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  • SatishJ - Monday, March 04, 2013 - link

    It would be only fair to compare X5690 with E5-2667. I suspect in this case the performance difference would not be earth-shattering. No doubt E5-2690 excels but then it has advantage of more cores / threads. Reply
  • wiyosaya - Monday, March 04, 2013 - link

    There is a possible path forward for those dealing with "old" FORTRAN code. CUDA FORTRAN - http://www.pgroup.com/resources/cudafortran.htm

    I would expect that there would be some conversion issues, however, I would also expect that they would be lesser than converting to C++ or some other CUDA/openCL compliant language.

    As much as some of us might like it to be, FORTRAN is not dead, yet!
    Reply
  • mayankleoboy1 - Monday, March 04, 2013 - link

    1. Why not use 7Zip for the compression benchmark ? Most HPC people would like to use a FREE, Highly threaded software for their work.

    2.Using 3770K @ 5.4 Ghz as a comparison point is foolish. Any Ivy bride processor above ~4.6 on air is unrealistic. And for HPC, no body will use a overclocked system.
    Reply
  • Senti - Monday, March 04, 2013 - link

    WinRar is interesting because it's very sensitive to memory subsystem (7zip is less so), but 3.93 is absolutely useless as it utilizes about half of my cpu time and the end result it turns into powersaving impact benchmark before anything else. AT promised to upgrade sometime this year, but before it we'll continue to have one less useful benchmark.

    Not overclocking your cpu when you have good cooling is plain waste of resources. Of course I mean not extreme overclocks, but permanent maximum "turbo" frequency should be your minimum goal.
    Reply
  • SetiroN - Monday, March 04, 2013 - link

    Sorry but...

    -So what?
    Being "sensitive to memory" doesn't make a worse benchmark better, or free;

    -So what?
    Nobody will ever have good enough cooling to be able to compute daily at 5.4, which is FAR above max turbo anyway. Overclocked results are welcome, provided that I don't need an additional $500 phase change cooler and $100+ in monthly bills.
    Reply
  • tynopik - Monday, March 04, 2013 - link

    > Being "sensitive to memory" doesn't make a worse benchmark better, or free;

    It makes it better if your software is also sensitive to memory speed

    different benchmarks that measure different aspects of performance are a GOOD thing
    Reply
  • Death666Angel - Monday, March 04, 2013 - link

    The OC CPU I see as a data point for his statement that some workloads don't require multi socket CPU systems but rather a single high IPC CPU. It may or may not be unrealistic for the target demographic, but it does add a data point for or against such a thing. Reply
  • IanCutress - Tuesday, March 05, 2013 - link

    1. WinZip 3.93 has been part of my benchmark suite for the past 18 months (so lots of comparison numbers can be scrutinized), and is the one I personally use :) We should be updating to 4.2 for Haswell, though going back and testing the last few years of chipsets and various processors takes some time.

    2. My inhouse retail CPU does 4.9 GHz on air, easy :) But most of the OC numbers are courtesy of several HWBot overclockers at Overclock.net who volunteered to help as part of the testing. For them the bigger score the better, hence the overclocks on something other than ambient.

    Ian
    Reply
  • mayankleoboy1 - Monday, March 04, 2013 - link

    How many real world workloads are using hand-coded AVX software ?
    How many use compiler optimized AVX software ?
    What is the perf difference between them?

    Not directly related to this article, but how many softwares have the AMD Bulldozer/piledriver optimised FMA and BMI extensions ?
    Reply
  • Kevin G - Monday, March 04, 2013 - link

    What is going on with the Explicit Finite Difference tests? The thing that stood out to me are the two results for the i7 3770K at 4.5 Ghz with memory speed being the differentiating factor. Going from 2000 Mhz to 2600 Mhz effective speed on the memory increased performance by ~13% in the 2D tests and ~6% in the 3D tests. Another thing worth pointing out is that the divider in Ivy Bridge has higher throughput than Sandy Bridge. This would account for some of the exceedingly high performance of the desktop Ivy Bridge systems if the algorithms make heavy use of division. The dual socket systems likely need some tuning with regards to their memory systems. The results of the dual socket systems are embarrassing in comparison to their 'lesser' single socket brethen.

