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  • SharkyForums.Com - Print: Pentium 4 Discussion - Round 2

    Pentium 4 Discussion - Round 2
    By Arcadian November 20, 2000, 12:51 PM

    I want this discussion to take a slightly different route than the Pentium 4 Pros and Cons discussion of last week. Here, we already know how the Pentium 4 performs. If you have not, I suggest you check out the following sites. www.sharkyextreme.com (if you haven't been here yet, what are you doing on the forums ) www.anandtech.com www.tomshardware.com www.aceshardware.com

    I want to concentrate this discussion on the following topics.

    A) Pure performance. At 1.5GHz, the Pentium 4 is underwhelming. However, from multiple prerelease scores leaked around the Internet, expectations were down. However, in light of current offerings from other processor families, how do you rate the Pentium 4 in regards to the Pentium III 1GHz, the Athlon with 1.2GHz SDR, and the Athlon 1.2GHz with DDR.

    B) Performance with individual programs. It is clear that the Pentium 4 really underperforms with Office Productivity software. How would this affect you. Do you think that Office Productivity does not need to go faster anyways, or is it a big deal for you? How about video and audio encoding. The Pentium 4 beats all compeition with video, but audio seems to lag. How do you feel about this? Next, how about 3D games? The Pentium 4 really accelerates Quake III, yet Expendable seriously underperforms. MDK and Unreal Tournement seem at parity. What is you comment here, and do you have a technical explaination on why the performance varies so much? Finally, workstation apps really underperform, including 3D Studio. How do you feel about this, and do you have any technical information about why this happens?

    C) Optimizations. This is a common theme among reviewers. Even AMD biased Tom Pabst agrees that the Pentium 4 will grow with time, and with optimizations, especially SSE-2. How do you think these enhansements will affect programs mentioned above. Also, how long do you expect these optimizations to filter into the market? Finally, do you think AMD's K8 system will be able to take advantage of such optimizations in SSE-2 when it is released?

    D) Overclocking. Sharky and Tom Pabst both have looked into overclocking. Sharky was able to adjust the multiplier to reach 1.6GHz, and Tom was able to adjust both multiplier and front side bus to achieve speeds of up to 1.73GHz. Holy Moly, that's fast! Clearly this demonstrates superiority in the Pentium 4 design with regard to clock speed. It also shows that 1.7GHz Pentium 4 chips are right around the corner. How do you feel about this? Does overclocking add value to the Pentium 4?

    E) Future products. This will be mostly speculation, but I want to hear discussions on how you think the Pentium 4 will compete with Palomino. Do you think that faster clock speeds will allow the Pentium 4 to keep up? Do you think that Palomino will be able to be as low priced as the Thunderbird? Also, how do you see price being affected for Intel and AMD over the next months. Finally, do you expect Intel's second generation Pentium 4, Northwood, to increase performance and compete with Palomino?

    Let's hear your discussions. Opinions are welcome, as long as you can back yourself up. One line opinions are not appropriate, in other words. Any technical knowledge is encouraged, since this is the technical forum. I look forward to hearing from you guys.

    By Sol November 21, 2000, 08:22 AM

    Well, I have read only one review and looking at the background, I believe the P4 wont be very popular right now. However, I believe intel has positioned it to be very promising in the future. With 2ghz coming out in the near future (I will believe it when it happens). Once I read some more reviews I will give a little more feedback.

    By cracKrock November 21, 2000, 10:45 AM

    It seems like the first releases of every generation of the Pentium processor iteration are underwhelming performers. I guess I shouldn't have been, but I was really disappointed with the performance benchmarks I've seen so far. I was expecting the P4 to destroy everything that's currently out. Instead, the Athlon 1.2Ghz kept up quite nicely. The P3 1Ghz isn't too far behind to make it obsolete, either.

    If you factor price into the equation, the P4 is a huge loser. Dual RDRAM channels??? Holy cow, this thing is going to seriously set you back some bucks. If Rambus could solve their high latency problems, their technology might be worth it. But, their high-bancwidth is negated by their high-latency.

    Our computers, by definition, are general purpose devices. Ok, so the P4 may get 200fps in Q3 at 640x480 resolution. But, it really lags behind in general office-type applications. So, what's the incentive for businesses to upgrade? Also, home users aren't playing Quake all the time. We also use office apps.

