and variable needs, they’re not always cost effective. Additionally, with today’s speculative execution vulnerabilities and other concerns, there is peace of mind for some to have their own bare metal server with no computing resources shared between clients. Zen 3 Ryzen processors like EPYC support memory encryption, optional UEFI SecureBoot, CET and other features.

The AMD Ryzen 5000 series for server use is primarily intended to compete with Intel’s Xeon E-2200 “Coffee Lake” and E-2300 “Rocket Lake” series as the latest Xeon E processors. At least until ‘Intel introduces Alder Lake-based Xeon E series, AMD Ryzen 5000 series can easily break into this budget segment. Eight cores are still best for the E-2300 series. The current flagship Xeon E-2388G processor is made up of eight cores / sixteen threads with a base frequency of 3.2 GHz and a turbo frequency of 5.1 GHz and a TDP of 95 watts. As for the Ryzen 9 5950X, it has 16 cores / 32 threads for a 105 Watt part with a base at 3.4 GHz and a turbo at 4.9 GHz. As far as processor pricing goes, the Xeon E-2388G has a list customer price of $578, but at the time of writing it’s not in stock at any of the major internet retailers. The Ryzen 9 5950X, meanwhile, is currently around $590 with retail availability or even the 12-core Ryzen 9 5900X at around $448.

Although the same CPUs as their desktop counterparts, AMD is also introducing separate OPNs for certain Ryzen CPUs aimed at low-end servers. I’m told these different OPNs are just an attempt to track Ryzen’s popularity for servers and uptime. These AMD Ryzen server OPNs will be available through distributors and partners. I was also told that current AMD Ryzen (AM4) processors should continue to ship Ryzen server OPNs long after the next generation of Ryzen (Socket AM5) is introduced.


The “A” suffix is ​​used to denote Ryzen server OPNs.

OVH, HostKey, InterServer, Hetzner, and others already offer a line of AMD Ryzen-powered servers for low-cost bare metal dedicated servers. Also entering this space is Oslo, Norway-based hosting provider ServeTheWorld. ServeTheWorld has been around for over two decades and, with its Oslo data center, prides itself on Norwegian privacy laws. ServeTheWorld has been kind enough to give Phoronix free access to a range of AMD Ryzen server options they are launching to see how they compare in performance and value to their Xeon E offerings.

In this article, you’ll find benchmarks of various Intel Xeon E and AMD Ryzen offerings from ServeTheWorld to examine the performance/value of these low-end processors for dedicated servers in a variety of possible workloads.

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