SPEC CPU - Single-Threaded Performance

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
clang version 7.0.1 (ssh://git@github.com/flang-compiler/flang-driver.git
 24bd54da5c41af04838bbe7b68f830840d47fc03)

-Ofast -fomit-frame-pointer
-march=x86-64
-mtune=core-avx2
-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.

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.

Single-threaded performance of TGL-H shouldn’t be drastically different from that of TGL-U, however there’s a few factors which can come into play and affect the results: The i9-11980HK TGL-H system has a 200MHz higher boost frequency compared to the i7-1185G7, and a single core now has access to up to 24MB of L3 instead of just 12MB.

SPECint2017 Rate-1 Estimated Scores

In SPECint2017, the one results which stands out the most if 502.gcc_r where the TGL-H processor lands in at +16% ahead of TGL-U, undoubtedly due to the increased L3 size of the new chip.

Generally speaking, the new TGL-H chip outperforms its brethren and AMD competitors in almost all tests.

SPECfp2017 Rate-1 Estimated Scores

In the SPECfp2017 suite, we also see general small improvements across the board. The 549.fotonik3d_r test sees a regression which is a bit odd, but I think is related to the LPDDR4 vs DDR4 discrepancy in the systems which I’ll get back to in the next page where we’ll see more multi-threaded results related to this.

SPEC2017 Rate-1 Estimated Total

From an overall single-threaded performance standpoint, the TGL-H i9-11980HK adds in around +3.5-7% on top of what we saw on the i7-1185G7, which lands it amongst the best performing systems – not only amongst laptop CPUs, but all CPUs. The performance lead against AMD’s strongest mobile CPU, the 5980HS is even a little higher than against the i7-1185G7, but loses out against AMD’s best desktop CPU, and of course Apple M1 CPU and SoC used in the latest Macbooks. This latter comparison is apples-to-apples in terms of compiler settings, and is impressive given it does it at around 1/3rd of the package power under single-threaded scenarios.

CPU Tests: Core-to-Core and Cache Latency SPEC CPU - Multi-Threaded Performance
POST A COMMENT

229 Comments

View All Comments

  • Andrei Frumusanu - Monday, May 17, 2021 - link

    As a note, we're just finishing up this review at the very last minute due to us getting our hands on the reference laptop only in the last 48h. I'll be completing the missing page texts in the next few hours as we're tidying up the article. Reply
  • EliteRetard - Monday, May 17, 2021 - link

    Did you have a description/specs of the test systems?
    If it was there I missed it, even after going back to look.
    Differences in RAM / storage etc. can affect some tests.

    I'm guessing the size based on the name of the Asus...
    Looks like you're comparing a 16" workstation vs a 13" thin/light?

    Would the AMD CPU perform better in a larger/cooler chassis?
    Reply
  • timecop1818 - Tuesday, May 18, 2021 - link

    > Would the AMD CPU perform better

    lol
    Reply
  • Spunjji - Tuesday, May 18, 2021 - link

    > timecop1818

    lol
    Reply
  • Qasar - Tuesday, May 18, 2021 - link

    gotta love timecrap181... Reply
  • at_clucks - Wednesday, May 19, 2021 - link

    Come on, the Intel CPU actually performs decently... for a slowish desktop CPU stuck in a laptop chassis. Still not that bad. Reply
  • Spunjji - Thursday, May 20, 2021 - link

    It performs very well, but timcarp1488 was completely misreading what had actually been said just to shitpost his usual anti-AMD nonsense. Reply
  • Spunjji - Tuesday, May 18, 2021 - link

    "Did you have a description/specs of the test systems?"
    A brief description of the Intel reference system is in this review, more detail of the AMD system is available in the review these test results came from.

    "Would the AMD CPU perform better in a larger/cooler chassis?"
    A 45W variant of the AMD CPU in a larger chassis would see higher sustained multi-core performance, but single-core is probably quite similar.
    Reply
  • Gondalf - Wednesday, May 19, 2021 - link

    Strange article Andrei.
    5980HS is rated 35-54 W or 45W+. How can you judge that 45W Intel is less efficient?? Have you data about TDP settings of Asus X13 ? Likely the AMD SKU run at the highest TDP for more performance on Asus device, for several minutes or continuously.
    Bet you neeed to be more informed in your articles, OEMs can go at the max TDP of a cpu since the Tskin of the laptop allow this.
    Bet Intel Tiger Lake H will be faster than in your article on the right chassis ?
    Bet direct power measures are better than generic comments ?
    Reply
  • Retycint - Thursday, May 20, 2021 - link

    Strange comment Gondalf.
    The graph of the 5980HS on page 2 shows that the Asus X13 runs at 42W for about 300s and then drops to 35W for the rest of the time.
    Bet you didn't read the article and just came down instantly to try and feel smug?
    Bet you need to be more informed when making hate posts?
    Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now