CPU Tests: Synthetic

Most of the people in our industry have a love/hate relationship when it comes to synthetic tests. On the one hand, they’re often good for quick summaries of performance and are easy to use, but most of the time the tests aren’t related to any real software. Synthetic tests are often very good at burrowing down to a specific set of instructions and maximizing the performance out of those. Due to requests from a number of our readers, we have the following synthetic tests.

Linux OpenSSL Speed: SHA256

One of our readers reached out in early 2020 and stated that he was interested in looking at OpenSSL hashing rates in Linux. Luckily OpenSSL in Linux has a function called ‘speed’ that allows the user to determine how fast the system is for any given hashing algorithm, as well as signing and verifying messages.

OpenSSL offers a lot of algorithms to choose from, and based on a quick Twitter poll, we narrowed it down to the following:

  1. rsa2048 sign and rsa2048 verify
  2. sha256 at 8K block size
  3. md5 at 8K block size

For each of these tests, we run them in single thread and multithreaded mode. All the graphs are in our benchmark database, Bench, and we use the sha256 results in published reviews.

(8-3c) Linux OpenSSL Speed sha256 8K Block (1T)(8-4c) Linux OpenSSL Speed sha256 8K Block (nT)

GeekBench 5: Link

As a common tool for cross-platform testing between mobile, PC, and Mac, GeekBench is an ultimate exercise in synthetic testing across a range of algorithms looking for peak throughput. Tests include encryption, compression, fast Fourier transform, memory operations, n-body physics, matrix operations, histogram manipulation, and HTML parsing.

I’m including this test due to popular demand, although the results do come across as overly synthetic, and a lot of users often put a lot of weight behind the test due to the fact that it is compiled across different platforms (although with different compilers).

We have both GB5 and GB4 results in our benchmark database. GB5 was introduced to our test suite after already having tested ~25 CPUs, and so the results are a little sporadic by comparison. These spots will be filled in when we retest any of the CPUs.

(8-1c) Geekbench 5 Single Thread(8-1d) Geekbench 5 Multi-Thread


SPEC2017 and SPEC2006 is a series of standardized tests used to probe the overall performance between different systems, different architectures, different microarchitectures, and setups. The code has to be compiled, and then the results can be submitted to an online database for comparison. It covers a range of integer and floating point workloads, and can be very optimized for each CPU, so it is important to check how the benchmarks are being compiled and run.

We run the tests in a harness built through Windows Subsystem for Linux, developed by our own Andrei Frumusanu. WSL has some odd quirks, with one test not running due to a WSL fixed stack size, but for like-for-like testing is good enough. SPEC2006 is deprecated in favor of 2017, but remains an interesting comparison point in our data. Because our scores aren’t official submissions, as per SPEC guidelines we have to declare them as internal estimates from our part.

For compilers, we use LLVM both for C/C++ and Fortan tests, and for Fortran we’re using the Flang compiler. The rationale of using LLVM over GCC is better cross-platform comparisons to platforms that have only have LLVM support and future articles where we’ll investigate this aspect more. We’re not considering closed-sourced compilers such as MSVC or ICC.

clang version 10.0.0
-Ofast -fomit-frame-pointer
-mfma -mavx -mavx2

Our compiler flags are straightforward, with basic –Ofast and relevant ISA switches to allow for AVX2 instructions. We decided to build our SPEC binaries on AVX2, which puts a limit on Haswell as how old we can go before the testing will fall over. This also means we don’t have AVX512 binaries, primarily because in order to get the best performance, the AVX-512 intrinsic should be packed by a proper expert, as with our AVX-512 benchmark. All of the major vendors, AMD, Intel, and Arm, all support the way in which we are testing SPEC.

To note, the requirements for the SPEC licence state that any benchmark results from SPEC have to be labelled ‘estimated’ until they are verified on the SPEC website as a meaningful representation of the expected performance. This is most often done by the big companies and OEMs to showcase performance to customers, however is quite over the top for what we do as reviewers.

For each of the SPEC targets we are doing, SPEC2006 1T, SPEC2017 1T, and SPEC2017 nT, rather than publish all the separate test data in our reviews, we are going to condense it down into a few interesting data points. The full per-test values are in our benchmark database.

(9-0a) SPEC2006 1T Geomean Total(9-0b) SPEC2017 1T Geomean Total(9-0c) SPEC2017 nT Geomean Total

We’re still running the tests for the Ryzen 5 5600G and Ryzen 3 5300G, but the Ryzen 7 5700G scores strong.

CPU Tests: Legacy and Web Discrete GPU Gaming Tests: 1080p Max with RTX 2080 Ti


View All Comments

  • Wereweeb - Wednesday, August 4, 2021 - link

    The bottleneck is memory bandwidth. DDR5 will raise the iGPU performance roof by a substantial amount, but I hope for something like quad-channel OMI-esque Serial RAM. Reply
  • abufrejoval - Saturday, August 7, 2021 - link

    I'd say so, too, but...