    So... overall, I'm disappointed with the P4.

    By Humus November 21, 2000, 10:57 AM

    A)
    My point of view of general performance:
    Athlon 1.2GHz DDR - 135%
    Athlon 1.2GHz SDR - 125%
    P4 1.5GHz - 110%
    P3 1GHz - 100%

    B)
    Office productivity, well, no big deal for me at least.
    Video and Audio can take much advantage of SIMD optimizations and the high bandwidth. DCT/iDCT which is very central part of MPEG/MP3/JPEG etc are when properly optimized very parallel and could gain a lot of SIMD.
    Quake 3 has always been a memory hog, with the quad bus it wasn't a surprise that P4 would shine on this one. Other games seams to bring less impressive scores. Partly it could be still unoptimized drivers, but also that the P4 only has one SSE unit while P3 has two. The poor FPU isn't helping either, which probably is the key to the bad workstation apps performance.

    C)
    I think P4 will improve over time. The improvement will mostly be on P4 adapted instruction flow, and not SSE-2 optimizations. Don't expect SSE-2 to your improve gaming experience, the old SSE is much more suited for this since it works on floats while SSE-2 works on doubles. Games will always use floats, and graphic card drivers will always run optimally when passed floats. The extra precision added by doubles isn't needed for games, so processing two doubles in parallel instead of four floats isn't going to happend.

    D)
    Sure, o/c possibilities adds some value, but I think P4 will need to be released in higher frequencies soon to be really competitive.

    By Arcadian November 21, 2000, 12:42 PM

    quote:Originally posted by Humus:
    A)
    My point of view of general performance:
    Athlon 1.2GHz DDR - 135%
    Athlon 1.2GHz SDR - 125%
    P4 1.5GHz - 110%
    P3 1GHz - 100%

    I wanted to do a little analysis to see if your estimation prooves useful. I'm going to average actual scores from Sharky's, Anand's, Ace's, and Tom's Hardware web pages in productivity, games, video/audio, and other. The order will be Pentium III 1GHz (on i815 if possible), Pentium 4 1.5GHz, Athlon 1.2GHz, Athlon 1.2GHz+DDR. The Pentium III has a base of 100%

    Productivity:

    Tom's Hardware Sysmark:
    100% 95.2% 104.3% 115.5%

    Anand's Content Creation Winstone:
    100% 110.9% 111.1% 117.6%

    Sharky's Content Creation Winstone:
    100% 116.8% N/A 121.6%

    Sharky's Sysmark:
    100% 101.5% N/A 113.6%

    Average:
    100% 106.1% 107.7% 117.1%

    3D and Games

    Tom's Quake III:
    100% 132.7% 104.5% 116.7%

    Tom's MDK:
    100% 121.9% N/A 123.6%

    Anand's Unreal Tournament:
    100% 102.4% 104.1% 112.2%

    Sharky's 3D Mark (Win98):
    100% 127.8% N/A 117.5%

    Average:
    100% 121.2% 104.3% 117.5%

    Video/Audio

    Tom's Mpeg4 compression:
    100% 160% 114.3% 127.7%

    Ace's Hardware Soundforge (couldn't find similar bench on Anand's):
    100% 105.6% N/A 131.9%

    Ace's Hardware GoGo MP3:
    100% 113.6% N/A 129.3%

    Sharky's Windows Media Encoder:
    100% 194% N/A 125.5%

    Average:
    100% 143.3% 114.3% 128.6%

    Other
    Here I will take a wide range of tests where the Pentium 4 both underperforms and overperforms.

    Tom's 3D Studio MAX:
    100% 93.3% 175% 175%

    Tom's Linux Compile:
    100% 102.2% 122.7% 123.8%

    Anand's Spec Viewperf (average):
    100% 121.6% 115.5% 127.8%

    Sharky's Dragon Naturally Speaking:
    100% 114.5% N/A 112.5%

    Average: (Athlon 1.2GHz SDR weighs strangly due to excellent 3D Studio scores and missing Dragon score)
    100% 107.6% 137.7% 134.8%

    Now if we take Productivity, 3D games, Audio/Video, and other, and take a final average, this is what I get for overall processor advantage.

