Amazon EC2 PassMark per ECU

Ever wondered what an Amazon ECU is worth in terms of a PassMark-CPU Mark value? (see for PassMark scores). One way to calculate the PassMark per ECU value comes directly from Amazon’s information where they describe the hardware behind some of their instance types. Two examples are (1) cr1.8xlarge listed as “2 x Intel Xeon E5-2670 processors” as “88 ECUs” and (2) cg1.4xlarge listed as “2 x Intel Xeon X5570” as “33.5 ECUs”.

Note: There is a separate multi-CPU PassMark page. It seems it is fair to use both the multi-CPU rating and to just times-by-two the single-CPU, so I’ll show both.

We can now compute PassMark per ECU value:

  cr1.8xlarge cr1.8xlarge cg1.4xlarge cg1.4xlarge
PassMark 2×13,312
19,194 2×5,027
ECU 88 88 33.5 33.5
PassMark/ECU 302.5 218.1 300.1 292.0

This means an ECU is roughly equivalent to a 300 PassMark score.

Other pages have reported similar numbers: 400 and 384 and 400 and 400. [It is hard to tell how many of those “400”s are just copies from a single source.]

Amazon m1.large = welcome to 2009

This topic became interesting when trying to troubleshoot performance “problems” of various EC2 m1.large instances. Knowing that an m1.large has 4 ECUs, and an ECU is worth 400 PassMarks [I’ll be generous], that gives a PassMark equivalent of 1,600. Looking at, I (somewhat arbitrarily) picked the Intel Core2 Duo P8700@2.53GHz with a PassMark score of 1,674, and cross-referenced that CPU on core2 microprocessors to arrive at a December 2008 date.

So: if you are noticing performance problems with your Amazon EC2 m1.large, it is because you are using a device with the equivalent power of a computer from 2009. Your m1.large has an generous amount of RAM (8GB), but its processing power is terrible.

Miscellaneous reference: nice ec2 instance comparison page.

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