Intel Vs AMD CPU For VMS Server?

Hi All,

As you all know, we are in a very competitive industry. We will try to beat competitor's price as much as we can to get our hands on a project, as clients are looking ways of saving money.

As you all know AMD CPU price is always cheaper than INTEL. And some clients have raise an interesting question: Why using an AMD CPU for running VMS is not possible?

In the market, in general all VMSes seem to lean towards INTEL CPU as their preferred hardware, for running their VMSes. Why not AMD CPU work with VMS software?

I want to post this question to find out:

  1. What is the MAIN technical reason of using INTEL CPU for operating VMS?
  2. Is INTEL CPU more efficient and AMD?
  3. Is INTEL CPU has better compatibility with VMS in terms of supporting instruction set?

Thank you.

Regards,

Marcus


We always used Intel procesors but that was because we typically used Dell and their servers are intel. I found this article that talks about some the advantages of Intel versus AMD on the server side. Personally i wouldn't have a problem with AMD on a client workstation (my home PC is AMD) but on the server side I would stick with Intel.

Thanks for the comment Jason, your answer and the article is quite relevant. There is no doubt that server needs the high bandwitdth possible in PCI-Express, because the hardware is best suited in a Enterprise environment- large corporations dealing with 32 to 64 megapixels cameras. However, what about consumer grade desktop CPU, for example i7, i5 and i3 CPUs which are normally use in retail shops, mini markets, homes, local pre schools....etc. Would you be comfortable to switch to AMD CPUs instead.

I would check with the VMS manufacturer. I've had client software run fine on AMD processors but never server software that i know of. Best to check with the VMS manufacturer and see if they have tested it. Sometimes it makes perfect sense that something would work but then there is some asterisk on page 1013 of the manual that says it will not work in that configuration.

Jason, good idea, it is best to refer to the VMS manufacturers- those software engineers are the experts in the field. But can they give an unbaised and fair advice/comment or even give a good technical reason why AMD hardware is not being used for running their VMS software? Somehow I suspect (I may be wrong here), VMS manufacturers are using INTEL based hardware for developing their VMS software because INTEL sponsored those testing hardware? If not, perhaps VMS manufacturers are willing to use INTEL based hardware because they will get better deal when they buy their hardware directly from INTEL.

I highly doubt VMS manufacturers are getting money or sponsorship from Intel. Also, most of the companies do not sell much or any hardware so there's not a significant financial incentive for them.

The real issue is likely that Intel has significant greater market share for PCs:

John, my statements about sponsorship is merely based on my assumption not facts. I thought, someone may agree with me on my assumption. Apparently this is going to happen. The graph that you submitted seems weird, I am not disputing the fact that AMD is losing market share, since many PC hardware review sites showing that AMD CPU is lagging behind INTEL in terms of performance. But, I am still thinking how does the blue line is the exact reflection of the yellow line? Strange? Yeah? Anyway, the graph is just showing the market share of the two CPU manufacturers, how does it relate to my discussion? Are you implying that more and more people are sticking with INTEL CPU because the graph is suggesting INTEL will be only CPU manufacturer around when AMD finally bites the dust?

It relates to your discussion because companies tend to support and optimize for the most common use cases. The Intel / AMD breakdown is literally the 80 / 20 rule in action.

If I am a VMS developer, making sure my software is well tested and optimized for Intel means that I've covered ~80% of the market.

Ok, John, I think I got your point here, we just have to follow the current trend in the market force. Just like current the trend in the whole security market is experiencing, more and more people is moving /migrating from analogue CCTV cameras to network IP based megapixels cameras.

I am not making a claim about which one is better. I am just saying its rationale for VMS developers to optimize for the one that is much more commonly used.

Secondly, as Luis mentions, the price differential on CPUs is not so great relative to the price of a VMS recorder that it is generally not a priority to try to save here.

John, Yes, in terms of price difference between the AMD and INTEL CPUs, it won't hurt customer's pocket in paying extra USD $50. Check out the link below:

INTEL I5-4670K vs AMD FX-8350 = I5-4670K vs FX-8350

But if the hardware requirement from a particular VMS requires an I7 INTEL CPU (for certain special applications with more 16 camera), then the difference is over USD $100. Check out the link below:

INTEL I7-3770K vs AMD FX-8350 = I7-3770K vs FX-8350

However...

Since I am not currently based in the US, my country currency conversion is 1 USD = 3.30 dollars, which means that my customer is going to pay extra $100 x3.3 = 330 dollars for opting INTEL I7 over AMD FX. This can be a substantial saving if AMD FX CPU is chosen.

NOTE: The reasons of choosing AMD FX-8350 CPU are:

  1. The top of line AMD CPU available in my area
  2. The latest FX-8XXX series CPU, now supports SSE v4.2 sames as INTEL CPUs. Which I believe, will help the achieve higher efficiency in dealing with H.264 streaming than those lower end AMD CPUs which does not support SSE v4.x.

I think it leads back to suggestion Jason made about checking with the VMS company- just ask them and see what they say.

Aside from that, is this for a recorder or viewing station. An i7 seems pretty overkill for 16 cameras unless there's trasncoding or server side analytics going on.

If you need an I7, it probably means you have quite a number of cameras or using analytics. Either way, it means one is spending a lot of money overall and that $100 is not a big percentage of the purchase price.