    Pentium III 1GHz on i815: 100%
    Pentium 4 1.5GHz on i850: 119.6%
    Athlon 1.2GHz on KT133 : 116%
    Athlon 1.2GHz on 760 DDR: 124.5%

    This is using a wide range of programs that show the strengths and weaknesses of the Pentium 4. I believe this to be a fair representation of the programs out there, and although the Athlon at 1.2GHz with DDR outpaces the Pentium 4 at 1.5GHz, the amount is not as much as you have made out. I think this is a much better comparison. Any comments from anyone?

    By Arcadian November 21, 2000, 12:50 PM

    I also wanted to add to my analysis the fact the SSE/SSE-2 optimizations should really improve upon the Pentium 4 is a lot of those scores, so I can see the Pentium 4 really leading by a larger margin by the end of 2001. I also wanted to mention that the Palomino Athlon may further AMD's lead as well, so between Intel's optimizations and AMD's new processor, things may get interesting, and either one can take the lead. Right now, though, the Pentium 4 is not a bad performer. It just costs too much.

    By JabberJaw November 21, 2000, 05:04 PM

    Arcadian, why do you suppose that the P4 performance spiked with Tom's Mpeg4 compression @160%, and Sharky's Windows Media Encoder @194%?

    By Arcadian November 21, 2000, 05:48 PM

    quote:Originally posted by JabberJaw:
    Arcadian, why do you suppose that the P4 performance spiked with Tom's Mpeg4 compression @160%, and Sharky's Windows Media Encoder @194%?

    I can't find where I read it, but someone on Ace's Forums had a theory that the compression codec found in mpeg and jpeg files is a very optimized codec with very predictable program flow. This is really what the Pentium 4 accels at, and also what it was designed from the beginning to do well in.

    You will probably also notice Tom's 3D Studio MAX test that has the complete opposite effect on the Pentium 4. I believe this may be a result of very floating point intensive code. The Pentium 4 was designed to have a powerful floating point engine, but only around the SSE/SSE-2 core. I really do expect to see the Pentium 4 meet or exceed the large Athlon performance gains in this test with proper SSE/SSE-2 enhansements.

    It goes to show that some applications should be able to benefit from Pentium 4 optimizations. These programs will probably be a long time in coming, but a year down the road, when Northwood becomes popular, I definately see Pentium 4 being the most compelling choice. This is just my opinion, though.

    By JabberJaw November 21, 2000, 06:33 PM

    So Arcadian, does that corollate to "streaming media performance", which along with high-bandwidth Internet connection, is touted to bring the next "killer apps" to the home? Will the Itanium also use the same SSE/SSE-2 core? (3D Studio MAX, and other such apps, will likely be optimized for workstations.)

    Also, I read that the performance 'hit' presently caused by large branch misprediction, essentially diminishes, as the core clock speed increases in relation to the memory bus speed. Along this line of thought, I've heard speculation that Intel could have split their production volume, and released 1.7Ghz (or faster) chips along with these 1.4/1.5 Ghz chips, but at lower quantities. Everything faster than 1.5Ghz was 'locked' to 1.4/1.5Ghz to ensure order volumes are being met. In other words, we could see major performance increases very soon, due simply to production ramping up. Does that make sense?

    Guess I'm bringing more questions than answers, I appreciate your responses, Thanks!

    By Phoenix November 21, 2000, 06:40 PM

    I was wondering how fast the P4 will reach, at it's max, with these increasingly fast speeds, it would seem to me that making sure the timing in these systems would be very har to control. Any repsonses would be appreciated

    By FragMaster November 21, 2000, 09:45 PM

    P4 LOOKS GOOD ON PAPER AND MIGHT PREFORM WELL WHEN SSE2 COMES OUT IN MORE POPULAR APPS, BUT THE COMPARISONS HAVE BEEN MESSURED BY SLOWER CLOCKED 1.2 GHZ ATHLONS. GIVEN THE DEPTH AMD'S PROCESSORS HAVE SCALED THERE IS MORE OF A MINOR GHZ PRE GHZ PREFORMANCE INCREASE!

    i like the idea that intel is trying to remove as many bottleneks as possible.
    but in tests is it really working?

    isn't one of AMD's new processors coming out this year going to be able to take advantage of sse and sse-2 ??

    just as many thought AMD was looking down the road building the new athlon core, intel is also took a peek when designing the P4.

    witch new generation cpu will stand the test of time?

