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The Current Situation

It's not hard to explain why an 8-thread processor with slightly lower single-threaded performance does not do well in many desktop applications. If you compare for example the hex-core Core i7-3960X with a quad-core i7-3820, four games did not benefit from the extra two cores: Civilization V, Crysis, Dirt 3 and Metro 2033. In Starcraft 2, World of Warcraft, and Dawn of War 2, the 50% higher core count was good for a 10% performance boost at best. In other words, the situation has improved, but most games don't scale well beyond four cores. There are also other factors at play, though, as it's already known that StarCraft II doesn't use more than two cores; instead, it's likely the 15MB (vs. 10MB in i7-3820) L3 cache that helps improve performance.

The situation in the server space is a lot harder to explain. The Opteron 6100 was able to keep up—more or less—with the Xeon 5600 performancewise. However, the Xeon 5600 was equipped with much better power management and the Xeon won the performance/watt race in most applications, with the exception of HPC applications.

The Opteron 6200 added a bit of performance but sips much less power at low and medium load, so it was capable of offering a better performance per Watt ratio than its older brother. However, since the Xeon E5 came out, the situation became pretty dramatic for the Opteron. One telling example is the fact that only one VMmark 2.0 result on the Opteron 6200 exists, but it has been withdrawn. Even if the reported 12.77 score is close to truth, we need four AMD Opteron 6726 (2.3GHz) to beat the best dual Xeon E5 (2690 at 2.9GHz) by 15%.

We have shown already quite a few benchmarks in two Opteron 6276 articles and one Xeon E5 review. We summarized the relevant numbers of both articles in the table below. The benchmarks below are real world and very relevant to the professional in our opinion.

Software: Importance in the market Opteron 6276 vs.
Opteron 6174
Xeon E5-2660
vs. Opteron 6276

Virtualization: 20-50%

   
ESXi + Linux (vApusMark FOS)

+1%

+40%

OLAP Databases: 10-15%

 

 
MS SQL Server 2008 R2 (OLAP throughput)

-9%

+34%

HPC: 5-7%

 

 

LS-Dyna (Neon-Refined)

+21%

+26%

Rendering software: 2-3%

 

 

Cinebench

+2%

+37%

ERP

 

 

SAP

+18%

+13%

Now consider that all these applications are highly-threaded and scale well. Despite the 33% higher integer core count, the Opteron 6276 is not able to outperform the older Magny-Cours in the OLAP, virtualization and rendering benchmarks. However, the architecture is showing its promise by offering about 20% better performance in SAP and HPC applications.

What makes the Bulldozer cores fail in the OLAP benchmark and succeed in SAP? We now have some interesting profiling details on SAP as well as our OLAP benchmark, so we can delve deeper.

Setting Expectations: the Back End SAP S&D Benchmark in Depth
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  • thunderising - Wednesday, May 30, 2012 - link

    Glad AMD has "Greater Performance" planned sometime in the future. Wow! Reply
  • themossie - Wednesday, May 30, 2012 - link

    "There are also other factors at play, though, as it's already known that StarCraft II doesn't use more than two cores; theinstead, it's likely the..."

    (feel free to remove comment after fixing this)
    Reply
  • Nightraptor - Wednesday, May 30, 2012 - link

    I am wondering if it would be possible to compare the processor performance of the Trinity A10 with a underclocked FX-4100 set to the same frequencies (I don't know if it is possible to disable the L3 cache on the FX-4100). This might give us a rough idea of how much the improvements of Piledriver have bought us. Just doing rough math in my head it would seem that they have to be pretty significant given how a FX-4100 compared to the Phenom II X4's (it lost alot, if not most of the time t of the time). The new A10 Trinity's on the other hand seem to win most of the time compared to the old architecture. Given that the A10 is a Piledriver based FX-4XXX series equivalent minus the L3 cache it would seem that Piledriver brought very significant enhancements. Either that or the Phenom II era processors responded much more poorly to the lack of L3 than Piledriver does. Reply
  • coder543 - Wednesday, May 30, 2012 - link

    I was hoping they would be doing the same thing, even though it would be challenging to draw real information out of comparing a desktop processor and a mobile processor. Reply
  • SleepyFE - Wednesday, May 30, 2012 - link

    +1 Reply
  • kyuu - Wednesday, May 30, 2012 - link

    +2

    If you can figure out some way to do a comparison and analysis of Piledriver's performance vs. Bulldozer, I think a great many of us are interested to see that. From benchmarks, it seems like Piledriver improved a great deal over Bulldozer, but it's difficult to tell without being able to compare two similar processors.
    Reply
  • Aone - Wednesday, May 30, 2012 - link

    You can compare A10-4600M or A8-4500M versus mobile Llano or Phenom or even Turion to see tweaked BD is nothing of spectacular. For instance, in most cases A8-4500M (2.3GHz base) loses to Llano A8-3500M (1.5GHz base). Reply
  • Nightraptor - Wednesday, May 30, 2012 - link

    Where are you getting the benchmarks from that a Trinity loses to Llano. In almost all the benchmarks I have been able to find (with the exception of a few) it seems that Trinity beats Llano, hence the original post. If the Piledriver enhancements were very minor I would've expected Trinity (a hacked quad core) to lose to Llano most of the time (a true quad core). This didn't appear to happen - at least not in the anandtech review. Reply
  • Aone - Wednesday, May 30, 2012 - link

    "http://www.notebookcheck.net/AMD-A-Series-A8-4500M...
    Look at "Show comparison chart". Great info!
    Reply
  • Nightraptor - Thursday, May 31, 2012 - link

    I'm not a big fan of the reliability of that website - They tend to be pretty scant on the test circumstances and configurations. Furthermore I'm curious where they are getting the informaiton for the A8-4500 as to the best of my knowledge the only Trinity in the wild at the moment is the A10 which AMD sent out in a custom made review laptop. All they list is a "K75D Sample". Reply

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