I am not trying to dissuade you from using AMD. I don't have an opinion here. I am just trying to explain why most do not prioritize nor are motivated to switch CPU manufacturers.

While AMD is a viable alternative, most every VMS manufacturer benchmarks their software on Intel based processors. More testing, more experience means better compatibility and performance with Intel over AMD. That to me is enough to not break the trend in order to save a few dollars.

Yes, I agree, I too, have a testing PC in INTEL hardware, since the VMS manual recommended INTEL CPU and chipset for it to work with the VMS. But should we just follow blindly? Perhaps someone out there may have some information of using AMD CPUs for running VMS and dare to be different. I may be wrong here (since I am not a qualified VMS software developer), but INTEL CPU and chipset is a MUST because the VMS software coding relies on certain INTEL instruction set. Without these instruction sets, the VMS cannot perform reliably (refer to the below diagram)

Exactly, Greg you have pin-pointed crux of the matter in your statement.

The question still exist WHY does VMS manufacturer ALWAYS benchmarks their software with INTEL?

Quote:

most every VMS manufacturer benchmarks their software on Intel based processors. More testing, more experience means better compatibility and performance with Intel over AMD.

This statement from the AMD executive in repsonse to the article that Jason linked too, "If cost were factored into the equation and a comparison performed on processors at the same price points, AMD has advantages in overall performance and feature sets" kind of sums up what I've seen between Intel and AMD CPU's over the years. AMD has always seemed to stay on the game with slightly less expensive CPU's that at least performed almost as well.

Where AMD really made their following is in the early years of hard core gaming where you could overclock an AMD CPU much easier than an Intel CPU, so you actually did get more bang for you buck if you overclocked the CPU.

AMD and Intel CPU's are both based on X86 architecture. How VMS's code their software shouldn't make much difference in terms of reliability. They may optimize for specific feature sets one has over the other (cache, bus throughput, etc), but it should run on both CPU's stabiliy.

In reality, though, I find it hard to believe that the price of a comparable Intel and AMD CPU is actually that much of a difference given the overall cost of a security system. I think those customer's you get questions from are more than likely home gamers and hobby builders with a fan following of AMD or supproters of the underdogs. Even if an Intel may run better than an AMD by some margin (for more money), I wouldn't want AMD to go away. That'd leave Intel with virtualy no competitor in the x86 market and I think that would be pretty bad.

So continue to use Intel's for your VMS servers. But use AMD for your home gaming. :)

Luis thanks for your comment on this discussion.

Totally agree to your comments made. Personally, at office, I have a couple of INTEL PCs running and testing VMS software.

At home, I have all my PCs running AMD. Why? I am not hard core gamer, neither is my wife.

Reason is why spend more when on INTEL system when AMD can perform and output roughly the same result as INTEL.

Referring to your statement below, If VMS can run AMD system stably, then why the majority of us still prefer to stick with INTEL based system, and sell it to our clients? It is because that, If they is any problem with the VMS system using AMD CPU, then we can blame ourselves that we did not follow the hardware recommended list / manual?

Quote:

AMD and Intel CPU's are both based on X86 architecture. How VMS's code their software shouldn't make much difference in terms of reliability. They may optimize for specific feature sets one has over the other (cache, bus throughput, etc), but it should run on both CPU's stabiliy.

"Referring to your statement below, If VMS can run AMD system stably, then why the majority of us still prefer to stick with INTEL based system, and sell it to our clients?"

I think because Intel has done a better job of selling themselves as the standard and it's just what people are used too. Call it market inertia. Take Cisco, for example. There are other competiting products that some argue are as good as if not better than Cisco in some (or many, whatever your inclinations are) areas. But when people think of major networking equipment, they almost always think of Cisco first. Partly because Cisco spent humongous amounts on marketing and industry periodical ads convincing people of this and still does.

And just as you have some customer's asking why aren't you considering putting AMD in the hardware you sell them, I've seen more IT people ask (when I was in computer sales), why are we putting in AMD and not Intel in their computers. Seriously, they could save $50 or more a workstation by buying them with AMD CPU's, which for a small business is noticeable. They would never see a performance differance because all they run are Office docs and email, but some guy working for the customer whose designated as the "IT person" just because he knows a little about computers (because his brother works at Intel....... as a janitor), just prefers Intel because he sees more Intel ads in the trade mags than AMD. Maybe that's a little exagerating, but not by much.

I want to thank all members of IPVM who made some comments or advices to my posted discussion here. I would like to draw a closure and sum up everything that I have gathered or learned from the discussion.

Using AMD FX CPU can be alternative in supporting VMS software, but it is an unfamiliar territory that I am venturing into (Beause all VMS manufacturer recommends INTEL based PC for running VMS). It is a matter of whether I am willing to take the risk or not. A full thorough VMS testing is required in order to acertain whether AMD FX CPU can really be compatible with VMS softwares available in the market. However, if an AMD based client workstation can work stably and flawlessly with a INTEL based server, then I can see the reason why AMD based server cannot to do the job as good as an INTEL CPU. I think the lesson that I learn from this discussion is OPTIMIZATION- is AMD CPU optimize to run VMS software?

I'm one of those guys still in a discussion 10 minutes after it has ended :)

In a market dominated by two players, market share trend lines will be mirror images (1-N mirrors N). Participation by other parties (ARM for example) will lead to greater asymmetry, although comparing all others against any one will yield two mirror image lines.

I use CPU Benchmark to determine CPU equivalencies.