CPU Performance: Simulation Tests

A number of our benchmarks fall into the category of simulations, whereby we are either trying to emulate the real world or re-create systems with systems. In this set of tests, we have a variety including molecular modelling, non-x86 video game console emulation, a simulation of the equivalent of a slug brain with neurons and synapses firing, and finally a popular video game that simulates the growth of a fictional land including historical events and important characters within that world.

NAMD ApoA1

One frequent request over the years has been for some form of molecular dynamics simulation. Molecular dynamics forms the basis of a lot of computational biology and chemistry when modeling specific molecules, enabling researchers to find low energy configurations or potential active binding sites, especially when looking at larger proteins. We’re using the NAMD software here, or Nanoscale Molecular Dynamics, often cited for its parallel efficiency. Unfortunately the version we’re using is limited to 64 threads on Windows, but we can still use it to analyze our processors. We’re simulating the ApoA1 protein for 10 minutes, and reporting back the ‘nanoseconds per day’ that our processor can simulate. Molecular dynamics is so complex that yes, you can spend a day simply calculating a nanosecond of molecular movement.

This is one of our new tests, so we will be filling in more data as we start regression testing for older CPUs.

NAMD 2.31 Molecular Dynamics (ApoA1)

 

Dolphin 5.0: Console Emulation

One of the popular requested tests in our suite is to do with console emulation. Being able to pick up a game from an older system and run it as expected depends on the overhead of the emulator: it takes a significantly more powerful x86 system to be able to accurately emulate an older non-x86 console, especially if code for that console was made to abuse certain physical bugs in the hardware.

For our test, we use the popular Dolphin emulation software, and run a compute project through it to determine how close to a standard console system our processors can emulate. In this test, a Nintendo Wii would take around 1050 seconds.

The latest version of Dolphin can be downloaded from https://dolphin-emu.org/

Dolphin 5.0 Render Test

 

DigiCortex 1.20: Sea Slug Brain Simulation

This benchmark was originally designed for simulation and visualization of neuron and synapse activity, as is commonly found 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, equivalent to a Sea Slug.

Example of a 2.1B neuron simulation

We report the results as the ability to simulate the data as a fraction of real-time, so anything above a ‘one’ is suitable for real-time work. Out of the two modes, a ‘non-firing’ mode which is DRAM heavy and a ‘firing’ mode which has CPU work, we choose the latter. Despite this, the benchmark is still affected by DRAM speed a fair amount.

DigiCortex can be downloaded from http://www.digicortex.net/

DigiCortex 1.20 (32k Neuron, 1.8B Synapse)

The additional bandwidth of the HEDT platforms put them higher up the chart here - Digicortex always ends up as an odd mix of bottlenecks mostly around memory, but it can be localized internal bandwidth limited as well.

Dwarf Fortress

Another long standing request for our benchmark suite has been Dwarf Fortress, a popular management/roguelike indie video game, first launched in 2006. Emulating the ASCII interfaces of old, this title is a rather complex beast, which can generate environments subject to millennia of rule, famous faces, peasants, and key historical figures and events. The further you get into the game, depending on the size of the world, the slower it becomes.

DFMark is a benchmark built by vorsgren on the Bay12Forums that gives two different modes built on DFHack: world generation and embark. These tests can be configured, but range anywhere from 3 minutes to several hours. I’ve barely scratched the surface here, but after analyzing the test, we ended up going for three different world generation sizes.

This is another of our new tests.

Dwarf Fortress (Small) 65x65 World, 250 YearsDwarf Fortress (Medium) 129x129 World, 550 YearsDwarf Fortress (Big) 257x257 World, 550 Years

CPU Performance: Rendering Tests CPU Performance: Encoding Tests
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  • Darkworld - Wednesday, May 20, 2020 - link

    10500k? Reply
  • Chaitanya - Wednesday, May 20, 2020 - link

    Pointless given R5 3000 family of CPUs. Reply
  • yeeeeman - Wednesday, May 20, 2020 - link

    Yeah right. Except it will beat basically all and lineup in games. Otherwise it is pointless. Reply
  • yeeeeman - Wednesday, May 20, 2020 - link

    All AMD lineup* Reply
  • SKiT_R31 - Wednesday, May 20, 2020 - link

    Yeah with a 2080 Ti the flagship 10 series CPU beats AMD in most titles, generally by a single digit margin. Who is pairing a mid-low end CPU with such a GPU? Also if there were to be a 10500K, you probably don't need to look much further than the 9600K in the charts above.

    This may have been missed on you, but what CPU reviews like the above show is: unless you are running the most top end flagship GPU and are low resolution high fps gaming, AMD is better at every single price point. Just accept it, and move on.
    Reply
  • Drkrieger01 - Wednesday, May 20, 2020 - link

    It also means that if you have purchased an Intel 6th gen CPU in i5 or i7, there's not much reason to upgrade unless you need more threads. And it will only be faster if you're using those said threads effectively. I'm still running an i5 6600K, granted it's running at 4.6GHz - there's no reason for me to upgrade until either Intel and/or AMD come up with better architecture and frequency combination (IPC + clock speed).
    I'll likely be taking the jump back to AMD for the Ryzen 4000's after a long run since the Sandy Bridge era.

    Anyone needing only 4-6 cores should wait until then as well.
    Reply
  • Samus - Thursday, May 21, 2020 - link

    That's most people, including me. I'm still riding my Haswell 4C/8T because for my applications the only thing more cores will get me is faster unraring of my porn. Reply
  • Lord of the Bored - Thursday, May 21, 2020 - link

    Hey, that's an important task! Reply
  • Hxx - Wednesday, May 20, 2020 - link

    at 1440p intel still leads in gaming. It may not lead by much or may not lead by enough to warranty buying it over Intel but the person buying this chip is rocking a high end gpu and will likely upgrade to a high end gpu and the performance gap will only widen in intel's favor as the gpu becomes less of a bottleneck. So yeah pairing this with a 2060 makes no sense, go AMD. but pairing this with a 2080ti and a soon to be released 3080TI oh yeah this lineup will be a better choice. Reply
  • DrKlahn - Thursday, May 21, 2020 - link

    By that logic the new games released since the Ryzen 3x000 series debut last year should show a larger gap at 1440+ between Intel and AMD. But they don't. And judging by past trends I doubt they will in the future either.As GPUs advance so does the eye candy in the newer engines, keeping the bottleneck pretty much where it always is at higher resolutions and detail levels, the GPU. Reply

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