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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  • 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
  • Shuxclams - Tuesday, March 06, 2012 - link

    Looking at a complete visualization transformation in our server room, looks like the decision was made for us as far as architecture. Wow.... Reply
  • TeXWiller - Tuesday, March 06, 2012 - link

    <quote>The new Xeon also supports faster DDR-3 1600. Contrary to the Interlagos Opteron which can only support this memory speed with one DIMM per channel</quote>Interlagos supports memory up to DDR3-1600 using two single rank memory modules, or one single rank and one double rank module if using registered memory, and two single rank modules if using unbuffered memory. DDR3-1866 is supported on a single load-reduced registered, or on a single unbuffered module per channel. It depends on the board manufacturer and more importantly, it can be all read on the manual, so to speak. Reply
  • davegraham - Tuesday, March 06, 2012 - link

    AMD Interlagos can support more than 1 DDR3-1600 ECC/REG dimm per channel. I run 8 on a single socket 6276 and it works at the rated speed. Reply
  • TeXWiller - Wednesday, March 07, 2012 - link

    Too bad these kinds of errors in the articles are not usually fixed. Reply
  • JohanAnandtech - Wednesday, March 07, 2012 - link

    I will double check . Reply
  • meloz - Tuesday, March 06, 2012 - link

    Just wanted to congratulate Johan on a job well done. Very thorough analysis, Intel have achieved a very dominant position with this new platform and this is reflected in pricing of their processors as well!

    AMD was already a sub 10% niche (with a market share to mirror) in the data center, now even that niche has evaporated.

    New Opterons (based on Piledriver) might decrease the performance gap to Intel under certain benchmarks, but I doubt they will beat Intel. Intel has plenty of SKUs above the quickest AMD Opterons to adjust prices and kill any new challenge from AMD, instantly.
    Reply
  • JohanAnandtech - Wednesday, March 07, 2012 - link

    Thanks! Although I hope Intel gets a bit more competition though. Reply

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