    The implicit 2D test is similarly odd. The odd ball result is the Core i7 3820@4.2 Ghz against the Ivy bridge based Core i7 3770k@stock (3.5 Ghz). Despite the higher clock speed and extra memory channel, the consumer Sandy Bridge-E system loses! This is with the same number of cores and threads running. Just how much division are these algorithms using? That is the only thing that I can fathom to explain these differences. Multi-socket configurations are similarly nerfed with the implicit 2D test as they are with the explicit 2D test.

    Did the Browian Motion simulations take advantage of Ivy Bridge's hardware random number generator? Looking at the results, signs are pointing toward 'no'.

    I'm a bit nitpicky about the usage of the word 'element' describing the n-Body simulation with regards to gravity. The usage of element and particle are not technically incorrect but lead the reader to think that these simulations are done with data regarding the microscopic scales, not stellar.

    The Xilisoft Video Converter test results seem to be erroneous. More than doubling the speed by enabling Hyperthreading? How is that even possible? Best case for Hypthereading is that half of the CPU execution resources are free so that another thread can utilize them and get double the throughput. HT rarely gets near twice as fast but these results imply five times faster which is outside the realm of possibility with everything else being equal. Scaling between the Core i7-3960k and the dual E5-2690 HT Off result looks off given how the results between other platforms look too.
    Reply
  • jamyryals - Monday, March 04, 2013 - link

    Element is an acceptable term in this case. Anyone confusing a finite element with a chemical element would do well to read up on these types of mathematical models anyways.

    Your other points are well made, and highlight the difficulty in creating meaningful benchmarks.
    Reply
  • Kevin G - Monday, March 04, 2013 - link

    I agree that the usage of the word element is technically correct. The thing that threw me off more was its usage in conjunction with particle. When I read that paragraph I had to do a double take to get the proper context. My issue here is just a small editorial quibble than a technical issue. :) Reply
  • IanCutress - Tuesday, March 05, 2013 - link

    A majority of the results in the graphs (essentially all the overclocked ones) were on systems out of my control - several users from the Overclock.net HWBot team helped on that one and offered me insight into their setups. Unfortunately I do not have access to a vast array of sockets and systems for comparison.

    The implicit calculations have a fair few division elements per loop, as noted in the previous article where I posted the code (http://www.anandtech.com/show/6533/8) - for each timestep there are >2 divisions per node calculation. Technically the non-CS scientist might not know what is inside the silicon regarding Ivy's better divisor .

    Don't forget the whole point of a review of something like this was to look at the scenario I was in. We went and ordered dual Nehalem systems (E5520s) just because of all the threads. Looking back on it now, I wish we had stuck to single processor systems based on the code we were writing.

    Regarding the built-in Ivy PRNG, as noted in the previous review, the code wasn't hand written for each processor. It was written once and applied over. We didn't get extra time or money to find the best way to simulate something, we just had to simulate.

    Regarding element and particle, I almost use them synonymously in the text. I like to use 'element' to describe the motion of one point in the simulation, but my Chemistry supervisor thought I was being an idiot when we were dealing with chemicals, despite my pleas that element was a CS term. He preferred the term particle as a mid-way point between the two (and also not to confuse the chemistry people reading our papers) and mentally I have equated the two, which is not always the best thing.

    For XVC, I'm not sure why there is such a difference. With HT On, we have 24 threads to do 33 videos, which is one batch of 24 then another of 9 (put your turbos in where appropriate). Without HT, we're slightly faster per core (if we're lucky, or 0 if not), but we have batches of 12, 12 and then 9. Again, apply turbos where appropriate. That's just the program runs - it decides if it wants to commit one thread per video, or multiple threads per video. If it is coding more videos than half the available threads, it does one thread per video - if there is enough threads that each video can get two, it applies two. So the set of 9 videos when HT is on probably gets two threads per video, rather than one thread per video for the 9 videos when HT is off.

