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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  • Da DvD - Wednesday, April 6, 2005 - link

    Many of you are making a huge mistake. You are proposing insane multitasking tests to 'bring these processors to their knees'. This is wrong! Since when do we adjust the review to the product?
    This is similar to only running benchmarks whose working sets fit completely into the 2mb cache of a new cpu. In other words, when you review a product like this, do NOT suddenly change all your variables, keep them as you always had them. Later on, you can adjust variables (tests), and draw your conclusions accordingly.

    Also, I hope people understand that when Anand would have run these test on a dual Xeon 3.2 system, the results would have been virtually the same. You ALREADY KNOW dual cpu systems can be twice as fast as single cpu systems in certain tests, and show no improvement at all in others.

    I really appreciate the article in general, but it would have been SO much better when the PICTURE would have been complete. For this, a dual Opteron system and a dual Xeon system should have been included, AND the tests should have a reflected typical user workloads. If for some reason all cpu's would have been dualcore already, -I- still wouldn't be importing PST files while running my games. Again, when reviewing something, it's wrong to adapt the workload to the product. This is why some people now question your integrety, Anand, because quickly reading through the article DOES give the impression Dual-Core is THE thing, while there's so much it is not!

    And yes, i do realize you don't have dual Opteron/Xeon rigs at hand, but still, you choose to present this incomplete picture. It was a choice, but not necessarily the correct one ;-)

    Regards,

    DvD
    Reply
  • Zebo - Wednesday, April 6, 2005 - link

    Anand for game marks I like to see a dvdshrink deep analysis/encode, with grabit downloading 8 threads with plenty more cued, some seti at home, then run farcry and report FPS.:D

    That will bring these single procesors to thier knees obviously but I want to see if DC is really worth it since that's the type of choices I'm forced to choose between.
    Reply
  • tjahns - Wednesday, April 6, 2005 - link

    As I am not a regular reader nor familiar with the benchmarks used in this article, I am rather disappointed that the scales on the graphs in this article do not indicate what is being measured nor whether "higher is better" or "lower is better". Reply
  • Calin - Wednesday, April 6, 2005 - link

    What would be better in games (I think), especially in first person shooter games, would be to compare the lowest frames per second, and not the highest or the averaged frame rate. And I think this would represent an tremendous advantage for multiprocessors/multicore Reply
  • Calin - Wednesday, April 6, 2005 - link

    "Nice article, as always. I wonder how memory bandwidth increases/decreases will effect the performance of the already bandwidth hungry intel processors."
    The Intel processors are no longer bandwidth hungry, as the move to the 1066FSB showed. However, throw a second processor into the mix, and things might change
    Reply
  • Calin - Wednesday, April 6, 2005 - link

    The Register has a small review on it, and compare it against a dual Xeon rig
    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/04/05/review_int...
    Reply
  • Icehawk - Wednesday, April 6, 2005 - link

    Great article - loved the multitasking benchmarks.

    Here's what I have running all the time:

    WinAmp 5
    Outlook 2003
    Firefox 1.02
    ICQQ2003Pro
    Norton A/V2005
    drivers for audio & video :)

    How is my performance affected by multiple Word, Excel, Pshop CS windows? Can I game with them open or do I still need to shut everything down like on my current system? Could I encode a DVD and play a game? Play a DVD off one drive and encode off another?

    As mentioned some of what I want to know is can I do things that currently require me to really run two boxes? I recently moved Azareus (torrent client) and all of my DVD encoding & burning to a second rig.
    Reply
  • Macro2 - Wednesday, April 6, 2005 - link

    No games tested at all? Since when does this happen? Intel doesn't want dual core to look bad so Anandtech doesn't bench ANY games at all.

    Come on guys, judging by the article below on the Inquirer I'm not the only one who is suspicious.

    http://theinquirer.net/?article=22332

    Same ole' same ole'
    Reply
  • snorre - Wednesday, April 6, 2005 - link

    Why did you exclude dual CPU (Opteron/Xeon) systems from your comparisons?

    I recommend that you guys at Anandtech read this:
    http://theinquirer.net/?article=22332

    Well said! ;-)
    Reply
  • Bathrone - Tuesday, April 5, 2005 - link

    What about the new extreme edition and I think WinXP only supports a maximum of two cpus? Im not keen to goto 2003 Server. What are Microsoft going to do - patch XP to support 4 cpus? Reply

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