    I have just had a look at a Kaveri A10-7850K with DDR3-2400 (100 Watt desktop), a 5800U based notebook with LPDDR4 (1333MHz clock) and a Tiger Lake NUC with an i7-1165G7 with DDR4-3200.

    The memory bandwidth differences between the Kaveri and the 5800U is absolutely minor, 38.4 GB/s for the Kaveri vs. 42.7GB/s for Cezanne (can't get the TigerLake figures right now, because it's running a Linux server, but it will be very similar).

    The Kaveri and Cezanne iGPUs are both 512 shaders and apart from architectural improvements very much differ in clocks 720MHz vs. 2000MHz. The graphics performance difference on things like 3DMark scale pretty exactly with that clock difference.

    Yet when Kaveri was launched, Anandtech noted that the 512 shader A10 variant had trouble to do better then the 384 shader APUs, because only with the very fastest RAM it could make these extra shaders pump out extra FPS.

    When I compared the Cezanne iGPU against the TigerLake X2, both systems at tightly fixed 15 and 28Watts max power settings, TigerLake was around 50% faster on all synthetic GPU benchmarks.

    The only explanation I have for these fantastic performance increases is much larger caches being very smartly used by breaking down GPU workloads to just fit within them, while prefetching the next tile of bitmaps into the cache in the background and likewise pushing processed tiles to the framebuffer RAM asynchronously to avoid stalling GPU pipelines.

    And yet I'd agree that there really isn't much wiggling room left, you need exponential bandwidth to cover square resolution increases.
  • abufrejoval - Saturday, August 7, 2021 - link

    need edit!

    Is TigerLake Xe, not X2.

    Another data point:

    I also have an NUC8 with an 48EU (+128MB eDRAM) Iris 655 i7 and a NUC10 with an 24EU "no Iris" UHD i7. Even with twice the EUs and the extra eDRAM (which I believe can be used in parallel to the external DRAM), the Iris only gets a 50% performance increase.

    The the 96EU TigerLake iGPU is doing so much better (better than linear scale over UHD) while it actually has somewhat less bandwidth (and higher latency) than the 50GB/s eDRAM provides for the 48EU Iris.
  • bwj - Wednesday, August 4, 2021 - link

    Why are these parts getting stomped by Intel and their non-graphics Ryzen siblings? Reply
  • bwj - Wednesday, August 4, 2021 - link

    Meh, meant to say "in browser benchmarks". Browser is an important workload (for me at least) and the x86 crowd is already fairly weak versus Apple M1, so I'm not ready to throw away another 30% of browser perf. Reply
  • Lezmaka - Wednesday, August 4, 2021 - link

    There are only 3 browser tests and for two of them the 5700G is within a few percent of the 11700K. But otherwise, it's because these are laptop chips with higher TDP. The 11700K has a TDP of "125W" but hit 277W where the 5700G has a TDP of 65W and maxed out at 88W. Reply
  • Makaveli - Wednesday, August 4, 2021 - link

    There is something up with the browser scores here anyways compared to what you see in the forum. All the post with similar desktop cpu's in that thread post much high scores than what is listed in the graph. I'm not sure its old browser version being used to keep scores inline with older reviews or something.

  • abufrejoval - Wednesday, August 4, 2021 - link

    When you ask: "Why don't they release the four core variant?" you really should be able to answer that yourself!

    There are simply not enough defective chips to make it viable just yet. Eventually they may accumulate, but as long as they are trying to produce an 8 core chip, 4 and 6 cores should remain the exception not the rule.

    I'd really like to see them struggle putting the lesser chips out there, because it means my 8/16(/32/64) core chips are rock solid!

    I would have liked to see full transistor counts of the 5800X and the 5700U side by side. My guess would be that the Cezanne dies even at 50% cache have more transistors overall, meaning you are getting many more pricey 7nm transistors per € on these APUs and should really pay a markup not a discount.

    Well even the GF IO die fab capacity might have customers lined up these days, but in normal times those transistors should be much more commodity and cheaper and have the APU cost more in pure foundry (less in packaging) than the X-variants, while AMD wants to fit it into a below premium price slot where it really doesn't belong.
  • nandnandnand - Wednesday, August 4, 2021 - link

    If AMD boosted chiplet/monolithic core count to 12, maybe 6 cores could become the new minimum with 10-core being a possibility. But it doesn't look like they plan to do that. Reply
  • Wereweeb - Wednesday, August 4, 2021 - link

    These might have been a stockpile of dies that were rejected for laptop use (High power consumption @ idle?) and they're being dumped into the market after AMD satisfied OEM demand for APU's.

    Plus, considering that one of the main shortages is for substrates, it's possible that the substrate for the APU's is different - cheaper, higher volume, etc... as it doesn't need to interconnect discrete chiplets.

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