    Ian
    Reply
  • Kevin G - Tuesday, March 05, 2013 - link

    The thing with Ivy Bridge's improved division unit is that it can explain some of the speed up. Glancing at the code, those operations don't seem to be that common that it'd make such a noticeable impact. (The real test would be to compile, disassemble and then count the number of division instructions.) The other thing about Ivy Bridge's divisor is that its performance gains are 'free' in the sense that it doesn't require rewriting or recompiling code to take advantage of. It is an architectural tweak that benefits existing code.

    Upon release, Nehalem was a very good platform and still respectable today. I think the issue is that consumer systems have been catching up. Looking at the charts the only consumer system that's a roughly the same age as the E5520's was an overclocked Phenom II X4's and the dual socket Xeon showed an advantage there. The problem I'm seeing is that the code isn't scaling across multiple sockets and memory controllers very well. Solving that would put performance closer to expectations. If possible, I would suggest enabling memory mirroring across sockets to see if that solves some of the scaling issues. The code wouldn't have to be written to be NUMA aware but usable memory in the system is halved.

    If the NUMA problem is not practical to solve, then going single socket makes sense. Howevever, I would expand the discussion into include RAS. I would not recommend a single highly overclocked system to run scientific simulations as the reliability simply isn't there. One way around that is to get two similarly configured systems and run the simulation twice and compare the results for redunancy. With some of these heavily overclocked systems costing less than half the dual Xeon's price tag and running the code twice as fast, it is worth considering such a mirrored configuration. Other options to consider would be a single 8 core Xeon on socket 2011 or some of the quad core Xeon on socket 1155 and gain ECC memory support to forgo the second system.

    The XVC results can see some improvements in queuing but those benefits should be able to carry over to the non-HT results with a software tweak. (Most software like that can accept such tuning parameters but I'm personally unfamiliar with XVC.) The results are falling outside the realm of reason. It is like say cooling a gas until you realize you're at -20 kelvin. At that point you have to realize something is erroneous. At best HT can double performance and the results are roughly five times faster. Turbo is a factor but that would benefit the non-HT results more as utilization is lower (ie. fewer transistors switching, less heat, more turbo boost).
    Reply
  • toyotabedzrock - Monday, March 04, 2013 - link

    I looks like Intel forgot about HT on sandy bridge. Reply
  • IanCutress - Tuesday, March 05, 2013 - link

    i5-2500K is a 4C/4T processor.

    Ian
    Reply
  • TeXWiller - Monday, March 04, 2013 - link

    Ian, have you tried playing with the numa options of the boards? Reply
  • IanCutress - Tuesday, March 05, 2013 - link

    NUMA was enabled in the BIOS, I made sure before I tested :) I also looked at various ways to keep the top turbo in force through all loading, but the limited BIOS options relating to clock speed on server boards are not up to scratch compared to consumer products (as you would expect).

    Ian
    Reply
  • TeXWiller - Tuesday, March 05, 2013 - link

    I was thinking about the improved bandwith between the processors in E5 family. Some aplications might prefer node interleaved memory instead. Reply
  • alpha754293 - Monday, March 04, 2013 - link

    re: OpenMP vs. MPI
    Multithreaded codes using OpenMP is known to be quite a lot slower than a proper, MPI code. In the testing that I've done, the difference can be as much as 40% because the OpenMP code just simply cannot keep the CPU/FPU units occupied long enough. I've never really dug in deep as to WHY that is (I'm sooo NOT a programmer), but as an end user; that a HUGE difference.

