As you might expect, just a few months after AMD officially launched the fourth generation “Genoa” EPYC processor family based on Zen Microarchitecture 4used marketplaces such as eBay and Aliexpress were flooded with the third generation “Milan” EPYC processorsmany of which have 64 cores/128 threads and will be launched in 2021: the 7773X, 7763, 7713P and 7713.
Prices have dropped significantly since Genoa-based EPYC processors became widely available on the market, with a 64-core processor routinely available for around $2,000.
For comparison, used AMD Ryzen Threadripper PRO 3995WX (also 64 core/128 thread) will sell for around $6,000; these are popular in desktop computers whereas EPYC is primarily aimed at servers.
AMD makes a splash in China?
There are currently over 100 offers for EPYC 3rd generation 64-core processors on eBay (opens in a new tab) with most suppliers shipping from china with free international shipping and often more than 10 pieces for sale. There are also dozens of other offerings for the older second-gen EPYC “Rome” processor that came out in 2019 and also has 64 cores.
Same story on Aliexpress where there are hundreds of 3rd generation EPYC processors for sale, with a few retailers offering 100 or more units (opens in a new tab). Currently, the export of some US computer components related to AI training to China is prohibited. At the time of writing, this only applies to some of the more powerful ones data center GPU (AMD MI200, Nvidia A100, Nvidia H100) and does not include AMD EPYC or Intel XEON processors for now.
It’s probably Chinese hyperscalers have started receiving large quantities of the latest EPYC processors and are fast-tracking the server refresh ahead of any sudden decision by the US administration to ban the sale of high-performance processors. This means ripping and replacing existing components as Genoa supports PCIe 5.0 i DDR5.
Super computing power at a low price
Right now is the best time to grab those 64-core chips and build yourself a powerful workstation. Get two 7003 CPUs for a total of 256 threads and 128 cores, plug them into a compatible motherboard (e.g. Supermicro H12DSi-NT6 or ROME2D16-2L+), add up to 4TB of ECC DDR4 memory and various add-ons (GPU, SSD, riser cards, power supply, etc.) depending on the application.
Taking the do-it-yourself route will likely save you a significant amount of money. Server specialist Broadberry sells a high-performance workstation CyberStation performancewith two 64-core processors (EPYC 7713), 16GB of RAM, and no hard drive for just over $20,000 excluding sales tax.
Overall, EPYC processors are still very, very capable parts, especially for number processing and data-intensive tasks. The 7773X ranks third in the popular PassMark processor benchmark, behind only the world’s fastest processor today, the EPYC 9654, and Ryzen ThreadRipper Pro 5995WX.