Multitasking Scenario 1: DVD Shrink

If you've ever tried to backup a DVD, you know the process can take a long time. Just ripping the disc to your hard drive will eat up a good 20 minutes, and then there's the encoding. The encoding can easily take between 20 and 45 minutes depending on the speed of your CPU, and once you start doing other tasks in the background, you can expect those times to grow even longer.

For this test, we used DVD Shrink, one of the simplest applications available to compress and re-encode a DVD to fit on a single 4.5GB disc. We ran DVD Decrypt on the "Star Wars Episode VI" DVD so that we had a local copy of the DVD on our test bed hard drive (in a future version of the test, we may try to include DVD Decrypt performance in our benchmark as well). All of the DVD Shrink settings were left at default including telling the program to assume a low priority, a setting many users check in order to be able to do other things while DVD Shrink is working.

We did the following:

1) Open Firefox using the ScrapBook plugin loaded locally archived copies of 13 web pages; we kept the browser on the AT front page.
2) Open iTunes and start playing a playlist on repeat all.
3) Open Newsleecher.
4) Open DVD Shrink.
5) Login to our news server and start downloading headers for our subscribed news groups.
6) Start backup of "Star Wars Episode VI - Return of the Jedi". All default settings, including low priority.

This test is a bit different than the test we ran in the Intel dual core articles, mainly in that we used more web pages, but with more varied content. In the first review, our stored web pages were very heavy on Flash. This time around, we have a much wider variety of web content open in Firefox while we conducted our test. There is still quite a bit of Flash, but the load is much more realistic now.

DVD Shrink was the application in focus. This matters because by default, Windows gives special scheduling priority to the application currently in the foreground. We waited until the DVD Shrink operation was complete and recorded its completion time. Below are the results:

DVD Shrink + Multitasking Environment

As we showed in the first set of dual core articles, tests like these are perfect examples of why dual core matters. The performance of the single core Athlon 64 FX-55 is dismal compared to any of the dual core offerings. You'll also note that the Athlon 64 X2 4400+ completes the DVD Shrink task in less than half the time of the higher clocked single core FX-55. The reasoning behind this is more of an issue with the Windows' scheduler. The problem in situations like these is that the Windows scheduler won't always preempt one task in order to give another its portion of the CPU's time. For a single threaded CPU, that means that certain tasks will take much longer to complete simply because the OS' scheduler isn't giving them a chance to run on the CPU. With a dual core or otherwise multi-threaded CPU, the OS' scheduler can dispatch more threads to the CPU, and thus, is less likely to be in a situation where it has to preempt a CPU intensive task.

In this test, the Athlon 64 X2 4400+ does better than the Pentium D 840, but the Extreme Edition manages to offer slightly better performance. A faster X2 shouldn't have much of a problem remaining competitive, however.
Development Performance - Compiling Firefox Multitasking Scenario 2: File Compression
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  • KillerBob - Friday, April 22, 2005 - link

    Griswold,

    MT Test 1: PEE 1 - X2 0 Very likely scenario
    MT Test 2: PEE 2 - X2 0 Likely scenario
    MT Test 3: PEE 2 - X2 1 So-so scenario
    MT Test 4: PEE 3 - X2 1 Likely scenario
    MT Test 5: PEE 3 - X2 2 Likely scenario
    MT Test 6: PEE 3 - X2 3 Unlikely scenario

    I play a lot of games, but I never have things in the background, as a matter of fact I don't want to have anyting in the background, except for perhaps a big NewsPro download.
    Reply
  • MrEMan - Friday, April 22, 2005 - link

    102,

    Artificial stupidity run rampant?

    or

    Natural deselection (survival of the twitest)?
    Reply
  • Quanticles - Friday, April 22, 2005 - link

    I vote that 90% of the people on here have no idea what they're talking about... lol Reply
  • erwos - Friday, April 22, 2005 - link

    "It's odd that some picture game developers immediately supporting the PhysX chip as soon as it's available, but think they'll drag their feet to take advantage of another whole CPU core at their disposal."

