Articles: CPU

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Performance in Applications

To test the processors performance during data archiving we resort to WinRAR archiving utility. Using maximum compression rate we archive a folder with multiple files with 1.1 GB total size.

WinRAR version 4.2 has been significantly optimized for multi-threading that is why AMD FX processors do pretty well here. This is exactly why eight-core FX from Vishera generation outperform Core i5, and the six-core FX-6300 starts breathing down its neck, too. However, the performance improvement we see in Piledriver products, doesn’t occur in FX-4300. AMD not only took away half of its cores, but also removed half f its L3 cache memory, setting it up to be defeated by FX-4170 and Core i3-3240.

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.

Cryptographic tasks are a great way of uncovering the advantages of the AMD microarchitectures. Here FX-8350 works even faster than the top LGA 1155 Intel Core i7-3770K, and the FX-3820 with lower nominal clock speed falls just a tiny bit behind it. The six- and quad-core Piledriver processors also share the success of their flagship brothers. FX-6300 manages to outperform Core i5-3570K, while FX-4300 gets far ahead of the competitor’s Core i3 CPU. At the same time, new microarchitecture is not the primary contributing factor to this success. FX-8320 is only 2% faster than FX-8150, while FX-6300 is 5% ahead of FX-6200, and FX-4300 falls irreparably behind FX-4170. In other words, the 15% performance advantage of the flagship Vishera CPU over the corresponding Zambezi processor, which we admired during the very first test session featuring the newest member of the Piledriver FX family, should be attributed solely to the boosted clock frequencies.

We use Apple iTunes utility to test audio transcoding speed. During this test we transcode the contents of a CD disk into AAC format. Note that the peculiarity of this program is the exclusive single-threaded load.

Unfortunately, contemporary Socket AM3+ processors can’t offer us decent performance under single-threaded load. The weakness of Bulldozer (and now Piledriver) cores pushes even the top FX-8350 behind the Pentium G2120. Vishera processors have becomes a little faster than their predecessors, but it didn’t change anything in the global scope.

Now that the eighth version of the popular scientific Mathematica suite is available, we decided to bring it back as one of our regular benchmarks. We use MathematicaMark8 integrated into this suite to test the systems performance:

Wolfram Mathematica 8 is yet another example of an application where AMD products are in big trouble. We are not dealing with single-threaded load here, but the peculiarities of the FX processors microarchitecture again cause fiasco. Contemporary AMD processors only have one FPU per each dual-core module, which leads to low performance when working with floating-point numbers.

We measured the performance in Adobe Photoshop CS6 using our own benchmark made from Retouch Artists Photoshop Speed Test that has been creatively modified. It includes typical editing of four 24-megapixel images from a digital photo camera.

AMD FX processors can’t boast high performance results in Adobe Photoshop. Without the resource-hungry filters, but during the typical versatile image processing eight- and six-core FX processors on Piledriver microarchitecture turn out even slower than the dual-core Core i3-3240. However, this can still be considered an achievement, because the previous generation FX processors got defeated even by Pentium G2120.

We have also performed some tests in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4.2 program. The test scenario includes post-processing and export into JPEG format of two hundred 12-megapixel images in RAW format.

Adobe Lightroom knows how to process photographs using multiple threads, which immediately affects the results and improves AMD FX numbers. However, even though different Vishera models get as much as 16% faster than their Zambezi predecessors, they still cannot outperform Core i5 on Ivy Bridge. The junior FX from the new generation even falls behind FX-4170, which once again shows that cutting the L3 cache in half was a really bad idea for FX-4300.

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.

High definition video content processing is one of the best types of load for multi-core AMD processors. Besides, the new Piledriver microarchitecture works really well in applications like that. Vishera gets as much as 21% better than Zambezi in the same tests, which add up to the average of 12%. As a result, FX-8350 works better here than Core i5-3570K, FX-8320 almost reaches the level of Core i5-3470, and FX-6300 and FX-4300 are confidently ahead of Intel’s dual-core Ivy Bridge offerings, including the ones with Hyper-Threading support.

In order to measure how fast our testing participants can transcode a video into H.264 format we used x264 HD Benchmark 5.0. It works with an original MPEG-2 video recorded in 1080p resolution with 20 Mbps bitrate. 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.

HD video transcoding is another AMD-friendly task. We can clearly see it from the performance numbers demonstrated by the FX-8000 series processors. They prove capable of competing not only against Core i5, but even against the flagship LGA 1155 Core i7-3770K. However, high performance of the top Vishera processors during multi-threaded load is not typical of the simpler processor models. Note that FX-6300 is 70% behind FX-8350, while FX-4300 is even slower than half the speed of the eight-core CPU. As a result, the six- and quad-core Socket AM3+ processors can’t get even remotely close to the junior Core i5. They can only try to challenge Intel Core i3.

We will test computational performance and rendering speeds in Autodesk 3ds max 2011 using the special SPECapc for 3ds max 2011 benchmark:

Rendering is yet another example of a multi-threaded task, where AMD processors can unveil their strengths. New Piledriver microarchitecture does pretty well here. As a result, FX-8350 outperforms FX-8150 by as much as 20% and is even faster than Core i5-3570K. FX-8320 with lower clock speeds is only 6% faster than FX-8150, but it is more than enough for this processor to find its way into the pack of Core i5 Ivy Bridge CPUs. The six-core FX-6300 is 12% faster than the previous generation FX-6200, but it falls noticeably behind Core i5 series. As for the quad-core FX-4300, its performance is about the same as that of the FX-4170, which places it at the level of Intel Core i3.

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