TrueCrypt 7.1 Benchmark

TrueCrypt is a software application used for on-the-fly encryption (OTFE). It is free, open source and offers full AES-NI support. The application also features a built-in encryption benchmark that we can use to measure CPU performance. First we test with the AES algorithm (256-bit key, symmetric).

TrueCrypt AES

Core for Core, clock for clock, the Xeon E5 - which also supports AES-NI - is about 30% faster than the best Opteron (Xeon E5-2660 vs Opteron 6276). At a similar pricepoint (Opteron 6276 vs Xeon E5-2660 6C) however, the Opteron and Xeon E5 perform more or less the same, with a small advantage for the latter.

We also test with the heaviest combination of the cascaded algorithms available: Serpent-Twofish-AES.

TrueCrypt AES-Twofish-Serpent

The combination benchmark is limited by the slowest algorithms: Twofish and Serpent. This one of the few benchmarks where the Opteron 6276 is able to keep up with the Xeon E5.

It is important to realize that these benchmarks are not real-world but rather are synthetic. It would be better to test a website that does some encrypting in the background or a fileserver with encrypted partitions. In that case the encryption software is only a small part of the total code being run. A large performance (dis)advantage might translate into a much smaller performance (dis)advantage in that real-world situation. For example, eight times faster encryption resulted in a website with 23% higher throughput and a 40% faster file encryption (see here).

7-Zip 9.2

7-zip is a file archiver with a high compression ratio. 7-Zip is open source software, with most of the source code available under the GNU LGPL license

7-zip

Compression is more CPU intensive than decompression, meanwhile the latter depends a little more on memory bandwidth. When it comes to load/stores and memory bandwidth, the Xeon E5-2660 is about 13% faster than AMD's flagship. Compression is for a part determined by the quality of the branch predictor. The new and improved Sandy Bridge branch predictor is one of the reasons why a 2.2 GHz 6-core 2660 is able to keep up with a 2.93 GHz (!) Xeon 5670, which is also a six-core processor. The Opterons get blown away in the compression benchmark: each core of Xeon E5 is about twice as efficient in this task. The overall winner is thus once again the Xeon E5.

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  • iwod - Tuesday, March 06, 2012 - link

    And not find a single comment on how and why "making this CPU quite a challenge, even for Intel."

    In my view It seems Intel is now using Server Market and Atom / SoC for their 32nm capacity when ever they introduce a new node in consumer products.
    Reply
  • extide - Tuesday, March 06, 2012 - link

    A large part of Intel's long-term strategies include keeping the fabs occupied.

    Latest gen fabs (currently 22nm) produce bleeding edge cpu's, usually in the consumer space

    One gen back (32nm) produces server/workstation/mobile cpus

    two gens back (45nm) produces other things like chipsets, and possibly itanium chips

    even three gens back (65nm) probably still exists in some places making some chipsets as well.

    Their goal is to as much use as possible from their investment into building the fabs themselves.
    Reply
  • Kevin G - Tuesday, March 06, 2012 - link

    65 nm is still used for Itanium, though the Poulson chip is due sometime this year made on a 32 nm process. If you want to compare die sizes, the 65 nm Tukwila design is 699 mm^2 in size.

    The main reason why 32 nm Sandybridge-E has been released so close to the release of 22 nm Ivy Bridge chips is that the initial Ivy Bridge chips are consumer centric. Intel performs additional testing on its server centric designs. This is particularly true as Sandybridge-E is not just replacing the dual socket Westmere-EP chips but some of the quad socket Westmere-EX market. RAS demands jump from going from dual to quad socket and that is reflected in additional testing. Implementing PCI-E 3.0 and QPI 1.1 also contributed to the time for additional testing.

    Though you are correct that Intel does uses its older process nodes for various chipsets and IO chips. However, as Intel is marching toward SoC designs, the actual utility of keeping these older process nodes in action is decreasing.
    Reply
  • meloz - Tuesday, March 06, 2012 - link

    >And not find a single comment on how and why "making this CPU quite a challenge, even for Intel."

    Because it is such a massive die? 416 mm²? Large dies usually have a lower yield, and Intel's 32 nm process is still cutting edge (if only for a few more weeks, heh).

    Look at how TSMC, Global Flounderings et al are struggling. An impressive achievement by Intel.
    Reply
  • MrSpadge - Tuesday, March 06, 2012 - link

    A significant amount of functionality has been added to the SB cores, and Intel can't afford mistakes in such CPUs. Reply
  • BSMonitor - Tuesday, March 06, 2012 - link

    More than that though, the SNB-E, Xeon E cores are not duplicates of the SNB desktop cores.

    Look at Anand's die shot of SNB-E, vs die shot of SNB. The CPU cores, L3 cache, controllers, are arranged completely different. Which makes sense as SNB-E doesn't have to deal with 40% of the die being GPU transistors. So, what we have now with Intel is two completely different dies between Xeon/SNB-E and Core. The individual CPU cores are the same, but the rest of the die is completely different.

    SNB-E:
    http://www.anandtech.com/show/5091/intel-core-i7-3...

    SNB:
    http://www.anandtech.com/show/4083/the-sandy-bridg...
    Reply
  • cynic783 - Tuesday, March 06, 2012 - link

    omg these benches are so biased it's not even funny. everyone knows amd offers clock-for-clock more punch than intel and lower power as well Reply
  • MrSpadge - Tuesday, March 06, 2012 - link

    Put some sarcasm tags in there to save some people from getting confused... Reply
  • cynic783 - Tuesday, March 06, 2012 - link

    definitely sarcastic. i was actually surprised not to see any fanbois so I thought I'd pretend Reply
  • badjohny - Tuesday, March 06, 2012 - link

    I have no doubt these chips or something similar will end up in the new mac pros. Who are in a very bad need of a refresh. Reply

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