    Secondly, also depending on how you write your MPI code - some of them can be VERY efficient at using multicore/multiprocessors. It depends on the code, the nature and physics of the problem, and a whole bunch of other things. (LS-DYNA for example scales VERY well to the number of processors and/or cores. And my research is showing about an 11-17% benefit with HTT enabled on a 3930K (I don't have 8-core Xeons to play with). :(

    Conversely, I've also seen some MPI codes that don't really quite parallelize nearly quite as well. It SAYS that it's MPI, but it looks more like an OpenMP implementation for the parallelization.

    Part of it also depends on how much data dependency there is - does the information of one depend on the results or the information/data of another (either on spatial or temporal terms)?

    Third - I've had many arguments about this. A single socket, multi-core processor is still a parallel multicore system. Yes, you don't have to deal with NUMA, but unless you have a LOT of traffic going through between your two sockets (something which NO ONE has been able to tell me how to measure so far) - chances are, both either OpenMP OR MPI can scale to single multi-core processor, or multiple multi-core processors. It shouldn't really care (unless you've hard-coded the domain decomposition and the number of "partitions" or "divisions" it makes for the parallelization.)

    I think that the statement/comment that you wrote about how some of the benchmarks or some types of simulations/processes favour a single-CPU setup isn't QUITE exactly accurate only because your single-socket, multi-core CPUs were quite highly overclocked. (I've got my 3930K up to 4.5 GHz, and I just re-enabled C1E/EIST in order to cut my idle power consumption).

    [brb...to be continued]
    Reply
  • alpha754293 - Tuesday, March 05, 2013 - link

    Sorry, I'm back. Where was I? oh yes...

    Unless that you were purely running single-threaded, single process jobs (or maybe even lightly multithreaded, single process jobs) - I would think that to say that it is favouring a single-CPU system might be a little bit misleading.

    Even with single-socket systems, if it's got multiple cores, then you can parallelize amongst those as well.

    Some commercial programs too favour 2^n cores as well, which would make quite a difference between having 8- or 16-cores vs. 6 or 12 (because some programs won't even run properly if it isn't 2^n).

    Also it was interesting to see that you didn't run the implicit 3D grid solver benchmark.

    Actually, MPI might not has as much to do with memory than you might think. Considering that the world's top supercomputers haven't maxed out the memory capacity per socket, I doubt that. It IS, however, much better at the actual parallelization of the task than OpenMP.

    "‘Is moving from Westmere-EP to Sandy Bridge-EP a reasonable upgrade’, in the majority of our scenarios it probably is not"

    It really depends. If you're writing your own code (which is what you're doing), and you have a lot of control over it, then that MIGHT be a true statement. (And it also depends on the state of your code too. If you're almost always in a permanent alpha phase (because you keep adding new capability and modules to it), then chances are, you might not even get around to parallelizing it (because you want to make sure that the base solver is robust first before you add the additional complexity of parallelization on top of that).

    But if, say, suppose that you're doing research on crash and crash safety; and you're using a commercial code - some of those would just favour more cores period (see Johan's latest benchmark on the Opteron for details).

    And as to whether or not you can run it on a GPU; the problem with that is that you have to make sure that every system in your working/research group has the same capable GPU hardware; otherwise, those that don't can't even run it, and those that have lesser-capable GPUs - might not get the benefits of using a GPU as much as you think, if at all.

    (My GTX 660 OC's double precision performance is actually slightly SLOWER than the double precision performance of my 3930K OC'd to 4.5 GHz.)
    Reply
  • alpha754293 - Tuesday, March 05, 2013 - link

    Also, as far as I know/can remember - not everything can make use of AVX - both in terms of programs and also in terms of fundamental math operations.

