Benchmarking Ampere’s ARM CPU in Google Cloud Platform

While creating an instance today I noticed GCP offers ARM based CPUs made by Ampere, a company based in Santa Clara with a large office in Portland. The monthly cost runs about $30/mo for a single CPU with 4 GB RAM – a bit pricier than comparable N1, but slightly less than a comparable T2D, which is the ultra-fast AMD EPYC Milan platform.

Since I mostly run basic Debian packages and python scripts, CPU platform really wasn’t an issue, so I was curious to have a quick bake-off using a basic 16 thread sysbench test to mimic a light to moderate load. Here’s the results


These are based on Ampere Altra and cost $29/mo in us-central1

CPU speed:
    events per second:  3438.95

General statistics:
    total time:                          10.0024s
    total number of events:              34401

Latency (ms):
         min:                                    0.28
         avg:                                    4.63
         max:                                   80.31
         95th percentile:                       59.99
         sum:                               159394.13

Threads fairness:
    events (avg/stddev):           2150.0625/4.94
    execution time (avg/stddev):   9.9621/0.03


These are based on the new 3rd gen AMD Milan platform and cost $32/mo in us-central1

CPU speed:
    events per second:  3672.67

General statistics:
    total time:                          10.0027s
    total number of events:              36738

Latency (ms):
         min:                                    0.27
         avg:                                    4.34
         max:                                  100.28
         95th percentile:                       59.99
         sum:                               159498.26

Threads fairness:
    events (avg/stddev):           2296.1250/3.24
    execution time (avg/stddev):   9.9686/0.02


These are based on the older Intel Skylake platform and cost $25/mo in us-central1

Prime numbers limit: 10000

Initializing worker threads...

Threads started!

CPU speed:
    events per second:   913.60

General statistics:
    total time:                          10.0072s
    total number of events:              9144

Latency (ms):
         min:                                    1.08
         avg:                                   17.45
         max:                                   89.10
         95th percentile:                       61.08
         sum:                               159544.06

Threads fairness:
    events (avg/stddev):           571.5000/1.00
    execution time (avg/stddev):   9.9715/0.03


These are based on 2nd generation AMD EPYC Rome and cost $44/mo in us-central1

CPU speed:
    events per second:  1623.41

General statistics:
    total time:                          10.0046s
    total number of events:              16243

Latency (ms):
         min:                                    0.89
         avg:                                    9.82
         max:                                   97.24
         95th percentile:                       29.19
         sum:                               159485.50

Threads fairness:
    events (avg/stddev):           1015.1875/3.13
    execution time (avg/stddev):   9.9678/0.02


These are based in Intel Cascade Lake and cost $50/mo in us-central1

CPU speed:
    events per second:  1942.56

General statistics:
    total time:                          10.0036s
    total number of events:              19435

Latency (ms):
         min:                                    1.01
         avg:                                    8.21
         max:                                   57.04
         95th percentile:                       29.19
         sum:                               159499.92

Threads fairness:
    events (avg/stddev):           1214.6875/8.62
    execution time (avg/stddev):   9.9687/0.02


These are based on availability and have 1-2 shared CPU cores and cost $25/mo in us-central1

CPU speed:
    events per second:  1620.67

General statistics:
    total time:                          10.0055s
    total number of events:              16217

Latency (ms):
         min:                                    0.85
         avg:                                    9.84
         max:                                   65.18
         95th percentile:                       29.19
         sum:                               159647.07

Threads fairness:
    events (avg/stddev):           1013.5625/3.43
    execution time (avg/stddev):   9.9779/0.02


Amphere’s ARM CPUs offered slightly lower performance against the latest goodies from AMD. It did however beat it in the bang for buck ratio thanks to costing $1 less per month to run.

But, the key take away is both platforms completely blow away the older CPU platforms from Intel. Here’s some nice little charts visualizing the numbers.