Benchmarking Performance: CPU System Tests

Our first set of tests is our general system tests. These set of tests are meant to emulate more about what people usually do on a system, like opening large files or processing small stacks of data. This is a bit different to our office testing, which uses more industry standard benchmarks, and a few of the benchmarks here are relatively new and different.

All of our benchmark results can also be found in our benchmark engine, Bench.

PDF Opening

First up is a self-penned test using a monstrous PDF we once received in advance of attending an event. While the PDF was only a single page, it had so many high-quality layers embedded it was taking north of 15 seconds to open and to gain control on the mid-range notebook I was using at the time. This put it as a great candidate for our 'let's open an obnoxious PDF' test. Here we use Adobe Reader DC, and disable all the update functionality within. The benchmark sets the screen to 1080p, opens the PDF to in fit-to-screen mode, and measures the time from sending the command to open the PDF until it is fully displayed and the user can take control of the software again. The test is repeated ten times, and the average time taken. Results are in milliseconds.

System: PDF Opening with Adobe Reader DC

FCAT Processing: link

One of the more interesting workloads that has crossed our desks in recent quarters is FCAT - the tool we use to measure stuttering in gaming due to dropped or runt frames. The FCAT process requires enabling a color-based overlay onto a game, recording the gameplay, and then parsing the video file through the analysis software. The software is mostly single-threaded, however because the video is basically in a raw format, the file size is large and requires moving a lot of data around. For our test, we take a 90-second clip of the Rise of the Tomb Raider benchmark running on a GTX 980 Ti at 1440p, which comes in around 21 GB, and measure the time it takes to process through the visual analysis tool.

System: FCAT Processing ROTR 1440p GTX1080 Data

Dolphin Benchmark: link

Many emulators are often bound by single thread CPU performance, and general reports tended to suggest that Haswell provided a significant boost to emulator performance. This benchmark runs a Wii program that ray traces a complex 3D scene inside the Dolphin Wii emulator. Performance on this benchmark is a good proxy of the speed of Dolphin CPU emulation, which is an intensive single core task using most aspects of a CPU. Results are given in minutes, where the Wii itself scores 17.53 minutes.

System: Dolphin 5.0 Render Test

3D Movement Algorithm Test v2.1: link

This is the latest version of the self-penned 3DPM benchmark. The goal of 3DPM is to simulate semi-optimized scientific algorithms taken directly from my doctorate thesis. Version 2.1 improves over 2.0 by passing the main particle structs by reference rather than by value, and decreasing the amount of double->float->double recasts the compiler was adding in. It affords a ~25% speed-up over v2.0, which means new data.

System: 3D Particle Movement v2.1

DigiCortex v1.20: link

Despite being a couple of years old, the DigiCortex software is a pet project for the visualization of neuron and synapse activity in the brain. The software comes with a variety of benchmark modes, and we take the small benchmark which runs a 32k neuron/1.8B synapse simulation. The results on the output are given as a fraction of whether the system can simulate in real-time, so anything above a value of one is suitable for real-time work. The benchmark offers a 'no firing synapse' mode, which in essence detects DRAM and bus speed, however we take the firing mode which adds CPU work with every firing.

System: DigiCortex 1.20 (32k Neuron, 1.8B Synapse)

Agisoft Photoscan 1.0: link

Photoscan stays in our benchmark suite from the previous version, however now we are running on Windows 10 so features such as Speed Shift on the latest processors come into play. The concept of Photoscan is translating many 2D images into a 3D model - so the more detailed the images, and the more you have, the better the model. The algorithm has four stages, some single threaded and some multi-threaded, along with some cache/memory dependency in there as well. For some of the more variable threaded workload, features such as Speed Shift and XFR will be able to take advantage of CPU stalls or downtime, giving sizeable speedups on newer microarchitectures.

System: Agisoft Photoscan 1.0 Total Time

Benchmark Overview Benchmarking Performance: CPU Rendering Tests
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  • haukionkannel - Thursday, July 27, 2017 - link

    You can install Ryzen 1200 and use Nvidia 1080ti and run games at 4K easily, so there is a point of these prosessors.
    There will be Ryzen based APU later in this or next year for Office computers and maybe even htpc usage and laptops. Those Are budget CPU for gaming and you can pair them as fast GPU as you like and still get reasonable good results!
    The Intel 7700 is in the top, but if you run games at 4K I think that you can save a big deal by usin amd 1200 instead of Intel 7700! The difference is so small in speed and so big in money!
    Reply
  • kaesden - Thursday, July 27, 2017 - link

    dont forget that ryzen 1200 with a 1080ti could also have a 1700 dropped in down the line when budget allows, or when more cpu performance is needed. And the ryzen based APU's are coming eventually for those who just want basic integrated graphics. AMD isn't finished yet with their roll out. Reply
  • zodiacfml - Thursday, July 27, 2017 - link

    The purpose is to make use/sell of disabled chips. This could be the reason why AMD and Nvidia started selling the new, lowest end discrete graphics cards. Desktop APUs will arrive early 2018.

    I wonder if AMD will ever have to cripple these Zen parts in the future as some articles mention they have high pretty good wields.
    Reply
  • lefty2 - Thursday, July 27, 2017 - link

    They aren't "making" a $100 CPU with no iGPU, they are just re-badging a $500 CPU. Much cheaper in research costs than having to design a new die. ...and the same logic applies to the 7700K Reply
  • bennyg - Thursday, July 27, 2017 - link

    I think the price/perf discussion should be a it broader in scope than just comparing CPU alone. The need to find or buy a GPU for the R3 compared to the Intel competition is a noticable omisson. Even the budgestest secondhandest GPUs will throw out the metrics of a $30 price comparison, but the extra graphics performance and/or features you may get from a dedicated GPU over iGPU should also be considered. Reply
  • bennyg - Thursday, July 27, 2017 - link

    should be a *lot* broader. typo Reply
  • Manch - Friday, July 28, 2017 - link

    That's why these were tested with the higher end GPU's. To eliminate the IGP as a performance factor and compare CPU only. As you said, the extra performance you would get from even a low end discrete would be an unfair advantage for AMD. If you got one that was crappier than the IGP(if possible) then it would be an unfair advantage to Intel. It would be hard to decide which Discrete card would be the official stand in. On that note, doesn't AMD have discrete R7 cards that are paired with their APU's that are pretty much a copy of the IGP? They're not VEGA cores though so it wouldn't be a good way to predict the performance of the upcoming APU's. It would however give an idea as to what Bristol would have been using ZEN cores. Reply
  • extide - Saturday, July 29, 2017 - link

    Latest AMD APU's are still construction cores (Excavator) with Polaris based graphics. Ryzen with Vega based will come later. Reply
  • Alexvrb - Thursday, July 27, 2017 - link

    I don't know... maybe... gaming on a relatively small budget? Ryzen 3 plus a $150-200 graphics card is clearly better than an equivalent i3 build, plus they overclock even with a cheap B350 board. Reply
  • serendip - Friday, July 28, 2017 - link

    For a cheapo gamer like me, Ryzen 3 + a $100 card is fine, but how big is that market anyway?

    AMD needs to go beyond servicing enthusiasts, it has to get OEMs to use Ryzen in cheap PCs for basic use in schools, homes and businesses. These segments won't bother going for Ryzen 5 or i5, they just want the cheapest computer available. AMD doesn't have a good name in the low end of the market because of its terrible APUs.
    Reply

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