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Here is what you should to know about Linux and BSD performance in Intel 3rd Gen Scalable IceLake processor server
May 27, 2021

Here is what you should to know about Linux and BSD performance in Intel 3rd Gen Scalable IceLake processor server

Intel Xeon Platinum 8380 Ice Lake vs. AMD EPYC 7763 Milan

Intel 3rd Gen “Ice Lake” Xeon Scalable processors

  • Top level processors, Xeon Platinum 8380 offering 40 cores 2.3GHz base frequency 3.0GHz all-core turbo 270 Watt TDP whereas AMD’s new EPYC 7763 Milan for its 64 core / 128 thread part with a 2.45GHz base frequency and 3.5GHz boost while having a 280 Watt TDP.
  • 20% IPC improvement over 2nd Gen “Cascade Lake” Xeon Scalable processors by 10nm Sunny Cove architecture.
  • Intel processor has 1.46x average performance increase from Xeon Platinum 8280 to Xeon Platinum 8380 processors
  • Intel processor has 1.42x the number of cores with now tapping out at 40 cores rather than 28 cores.
  • AI inference and other workloads able to make proper use of AVX-512.
  • On security, these processors now support Intel SGX, TME (Total Memory Encryption), and Intel Platform Firmware Resilience. Crypto acceleration improvements added.


  • From six channels of DDR4-2933 support with eight channels of DDR4-3200 similar to AMD EPYC Rome/Milan and Ampere Altra
  • Support up to 6TB of system memory per socket with a combination of DRAM and persistent memory.
  • Provide up to 64 lanes of PCI Express 4.0 connectivity per socket.
  • New instructions from GCC and Clang compilers so from the open-source/ Linux compiler side these bits are ready to go on the latest stable compilers.
  • Intel Optane 200 persistent memory devices, Intel Optane P5800X and DC P5510 SSDs, and the E810-C Ethernet adapter.
  • Intel Platinum 8380 vs. the EPYC 7763 Milan processors. Where Intel has the greatest advantage are with workloads that can make use of AVX-512 / DL-BOOST and other new instructions.

Under Linux stack up

Intel 3rd Gen Xeon Scalable Ice Lake processors has performance improvement with the transition to the 10nm Sunny Cove architecture.

  • Intel 3rd Gen Xeon Scalable Ice Lake processors offering up to 40 cores
  • 2nd Gen Cascade Lake processors max 28 Cores
  • AMD EPYC 7003 at 64 cores
  • Ampere Altra processors at even higher core counts.

Specification Ice Lake 3rd generation Scalable server spec:

  • Dual Xeon Platinum 8380 processors
  • 40-core / 80-thread processor with 2.3GHz base clock and 3.4GHz maximum turbo frequency, offers a 60MB cache, carries a 270 Watt TDP,
  • 16 x 32GB DDR4-3200 Hynix memory(support eight channels of DDR4-3200),
  • 64 lanes of PCI Express 4.0 per socket and multiple Intel SSDs.

The recommended customer price is would be approximately at 6 Lakhs INR.

IceLake Server Linux Support

Intel is mainly known for their open source.  The major Linux distributions With Ice Lake Xeon hardware enablement support is available.

AMD improving with their Linux support but ideally already into the major distributions.

With AMD’s EPYC 7003 “Zen 3” provide the same-day AOCC compiler but for preferring the upstream open-source compilers can achieve better in intel.

  • SUSE Linux can be the Znver3 tuning patches found on the GCC mailing list. That more tuned Znver3 support available in GCC 11 and also back-ported to GCC 10.3.
  • Fedora Linux quick to adopt new GCC releases.
  • Ubuntu 21.10 Linux will be delayed moving to GCC 11 with proper Znver3 support,
  • LLVM Clang compiler front merged with the Zen 3 scheduler.

Intel Icelake Server

  • Added current stable GCC compilers in 2018.
  • Linux kernel bits have arrived late for non-critical areas, such as MCE driver refactoring and for Rome and newer.
  • With AMD SEV-SNP “Secure Nested Paging” functionality that work is still going through the upstream processes
  • Also, AMD energy driver was just removed from the Linux kernel due to a disagreement between AMD engineers and the HWMON subsystem maintainer.


  • Ice Lake server, upstream SGX support was added with Linux 5.11 and now with Linux 5.13 for Intel SGX support with KVM guests.
  • Ice Lake Xeon processors add Software Guard Extensions (SGX) but available in previous non-Xeon Scalable processors.
  • Intel has Sapphire Rapids enablement patches ready for the Linux kernel, GCC and other toolchain bits. But AMD was focused on Zen 3 enablement.
  • Intel open-source engineering resources working on hardware enablement and optimized open-source libraries, Embree and SVT-AV1, and more compared to AMD.
  • With FreeBSD 13.0 open-source support is having premiere BSD support. Intel generally leads with the BSD hardware support and has developers focused on FreeBSD.

The Linux performance for the Hardware

  • 3rd Gen Xeon Scalable Xeon Platinum 8380 2P
  • AMD EPYC 7763 / 7713 / 75F3 2P processors
  • Prior generation Cascade Lake Xeon Platinum 8280 2P.
  • Each of the servers was running with memory at its maximum rated memory channels and frequency supported by each platform. A Micron 9300 3.8TB NVMe SSD with Ubuntu 20.04 LTS was used as the drive across servers.

The Linux performance for the Software

  • Ubuntu 20.04 LTS
  • Linux 5.11 kernel
  • Ubuntu 21.04
  • Linux software Linux 5.13 Git
Intel clears Linux performance on Ice Lake, the newest GCC and LLVM Clang compilers, and other assortment of latest Linux benchmarking.

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