Yonah vs. Dothan

We didn’t have much time to put together this piece, but at the same time we wanted to present the most complete picture of Yonah as possible, so we went back to our last Pentium M on the desktop article and configured our Yonah system identically so we’d have as close to an apples-to-apples comparison as possible.  Of course it is impossible to use the same motherboard, due to the socket differences we’ve already mentioned, but the rest of the systems are configured identically.  We apologize in advance for the brevity of the benchmark suite, in due time we will present an even more thorough look at Yonah, but for now we are working with what we’ve got.  Also keep in mind that the platform and processor are both pre-release samples, so performance could change, most likely for the better.

With that said, we've got a question and that is: how does Yonah stack up to Dothan?

Unfortunately, our Yonah only runs at 2.0GHz, and our reference Dothan numbers are from a 2.13GHz CPU - so we don’t get the clock for clock comparison we were hoping for, making it even more difficult for Yonah to impress.  Thankfully our first benchmark is clock speed independent as we look at how cache latencies have changed from Dothan to Yonah using ScienceMark 2.0:

   L1 Cache Latency    L2 Cache Latency  
Dothan 3 cycles 10 cycles
Yonah 3 cycles 14 cycles

 

And changed they have indeed.  If you’ll remember from our earlier desktop Pentium M investigations, Dothan’s very quick 10 cycle L2 cache allowed it to be competitive with AMD’s Athlon 64, despite lacking an on-die memory controller.  With the move to Yonah however, the L2 cache latency has gone up a whopping 40%.  While we’re still dealing with a lower access latency than the Pentium 4, this increase will hurt Yonah. 

We’re guessing that the increase in access latency is due to the new dynamically resizable L2 cache that’s used in Yonah.  In order to save power as well as maximize the use of the shared L2 cache between cores, Yonah can dynamically adjust the size of its L2 cache, flushing data to main memory when faced with low demand.  The associated logic is most likely at least partially to blame for the increase in L2 cache latency. 

So Yonah has a slower L2 cache working against it, but two cores and a handful of architectural enhancements working in its favor - let’s see how they stack up in the real world.

First up, we’ve got our business application tests:

   Business Winstone 2004  Communication (SYSMark 2004)  Document Creation (SYSMark 2004)  Data Analysis (SYSMark 2004)
Dothan (2.13GHz) 24.3 129 202 118
Yonah (2.0GHz) 21.6 146 215 138

 

Dothan has a sizeable lead in Business Winstone 2004, which we’ve always attributed to its low latency L2 cache.  Since the benchmark gets no benefits from dual core, and doesn’t take advantage of any of the SSE improvements to Yonah, the advantage is clearly in Dothan’s court. 

The SYSMark tests paint a different picture, with Yonah outpacing the faster clocked Dothan by 6 - 17%.  What’s interesting to note is that in these tests, the performance advantage isn’t exclusively attributable to the advantage of having two cores - Yonah’s architectural advancements are at work here as well. 

The digital content creation tests are where Yonah’s improvements should shine:

   Multimedia Content Creation Winstone 2004  3D Content Creation (SYSMark 2004)  2D Content Creation (SYSMark 2004)  Web Publication (SYSMark 2004)
Dothan (2.13GHz) 29.8 188 255 169
Yonah (2.0GHz) 34.7 264 323 236

 

And shine they do; thanks to a combination of the move to dual core as well as the architectural improvements over Dothan, Yonah shows anywhere between a 16 - 40% increase in performance. 

   DivX   Doom 3  
Dothan 39.7 fps 95.5 fps
Yonah 57.5 fps 93.8 fps

 

The DivX test shows what we’ve pretty much seen across the board from dual core scaling in video encoding, so there’s no surprise there.  Our only gaming benchmark, Doom 3, shows a hazier picture with Dothan on top, and Yonah close behind.  We will investigate gaming performance of Yonah much closer later on.  

What we can walk away from these benchmarks with is an idea of the level of improvement to expect from Yonah, but now comes the real test - how does it stack up against other desktop processors, especially the Athlon 64 X2. 

Same Size, but Twice the Cores Business Application Performance
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  • fitten - Wednesday, November 30, 2005 - link

    I've wanted an AMD 64-bit laptop for a while so that was a good read and made me feel a bit better about Turions.

    One other interesting thing about Yonah is the power management capabilities. I'd be interested to see the upcoming dual core Turion specs there. For instance, the Yonah, when in battery conservation mode, can turn off a complete core and parts of the L2 cache. I can't imagine the dual core Turion not having similar things, though, it would really give Intel the edge.
    Reply
  • tayhimself - Wednesday, November 30, 2005 - link

    UGH! I meant dual core Turion laptops in the last line Reply
  • bhtooefr - Wednesday, November 30, 2005 - link

    Umm...

    Note that it said "Total System Power Consumption" in the graphs...
    Reply
  • Viditor - Wednesday, November 30, 2005 - link

    Yup...my bad. (sorry for that Anand...)
    I really would like to get more info on the tests though. I understand that they have to keep the origins of the mobo quiet, but without the details it makes it very difficult to gauge exactly what and how the tests were conducted...

    I would also LOVE an "edit" function on these things...:)
    Reply
  • Calin - Friday, December 02, 2005 - link

    How about the overclocking experience? Reply

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