Articles: CPU

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Performance in Applications

The first diagram shows one of the intermediate results of the Futuremark 3DMark11 Fire Strike – Physics Score benchmark. This parameter shows how fast the testing participants can cope with a special physics test emulating the behavior of a complex system with a large number of objects.

These results can be explained easily. The benchmark is multithreaded, so the Core i7 series with Hyper-Threading technology and the 8-core FX-8350 are ranked higher than the Core i5 CPUs. The Haswell-based Core i5 look good, though. Considering that there is no increase in clock rates over the last-year Core i5 models, the 6% increase in performance is only due to microarchitecture improvements. Thanks to them, the Core i5-4570 can deliver the same performance as the Core i5-3570K. The junior Core i5-4430 cannot match the Core i5-3470, though.

To test the processors performance during data archiving we resort to WinRAR 5.0 archiving utility. Using maximum compression rate we archive a folder with multiple files with 1.7 GB total size.

The latest version of the WinRAR archiver is optimized for multithreading, so the Core i7 series enjoy a 50% advantage over their Core i5 cousins. AMD's 8-core FX-8350 is among the leaders, too, as its microarchitecture copes well with multithreaded integer loads. As for the Haswell microarchitecture, it doesn’t accelerate this archiver. The Haswell and Ivy Bridge processors have the same results here if clocked at the same frequencies. The new breed of Intel CPUs isn’t much faster than the Sandy Bridge series, either.

The processor performance in cryptographic tasks is measured using a built-in benchmark of the popular TrueCrypt utility that uses AES-Twofish-Serpent “triple” encryption. I have to say that this utility not only loads any number of cores with work in a very efficient manner, but also supports special AES instructions.

Data encryption is yet another task where the Core i7 series are much better than their cousins which lack Hyper-Threading. The Haswell microarchitecture shows its best here, so the difference between the Core 5 4000 and 3000 CPUs working at the same frequencies amounts to 4%. Compared to the Sandy Bridge, the Core i5-4670K enjoys a 22% advantage over the Core i5-2550K.

The popular scientific computations suite Wolfram Mathematica has been upgraded to version 9, so we again have it among our tests. We use its integrated benchmark MathematicaMark9.

The Haswell microarchitecture makes the new CPUs about 7% faster than their predecessors working at the same clock rate. Considering that not all of the Mathematica algorithms can be executed in parallel, that’s enough for the Core i5-4670K and Core i5-4570 to beat the LGA1155 flagship Core i7-3770K. The junior Haswell-based Core i5 isn’t fast here, though. The Core i5-4430 works at a lower clock rate and its Turbo Boost setup is not aggressive. That’s why it has the lowest MathematicaMark9 score among the tested Intel CPUs.

Rightware Browsermark 2.0 will help us evaluate the online performance of our CPUs. The benchmark uses latest web technologies such as JavaScript, HTML5, WebGL, CSS, etc. We launch it in Google Chrome 28.

Modern browsers are mostly single-threaded applications, yet this is not the only explanation of the results we see here. Intel’s new microarchitecture ensures a 10% advantage over the Ivy Bridge generation. And since the different CPUs do not differ much in performance within the same generation, the junior Core i5 4000 series product looks better than the Core i5-3570K.

We benchmark CPUs in Adobe Photoshop CS6 using our custom test that is based on the Retouch Artists Photoshop Speed Test and consists of typical processing of four 24-megapixel images captured with a digital camera.

We already noted in our earlier tests that the Haswell doesn’t provide any tangible benefits in Photoshop CS6. The same is true for the newer version of the popular image-editing suite. The Haswell-based products are about 6% faster than the Ivy Bridge series and 15% faster than the Sandy Bridge. The Core i5-4670K is again ahead of the Core i7-3770K, so the LGA1150 platform may be attractive for professional photographers and designers.

The performance in Adobe Premiere Pro CS6 is determined by the time it takes to render a Blu-ray project with a HDV 1080p25 video into H.264 format and apply different special effects to it.

Processing HD video content is a task that can be effectively executed in parallel on multiple CPU cores. As we noted above, the Haswell microarchitecture is perfect for such usage scenarios. That’s why the Core i5-4670K is 9% faster than the Core i5-3570K. Moreover, the senior Ivy Bridge Core i5 model is beaten by the Core i5-4570, which is a midrange Haswell. The junior model of the new series, Core i5-4430, is only capable of competing with the Core i5-2550K, though.

Performance in Adobe After Effects CC is measured as the time it takes to render a predefined 3D video using classic approach and to apply a set of filters and effects to it.

Like Premier Pro, the After Effects application can effectively run on multiple CPU cores, so the Haswell-based CPUs can show their best and outperform their predecessors by about 8%. The Core i7-3770K is about 8% ahead of the Core i5-4670K, though. It means that the benefits of the new microarchitecture cannot outweigh the benefits of Hyper-Threading. AMD’s 8-core FX-8350 is good at processing video, too. It is about as fast as the midrange models of the new Core i5 series.

In order to measure how fast our testing participants can transcode a video into H.264 format we used x264 FHD Benchmark 1.0.1 (64 bit). It works with an original MPEG-4/AVC video recorded in 1920x1080@50fps resolution with 30 Mbps bitrate and measures the time it takes x264 r2334 coder to convert the video. I have to say that the results of this test are of great practical value, because the x264 codec is also part of numerous popular transcoding utilities, such as HandBrake, MeGUI, VirtualDub, etc. We occasionally update the coder used in this performance test. This time we used version r2345, which supports all contemporary instruction sets including AVX2.

Considering that the x264 codec uses the newest instructions introduced in the Haswell microarchitecture, we shouldn't be surprised at their advantage over the older CPUs. For example, the Core i5-4670K is as much as 18% faster than the Core i5-3570K which works at the same clock rate. The junior Core i5-4430 is comparable to the best of the previous-generation Core i5 CPUs as the result. So, Haswell CPUs have huge potential and it’s up to programmers to make full use of it. On the other hand, the updated Core i5 series cannot match the Core i7-3770K with its Hyper-Threading. They are also slower than the AMD FX-8350 which is very good at processing video content.

We will test mental ray rendering speeds on a specially prepared complex scene in Autodesk 3ds max 2014:

The Haswell’s improvements ensure a 13% performance boost for the final rendering in 3ds max 2014. As a result, most of the Core i5 4000 series CPUs are faster than their predecessors. The Core i5-4670K is almost as fast as the higher-class Core i7-3770K. The junior model Core i5-4430 works at a rather low clock rate and falls behind the Core i5-3470 and Core i5-2550K.

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