AWS launches the first Graviton3 instances

AWS recently announced the general availability of C7g instances, the first EC2 instances running Graviton3 processors. Designed for compute-intensive workloads, they provide always-on memory encryption, dedicated caches for each vCPU, and support for pointer authentication.

Previewed at the last re:Invent, the C7g instances are available in eight sizes, from 1 to 64 configurations supported per vCPU up to 128 GiB of memory, 30 Gbps of network performance, and 20 Gbps of EBS performance. Sebastien Stormacqleading developer advocate at AWS, writing:

Our next generation, Graviton3 processors, deliver up to 25% better performance, up to 2x better floating point performance, and 50% faster memory access based on state-of-the-art DDR5 memory technology compared to CPUs Graviton2.

According to Press releaseC7g instances are designed for workloads such as web servers, load balancers, high performance computing (HPC), gaming, video encoding, scientific modeling, distributed analytics, data inference machine learning and ad serving.

Josh Triplett, Rust Developer and Language Team Lead, tested Graviton3 instances building the Linux kernel and tweet:

These have a substantial performance boost. Build an arm64 5.18 core on 64-CPU instances:
c6g.16xlarge defconfig: 82.246s
c6g.16xlarge allmodconfig: 364.054s
c7g.16xlarge defconfig: 65.442s
c7g.16xlarge allmodconfig: 282.196s
And they also launch a few seconds faster.

New instances are powered by the AWS Nitro System, a combination of dedicated hardware and Nitro hypervisor. The cloud provider claims that “Graviton3 also uses up to 60% less power for the same performance as comparable EC2 instances,” but does not specify how the benchmark was performed and which instances were comparable. Testing FreeBSD, Colin PercivalFounder of Tarsnap, writes:

As far as FreeBSD is concerned, Graviton 3 is mostly just a faster version of Graviton 2 (…) Graviton 3 is a very nice improvement over Graviton 2: with the exception of sha256 — which, at 1.2 GB/s, is probably already more than fast enough – we consistently see between 30% and 45% CPU speedup.

Ian SmithHead of Engineering at Honeycomb.io, adds:

We were able to preview the Graviton3 instances, which offered massive performance improvements for our workload even on Graviton2 (and which leaves 5th and even 6th Gen Intel instances in the dust)

C7g instances are currently only available in the Northern Virginia and Oregon regions, with more regions expected in the future. The new class starts at $0.0363/h on demand for the smallest c7g.medium, a 7% increase over the pricing from the previous generation c6g.medium ($0.034/h).

Margie D. Carlisle