As one may expect, just months after AMD officially launched its fourth generation “Genoa” EPYC processor family based on the Zen 4 microarchitecture, second hand marketplaces like eBay and Aliexpress have been flooded with third generation “Milan” EPYC processors, many of which are 64-cores/128-threads and launched in 2021: these are the 7773X, the 7763, the 7713P and the 7713.
Prices have fallen down significantly since Genoa-based EPYC CPUs have been widely available in the market with 64-core CPU routinely available for around $2,000.
In comparison, a preowned AMD Ryzen Threadripper PRO 3995WX (also 64-core/128-threads) will sell for around $6,000; these are popular in workstation PCs whereas EPYC is primarily geared towards servers.
AMD going big in China?
There are currently more than 100 listings for 64-core 3rd gen EPYC processors on eBay with most vendors shipping from China with free international shipping and often, more than 10 units per sale. There are also dozens of other listings for the older, 2nd generation “Rome” EPYC CPU that came out in 2019 and also sport 64-cores.
Same story on Aliexpress where there are hundreds of 3rd generation EPYC processors on sale, with a few vendors offering at least 100 pieces. Now exports of certain US computing components, related to AI training, to China are not allowed. At the time of writing, that includes only some of the more powerful Data Center GPU (AMD MI200, Nvidia A100, Nvidia H100) and doesn’t extend to AMD EPYC or Intel XEON processors for now.
It is likely that Chinese hyperscalers have started to receive large amounts of the latest EPYC processors and are fast-tracking server refreshes ahead of any abrupt decision by the US administration to ban sales of high performance CPU. This means ripping and replacing existing components as Genoa supports PCIe 5.0 and DDR5.
Super computing power on the cheap
Right now is the best time to grab those 64-core chips to build yourself a powerful workstation. Get two 7003 processors for a total of 256 threads and 128 cores, plug them into a compatible motherboard (e.g. the Supermicro H12DSi-NT6 or the ROME2D16-2L+), add in up to 4TB of ECC DDR4 memory and various bits and bobs (GPU, SSD, riser cards, PSU etc) depending on what your use case.
Going the DIY route is likely to save you a significant amount of money. Server specialist Broadberry sells a high performance workstation, the CyberStation Performance, with two 64-core CPU (EPYC 7713), 16GB RAM and no hard drive for just over $20,000 excluding sales tax.
EPYC processors, by and large, are still very, very capable parts especially for number crunching, data intensive tasks. The 7773X is ranked third in PassMark’s popular CPU mark benchmark, only behind the current world’s fastest CPU, the EPYC 9654, and the Ryzen ThreadRipperPro 5995WX.