    By Arcadian November 21, 2000, 09:47 PM

    quote:Originally posted by JabberJaw:
    So Arcadian, does that corollate to "streaming media performance", which along with high-bandwidth Internet connection, is touted to bring the next "killer apps" to the home? Will the Itanium also use the same SSE/SSE-2 core? (3D Studio MAX, and other such apps, will likely be optimized for workstations.)

    Also, I read that the performance 'hit' presently caused by large branch misprediction, essentially diminishes, as the core clock speed increases in relation to the memory bus speed. Along this line of thought, I've heard speculation that Intel could have split their production volume, and released 1.7Ghz (or faster) chips along with these 1.4/1.5 Ghz chips, but at lower quantities. Everything faster than 1.5Ghz was 'locked' to 1.4/1.5Ghz to ensure order volumes are being met. In other words, we could see major performance increases very soon, due simply to production ramping up. Does that make sense?

    Guess I'm bringing more questions than answers, I appreciate your responses, Thanks!

    Well, let me address you first question first. The Itanium will not use SSE or SSE-2, and the reason is that it won't have to. The Itanium actually has a more advanced SIMD operation native in the hardware.

    SSE gives the Pentium III and Pentium 4 128-bit SSE registers. By filling these registers with four 32-bit single precision numbers, SSE instructions can execute the contents simultaneously. SSE-2 allows 2 double precision 64-bit numbers to be used instead, which can accelerate apps that need the extra precision (scientific apps, for example).

    I believe the Itanium has 128 80-bit floating point registers. The extra bits allow for extended precision calculations, something that even SSE-2 doesn't allow. The Itanium is able to simultaneously execute the contents of 4 of these extended precision floating point registers, for a total of 4 extended or double precision floating point calculations, or 8 single precision floating point calculations EVERY CLOCK! So even though the Itanium doesn't clock higher than 800MHz, it packs a whallop in every one of those hertz. Consider it the antithesis of the Pentium 4 .

    Regarding your question on ramping up megahertz, I definately think it's possible. However, the last thing Intel wants is another 1.13GHz Pentium III fiasco. In other words, Intel will not release a new Pentium 4 unless it has plenty of headroom. This should be good news to overclockers, as they will probably be able to squeeze a couple hundred megahertz out of every Pentium 4 they buy. This means that if Intel decides to release 2.0GHz in Q3 2001, they should be able to actually produce them up to 2.2GHz. And this is all on a .18u process!

    I believe scalability to be much higher on .13u. To address a concern made by Phoenix, I believe that Intel has already thought ahead, and is already prepared to deal with the problems associated with > 2.0GHz clock speeds. The EMI grounding clamp and new 12 volt power supplies are just a few of the obvious precautions already being implemented. You didn't think that 1.5GHz actually needed these things, did you?

    There are actually some other goodies that I know about, but am not at liberty to divulge. There are also some VERY interesting features that will come on a soon to be released update to the Pentium 4 architecture that I have recently been made aware of, but yet again, I am not at liberty to divulge. I will say one thing, though. Do not count Intel out of the server market because they don't have a dual processor solution just yet .

    By CajnDave November 21, 2000, 10:01 PM

    I saw on Tech TV tonight that Intel is recalling the P4 because of wrong software codeing or something to that effect.

    By Arcadian November 21, 2000, 10:18 PM

    quote:Originally posted by CajnDave:
    I saw on Tech TV tonight that Intel is recalling the P4 because of wrong software codeing or something to that effect.

    I am making this post less rude, since I don't think my last post was very deserving. I kind of jumped the gun, too, so I appologize. However, I still believe it inappropriate to spread rumors that are unsubstantiated, and can give a wrong impression of the facts, especially when the truth can easily be looked up. If anyone is interested in the actual article, you can read my reply to CajnDave in the CPU forum, so I don't have to make the same post thrice.

    By CajnDave November 21, 2000, 10:22 PM

    quote:Originally posted by Arcadian:
    [B] You DOLT! Here is the excerpt from Tech TV's web site.

    B]

    Thanks for the nice correction.
    Talk to Tech TV. I just repeated what they said . I wasn't trying to start rumors I thought someone might find it interesting. I'm not in the rumor business. I didn't mean any harm. I have nothing agianst Intel I have a PIII in my current sys.