    And I would suspect that you might also have slight performance variations if you were to recompile on the Sandy Bridge vs. on the Westmere-EP platforms (rather than sharing the binaries between the two - unless you purposely don't make it target specific).
    Reply
  • wingless - Monday, March 04, 2013 - link

    Somebody on my folding team is building this setup with dual Titans as a folding/gaming rig. The ultimate in computation, gaming, and space heating! Reply
  • yougotkicked - Monday, March 04, 2013 - link

    I just wanted to say I found this analysis rather interesting. I'm a undergrad CS major, but I work in the IT office for the chemical engineering and material science dept. at a research university, so this breakdown of the relationship between simulations and hardware was really fascinating for me.

    Just to give some perspective on the pricing of an OEM-built system using E5-26XX parts, one of the research groups I work with recently bought a dual E5-2687W system from HP with 128 gigs of ram, liquid cooling, and a mid-range workstation GPU; The whole system came in at over $10,000. admittedly this includes a ~$1000 monitor and 4 hard drives, but this is probably at least a 30% margin over the cost of hardware, so the 10% margin used in the article may be on the conservative side.

    P.S. we didn't suggest that system to the researchers, they bought it on their own.
    Reply
  • colonelpepper - Monday, March 04, 2013 - link

    HP & Dell systems are much more expensive than the same system built by a "system integrator" <-- I believe that's what they're called

    I've read in other forums that system integrators building you a custom system add about 10% to the price tag.
    Reply
  • yougotkicked - Monday, March 04, 2013 - link

    That sounds reasonable, my only gripe would be that many researchers would not seek out a system integrator and just turn to a big name like HP. Had they sought the advice of the IT office I would have suggested we build it in-house for no markup at all. Reply
  • Kevin G - Monday, March 04, 2013 - link

    Dell and HP's workstation lines carry a much higher premium than what you'd get DIY. The difference is in their warranties. Since dual socket workstations are effectively using low end servers in a tower chassis and they'll offer warranties very similar to what you can get for a 24/7/365 running server. While I'm not a big fan of Dell's hardware, I will say that they do follow through on their warranties. I've seen them get a replacement hard drive to my facility in under 4 hours as that is the level of support I was paying for. It wasn't cheap but it was worth it considering the business need.

    With the scientific slant, such warranties may turn out to be overkill as is going with OEM's. You'd still want to have the necessary data protections in place like ECC memory, redundant storage and a good backup policy while the simulation is running. However, what is the worst case that could happen when something does go wrong with the basic protections in place? Generally it is simply running the simulation again. Time is money and there are often some deadlines to meet. So if the simulation can't realistically be run again or it'd cost to much to run again, then going with an OEM that'll help achieve greater uptime is worth it.

    As for the price of some of these components individually, I'm about to drop ~$1000 USD on a 128 GB memory upgrade. OEM's like Dell and HP get such parts far cheaper than DIY users due to bulk purchasing power. It is far higher than 10% margin for them in terms of raw hardware costs.
    Reply
  • IanCutress - Tuesday, March 05, 2013 - link

    The dual E5520 systems from Dell (with 4GB RAM because research department limited us to XP 32-bit) I used for research, with basic storage and a monitor each, ran up to £2k per order back in 2009. After a month of waiting to be delivered (after tons of initial hassle with the department IT guy), it turns out the systems arrived shortly after ordering and our IT guy had decided to hide them in a different building on campus and 'forgot to tell us'. The monitors were in a building the other side of campus. Fun fun fun! Needless to say, we were all rather annoyed. But looking back, I should have just asked for a single powerful Xeon workstation. Reply
  • yougotkicked - Tuesday, March 05, 2013 - link

    Yikes, sounds like your IT guy needs to get his act together. We'd never get away with that kind of stuff here.

    My university has a few super-computing clusters available for researchers running truly large simulations, but because of that many groups choose not to buy systems powerful enough to run their mid-sized simulations and the clusters are usually booked a while in advance. The HP system was purchased primarily because the group was sick of waiting for their simulations to get a turn on the supercomputers.

    If only there were a folding@home style client that researchers could easily program for, we could turn our computer labs into compute clusters at night.
    Reply
  • colonelpepper - Monday, March 04, 2013 - link

    This would be a very poor time to spend thousands of dollars on a high-end 2600 CPUs!

