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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  • Missing Ghost - Wednesday, November 30, 2005 - link

    Why no EM64T???
    They should add this, or I'll buy Turions.
    Reply
  • fitten - Thursday, December 01, 2005 - link

    Do you really *use* 64-bit software today? or just run it to say you run it? or just dream of running 64-bit software? I think Intel is pretty much right-on with what they said about 64-bit in the mobile market. I don't know of anyone who would really do anything with 64-bit right now other than just "have it". I have it at home because I write software that I test on both 32-bit and 64-bit platforms. Other than that, I have no use for 64-bit software yet. I don't run massive databases, I don't run massive CFS/CFD simulation codes. I don't run GIS software where I worry about having the entire world in memory mapped to the nearest centimeter. 32-bit is still fine. I'd like to have a 64-bit laptop myself, but that's so I could develop/test the software I write and not for much other reason.

    Also, 64-bit is more transistors which means more power draw.
    Reply
  • tfranzese - Thursday, December 01, 2005 - link

    Business users I've seen tend to hold on to laptops for quite some time, and when they are done with them they sometimes end up in another groups hands where they can use it for hosting/serving small applications, and not limited to legacy software/OSs.

    I think it's a big misstep to not engineer 64-bit extensions into Yonah. As I mentioned earlier, almost every processor being sold today is a 64-bit desktop or server CPU. With that kind of penetration, it's only a matter of time (which is fast approaching) when 64-bit Windows development will pick up speed. Vista is getting very close (~1 year) and this chip isn't even released yet.
    Reply
  • Shintai - Thursday, December 01, 2005 - link

    Business also dont tend to upgrade early. The larger the slower basicly.

    So a 32bit desktop and laptop will be fine the next 5 years or more. Alot still uses windows 2000 and havent even moved to XP and 2003 server.

    Just because the ubergeek can get Vista before xmas 2006 doesn´t mean any business will implement it.
    Reply
  • stateofbeasley - Thursday, December 01, 2005 - link

    Again, the problem is the assumption that Vista is x64 only - that is wrong. Vista has concurrent x86 and x64 builds. The assumption is that Microsoft will make all software x64 once Vista is out - that is also a foolish assumption to make, given that MS has said nothing about moving office to x64 only.

    Businesses are also going to be very slow to adopt 64-bit OSes for clients. Where I work we upgraded to Windows XP last month. Our IS department isn't planning to roll out Vista any sooner than 2008 - they want at least one service pack (preferably two) and a few months to validate.

    People at AnandTech tend to view these things from the enthusiast standpoint, which is far different than the business standpoint. What makes sense from the enthusiast standpoint is often idiocy from the perspective of a department responsible for maintaining a corporate infrustructure comprising hundreds or thousands of machines.
    Reply
  • BrownTown - Thursday, December 01, 2005 - link

    32 or 64 bits is just marketing stuff. What matters is performance, if a 32bit processor can put out the same performance as a 64bit one then its just as good in my book. Also, people arent gonna go buy Vista as soon as it comes out, it mostly be sold only in new computers. And by the time it comes out Intel should have Mermon ready which does have the 64bit extensions. Im sure Intel considered this and figured that the added transisters were to much to account for the benefit. Reply
  • Scarceas - Wednesday, November 30, 2005 - link

    I think the mobile market could REALLY benefit from two different cores...

    A low-power core for most of the time, that will extend battery life while providing enough performance for web browsing and word processing... and a higher performing core for when the performance is needed.

    Pipe dream?
    Reply
  • Furen - Thursday, December 01, 2005 - link

    Two different cores on the same package? That's what speedstep is for. If you dont need the power you run at low clock speeds and clock up when you do. This way you dont duplicate logic. Reply
  • miketheidiot - Wednesday, November 30, 2005 - link

    i thinks its interesting that pepole are freaking out here because a top end intel dual core managed to come close to AMD's bottom of the line dual core chip. I think that says alot about intel now days. Reply
  • Hikari - Wednesday, November 30, 2005 - link

    Ahh, yes, a dual core mobile cpu using less power comes out close in speed (faster, the same, and sometimes slower, depending on the test) to a low-end desktop dual-core. ;) Reply

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