Fastest Intel Processors

Richard Walsh rbw at
Mon Jan 14 08:18:11 PST 2002

astroguy wrote:

>I really think this Ghz. gbesh oobly-gook is way over rated.  I think, if you
>look more closley at the problem, the key to superior proformance is in the
>found in the actual construction or architecture of the processor.  The
>Itanium, for example only runs at 733 Mghz but it has (on die)   2meg of
>cashe on the L-2... The Alpha, in its previous incarnation ran at only 233
>but did 64 bit processing... Quite amazing actually.  A friend wrote me

All singular measures of performance are over rated (does this need to be
explicitly stated). Benchmarking your codes with a good compiler on the systems
being considered is the optimal approach, but is often out of reach. SPEC2000FP 
(perhaps combined with STREAM) is a nice substitute. Here are the top ten micro-
processors on SPEC2000FP as of a few weeks ago (32 and 64 bit). Notice the weak 
correlation with clock.  Local memory (cache) structure, size, and latency matter,
superscalability of the core matters (multiple funits), instruction type matters, 
(vector and pseudo-vector SSE), and processor-mother board bandwidth matters. 

Note the P4 2 GHz outperforms the Itanium. Touting the Alpha could be a mistake.
Will we ever see the 21364 in a product? I am still waiting. IBM leaped to the
top of the list with its 1.3 GHz dual-core Power4 in October (a cool chip). Not 
sure of the relavence of RedHat on an aging Alpha 21264. The Sparc III number 
seems to be due to the anomolous high performance of the processor on a single 
case in the 12(?) SPEC2000FP benchmarks pushing the average way up.  Where is 
SGI in this race ... mmmm?

System          Processor       Clock (MHz)     SPEC Peak/Base
------          ---------       -----           --------------
IBM 690          Power4         1300              1169/1098
Alpha ES45       21264C         1000               960/776
Sun 2050         UltraIII       1050               827/701
Alpha ES40       21264B          833               777/621
Alpha GS80       21264C         1001               756/585
Alpha GS160      21264C         1001               756/585
Dell 530         Pentium 4      2000               734/716
Dell 340         Pentium 4      2000               734/716
Intel 850        Pentium 4      2000               714/704
HP RX461         Itanium         800               701/701
-------         ---------       ----            --------------
AMD 1900         Pentium 4      1600               634/588
SGI 3200         R14             500               463/436
------          ---------       -----           --------------

Pentium 4 using SSE2 (need the right compiler), with its fast clock (delivered
by small segments in the FPU pipleline), and nice bandwidth make it an excellent 
performer for the price. For those with no budget constraints go for the IBM. Is 
it only available on IBM custom MCMs or are there alternatives?

A great horse race really ... can you get odds in Las Vegas ... what microprocessor
currency will be the most valuable in six months. Any one selling microprocessor
futures, options, exotics ... En-ripp-off was contemplating it, but they choked
on there own hype ...


# Richard Walsh
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