    The Xeon 2600 series is getting a refresh soon, better to wait and get more CPU for your buck... unless you're dying to spend big $$ now that is:

    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-zhrS1C8wbk0/UHj_HxsrMTI/...

    that link is to the largest image I could find of Intel's Xeon Roadmap that was leaked late last year
    Reply
  • Kevin G - Monday, March 04, 2013 - link

    Ivy Bridge-E is a drop in replacement so that investment into RAM, storage, motherboard, chassis would be identical to today. The transition between Sandy Bridge-E and Ivy Bridge-E will mirror the transition between Nehalem and Westmere: socket compatible drop-in replacements in most cases. Reply
  • colonelpepper - Monday, March 04, 2013 - link

    yeah, what i was thinking might be a decent route to take is to build out a workstation with 2 of the lower end more moderately priced Xeon 2600's... save the big $$ for the new chips. Reply
  • Shadowmage - Monday, March 04, 2013 - link

    Your current suite of benchmarks is extremely limited for you to be able to call this a review for "scientists". For example, I'm interested in how these processors perform in Xilinx XST/MAP/PAR and simulation (e.g. Gem5) benchmarks. Reply
  • IanCutress - Tuesday, March 05, 2013 - link

    Of course - any review aimed at scientists is going to be extremely limited. Forgive me when I can only represent where I have come from - I haven't done research in every field.

    Ian
    Reply
  • Simen1 - Tuesday, March 05, 2013 - link

    Wouldnt it be fair to compare the Dual Xeon systems to a similar priced dual Opteron system? Reply
  • Simen1 - Tuesday, March 05, 2013 - link

    And the mentioning of the 3 year old Opteron 6100 and 1,5 year old 6100 on the first page is irellevant now in 2013. Todays models are in the 6300 series. Reply
  • IanCutress - Thursday, March 07, 2013 - link

    If we get a dual Opteron 6300 system in, we will compare. Reply
  • plext0r - Tuesday, March 05, 2013 - link

    Would have been nice to throw in some bigadv work units from the Folding@Home project to see how the systems compare. Reply
  • Michael REMY - Wednesday, March 06, 2013 - link

    hi !

    i really thought it is unfair and un-objectif to not include one of the E3-1290V2 or xeon E5-1620 in your test. Why (the hell) the i7-3770 do in you "profesional server" comparaison test ?

    E3-1290V2 and E5-1620 are the higher clock and newer xeon ! you should put them in the race !

    best regard
    Reply
  • IanCutress - Thursday, March 07, 2013 - link

    It's all about the equipment we have to hand. We don't have every CPU ever created. Plus, putting in consumer CPUs lets everyone know the playing field.

    Ian
    Reply
  • nadana23 - Sunday, March 10, 2013 - link

    It's a pity you didn't read my reply to the previous article...

    http://www.anandtech.com/comments/6533/gigabyte-ga...

    Your memory setup is the constraining factor here.

    Add another 8pcs DIMM to your setup next time - you're bandwidth starving the E5-26xx memory controller!
    Reply
  • IanCutress - Tuesday, March 12, 2013 - link

    How so? Each channel on both processors is populated by one DIMM. Moving to two DIMMs per channel won't make a difference, they're still fed by the same channel. Reply
  • sking.tech - Tuesday, March 12, 2013 - link

    The comments about people berating the Titan GPU - the titan is slower in overall performance than the GTX 690 yet they are at the same price point. That's kind of ridiculous. Why would someone pay more for less? Reply
  • ipheegrl - Thursday, May 23, 2013 - link

    I would upgrade from Westmere-EP if it weren't for the fact that it was the last line of Xeons that could overclock. Granted, some people want guaranteed stability so overclocking isn't an option, but for budget users who want performance at the price of decreased stability it's a viable solution. Reply

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