    It's basically about the implementation differences of the two. You can be relatively certain that PhysX is going to be shipping their chips/cards with libraries that allow game devs to just speed up certain processing with special function calls (ie, calculate_particle_spread()). Multi-threading requires that you design your application from the very start to take advantage of it (mostly - I would wager splitting off the background music to its own thread is reasonably straightforward).

    Game logic doesn't always lend itself to multi-threading, either. If I shoot my gun, I want to hear the sound next. I don't want it to be thrown at the sound thread, where it may or may not execute next. Threading introduces latency, in other words, unless you so tightly bind your threads together that you may as well not use multi-threading.

    -Erwos
    Reply
  • Griswold - Friday, April 22, 2005 - link

    KillerBob, so that makes you a brilliant illiterate, since it's not what the benchmarks say. :) Reply
  • cHodAXUK - Friday, April 22, 2005 - link

    #83 Get a clue, a single core 3500+ is faster than the quivelant Opteron at the same speed. Why? Unregistered memory and tigher memory timinings. ECC memory comes with a 2-4% performance penalty but the big difference comes with the command speed, 2T for the Opteron and 1T 3500+, the AMD64 thrives on lower lower latancies that can make as big as an 10% performance difference and that is BEFORE we start to even think about raising the FSB speed which makes a significant difference to overall system perfomance. 15% is in no way unrealistic with a mild overclock and lower latancies, if you don't believe me then email Anand and ask him. Reply
  • Zebo - Friday, April 22, 2005 - link

    Jep4444 (#89) What do you mean X2's "arent nearly as good as the dual core Opterons"??

    Comming from XS I suspect don't OC very well?

    But they are the same cores as the Opterons are. and with ram should run signifigantly faster.

    Or do you mean buggy? That's easily attibuted to BIOS, IE none released yet so no working BIOS.

    How about a link please.
    Reply
  • Umbra55 - Friday, April 22, 2005 - link

    The benchmark overviews show "dual opteron 252 (2.6 GHz)" all over the review. I suppose this is single 252 instead of dual?

    Please correct accordingly
    Reply
  • emboss - Friday, April 22, 2005 - link

    #40 (Doormat):
    You're forgetting that the size of a dual-core is (roughly) double that of a single-core. So, assuming 1000 cores/wafer, 70% defect rate per core, then a single-core wafer (with an ASP of $500) will net AMD 700*500 = $350K.

    The same wafer with dual-cores will produce (approximately) 1000/2 * (0.7)^2 = 245 CPUs. So, to get the same amount of cash per wafer, AMD needs an ASP of $1429, or the second core costing 85% more than the first core.

    Of course, it's not quite this simple ("bad" chips running OK at lower speeds, etc) but it's not entirely unreasonable to see dual-cores with prices ~3 times that of a single core at the same speed grade. Intel is almost dumping (in the economic sense of the word) dual-core chips.
    Reply
  • saratoga - Friday, April 22, 2005 - link

    "saratoga, waah? There are similarities between C# and C++. While agree it's java'ish as well, it definitely has similarties to c++. One could say c# shaes similarities with c/c/c++.

    read away:

    http://www.mastercsharp.com/article.aspx?ArticleID...

    http://www.csharphelp.com/archives/archive138.html

    "

    I'm guessing you're not a c++ programmer ;)

    Anyway, yes they both use c syntax, however thats pretty much irrelevent given that Java also uses c syntax (as does Managed c++ which incidently IS the .net language directly based on c++) and I've never heard anyone call it related to c++. Beyond (some) syntax heritage and the fact that they're both OO langauges, they're very different beasts.

    ""C# is directly related to C and C++. This is not just an idea, this is real. As you recall C is a root for C++ and C++ is a superset of C. C and C++ shares several syntax, library and functionality." Quoted from above.

    L8r."

    Err yeah c++ is mostly a superset of c++. Thats neither here nor there. Just try and use the c/c++ preprocessor in c# and you'll see very quickly what the difference is. Or try using c++ multiple inherritance. You'll find that just because you took java and added operator overloading and made binding static by default, its not c++.
    Reply

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