The Real Test - AnandTech's Multitasking Scenarios

Shortly after receiving the dual core system from Intel, I posted a question in my blog asking AnandTech readers to respond with how they multitask.  I kept the question pretty open-ended, just wanting to get a feel for all the different types of multitasking that this sample of AnandTech readers did on a daily basis.  I then took the data and did my best to, in the limited time that I had, model some real world multitasking benchmarks based on the responses.  The results are three real world, multitasking benchmarks with the promise of more to come. 

The biggest commonality between responses was that AnandTech reader systems, much like my own, are loaded with applications running in the background.  So, the first thing that I did to put together our multitasking testbed was to put a ton of applications on it, the type that we all use. I came up with the following list:

Daemon Tools
Norton AntiVirus 2004 (with latest updates)
Firefox 1.02
DVD Shrink 3.2
Microsoft AntiSpyware Beta 1.0
Newsleecher 2.0
Visual Studio .NET 2003
Macromedia Flash Player 7
Adobe Photoshop CS
Microsoft Office 2003
3ds max 7
iTunes 4.7.1
Trillian 3.1
DivX 5.2.1
AutoGK 1.60
Norton Ghost 2003
Adobe Reader 7

What's important about that list is that a handful of those programs were running in the background at all times, primarily Microsoft's AntiSpyware Beta and Norton AntiVirus 2004.  Both the AntiSpyware Beta and NAV 2004 were running with their real time protection modes enabled, to make things even more real world. 

With my system fully configured, I did what anyone else would do with a brand new system - I used it.  I used it as an actual system doing real world everyday tasks and made notes of my impressions, then came the interesting part - I swapped out processors for a single core non-HT enabled Pentium 4 and started making notes of differences.  Armed with the single core chip, I went to task on creating benchmarks based on some of the tasks that AnandTech readers did on a regular basis (not too surprising, I use my system in a very similar way to most AT readers).  So let's get to the tests...

3D Rendering Performance Multitasking Scenario 1: DVD Shrink
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  • haveblue128 - Wednesday, July 06, 2005 - link

    Only downside but I think a majorleague heat solution should make everything sweet Reply
  • haveblue128 - Wednesday, July 06, 2005 - link

    Oh Please give us a break. If you want to be a purist, go live in the woods without clothes. I say that multitasking makes my day a breeze.
    Whats your dilemma??
    Reply
  • haveblue128 - Wednesday, July 06, 2005 - link

    Wow-I just purchased a new sys with an Intel Dual CPU setup. As a multitasking monster on my machine, I was always having crashes in the past.
    I think that is gone with George Bush in 2008. THe good news is the dual core pair is already hear and ready to run. Give them a try-no downside, albeit a good bit of heat. That is something I will need to work on, but....
    Reply
  • peufeu - Monday, May 09, 2005 - link

    I forgot to mention... gentoo linux ;) Reply
  • peufeu - Monday, May 09, 2005 - link

    Dual CPUs to compensate for the inept MS Windows.
    Interesting.

    I'm torturing a webserver I just wrote, on my laptop. It's in Python. Right now it's serving about 2000 requests per second with 1000 concurrent connections.

    I don't even notice it's running. The CPU gauge is at 100%, so what ? Nothing special. As reactive as usual. It doesn't swap. The harddisk even put itself in standby....

    Go, bill, go !


    Reply
  • shady28 - Sunday, April 17, 2005 - link


    Making special tests just for these processors seems a bit contrived to me. In particular, comparing dual core processors to a Pentium 4 with HT disabled, in a multithreading/multitasking benchmark, is just plane lame.

    I would have been a lot more interested in seeing how dual core compares in multitasking vs dual opterons or dual Xeons. Right now it looks like dual core is slower at doing one task at a time, suprisingly not that much faster at doing two tasks at a time than HT Pentium 4s. The only exceptions were the off the wall tests done at the end.

    Since these new 'benchmarks' are made to simulate 'real life use', does that mean that all Anand's previous reviews were bogus?

    Reply
  • JimGunn - Wednesday, April 13, 2005 - link

    I think I will want one of these for my next video editing & encoding workstation. Will come in handy for HDV post I am sure! Reply
  • BoBOh - Monday, April 11, 2005 - link

    Where are the code compile tests. We're not all gamers, some are software developers! :)

    BoB
    Reply
  • warath - Friday, April 08, 2005 - link

    I can't wait to see 64-bit dual cores! :) Reply
  • WoodenPupa - Thursday, April 07, 2005 - link

    Well, I'm not a tech whiz like everyone else here, but here's my 2 centavos...

    I can attest to the fact that every machine I ever buy, I bring it to its knees. I usually wait several generations before I upgrade in order to get a more profound effect. Yet that strategy doesn't seem to matter because no matter how fast my computer is, I find that my NORMAL computing habits end up crushing the CPU and everything else.

    I use Cool Edit Pro and some other audio programs, and I am also a chess player, and like to anyalyze games in the background with Fritz or Chessbase, both of which allow for gigantic hash tables. So as a typical case I like to do wave transforms and chess analysis as background items while I compose e-mails or use Word for more serious writing. Naturally I like to listen to music at the same time, but usually I have to give that up. Needless to say, all of this stuff cripples my computer---I'm due for an upgrade, I know---my box is a 2.53 GHz P4, 1 GB of Rambus 800 (no groaning, please), a GF4 ti 4600, 120 GB HD, I'm not even sure what the cache on that is, I don't think it's 8 or 5 MB---feels more like 2.

    I usually end up quitting the Chess program or the Mp3 player---once in a while I can do all of this stuff concurrently if the wave transforms on cool edit aren't too complex, and I minimize the hash tables on the chess program.

    Ideally I want everything to be instantaneous, but...:) Anyway, from what it sounds like, I need a dual or even quad processor setup. Because even with all the above mentioned programs running, I can think of more I would like to add. I'm a monster multitasker and really like to kick a computer right in the face, to show it who's boss. I'm tired of winning, though---I'd love it if one day the computer just scoffed at everything I threw at it. Sadly, I don't think it'll happen in my lifetime.

    Should I upgrade to a dual core, or should I save and get a true multi-CPU Mobo like a quad Xeon??
    Reply

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