    By gaffo November 21, 2000, 10:24 PM

    quote:Originally posted by Arcadian:
    Well, let me address you first question first. The Itanium will not use SSE or SSE-2, and the reason is that it won't have to. The Itanium actually has a more advanced SIMD operation native in the hardware.

    SSE gives the Pentium III and Pentium 4 128-bit SSE registers. By filling these registers with four 32-bit single precision numbers, SSE instructions can execute the contents simultaneously. SSE-2 allows 2 double precision 64-bit numbers to be used instead, which can accelerate apps that need the extra precision (scientific apps, for example).

    I believe the Itanium has 128 80-bit floating point registers. The extra bits allow for extended precision calculations, something that even SSE-2 doesn't allow. The Itanium is able to simultaneously execute the contents of 4 of these extended precision floating point registers, for a total of 4 extended or double precision floating point calculations, or 8 single precision floating point calculations EVERY CLOCK! So even though the Itanium doesn't clock higher than 800MHz, it packs a whallop in every one of those hertz. Consider it the antithesis of the Pentium 4 .

    Regarding your question on ramping up megahertz, I definately think it's possible. However, the last thing Intel wants is another 1.13GHz Pentium III fiasco. In other words, Intel will not release a new Pentium 4 unless it has plenty of headroom. This should be good news to overclockers, as they will probably be able to squeeze a couple hundred megahertz out of every Pentium 4 they buy. This means that if Intel decides to release 2.0GHz in Q3 2001, they should be able to actually produce them up to 2.2GHz. And this is all on a .18u process!

    I believe scalability to be much higher on .13u. To address a concern made by Phoenix, I believe that Intel has already thought ahead, and is already prepared to deal with the problems associated with > 2.0GHz clock speeds. The EMI grounding clamp and new 12 volt power supplies are just a few of the obvious precautions already being implemented. You didn't think that 1.5GHz actually needed these things, did you?

    There are actually some other goodies that I know about, but am not at liberty to divulge. There are also some VERY interesting features that will come on a soon to be released update to the Pentium 4 architecture that I have recently been made aware of, but yet again, I am not at liberty to divulge. I will say one thing, though. Do not count Intel out of the server market because they don't have a dual processor solution just yet .

    Hi Arcadian! - So the Itaniam will not use sse/sse-2? - then why will the 3d-studio programers (and lightwave etc...) rewrite from x87 to sse-2 if only the p-4 will use it?. Also x87 uses 80-bit and sse-2 uses 64-bit. You state a logical outline in post one, but you assume sse-2 will be adopted (post "c") and become mainstream!. MMX is not mainsteam and its had 5-years!. I still think slow x87 is suicide - and the de-facto standard (whether you like-it of not). WRT to memory bandwidth - the k-7 will have 400 mhz soon and the p-4 will really start to look bad. intel needs to add performance to the x87 fpu (if their smart they will for the northwood), - I know your an Intel guy, and no disrespect intended, but Intel does'nt have the power they used to (now 80-percent market), and I don't think they have the influence to "force" sse-2 adoption (in the majority of software - Quake-4 asside).

    By Arcadian November 21, 2000, 10:58 PM

    quote:Originally posted by gaffo:
    Hi Arcadian! - So the Itaniam will not use sse/sse-2? - then why will the 3d-studio programers (and lightwave etc...) rewrite from x87 to sse-2 if only the p-4 will use it?. Also x87 uses 80-bit and sse-2 uses 64-bit. You state a logical outline in post one, but you assume sse-2 will be adopted (post "c") and become mainstream!.

    The Itanium is meant for a different market than the Pentium 4. It will have its own optimizations meant for a completely different architecture. It is unlikely that very much about the Pentium 4 and Itanium will be similar.

    quote:Originally posted by gaffo:
    MMX is not mainsteam and its had 5-years!. I still think slow x87 is suicide - and the de-facto standard (whether you like-it of not).

    I have to disagree with that. I believe MMX has become quite ubiquitous in software. In fact, you probably use it in most of your programs and don't even know it. Even AMD processors include MMX extensions, so I have a hard time believing that programs don't use a feature that is so easy to develop for.

    quote:Originally posted by gaffo:
    WRT to memory bandwidth - the k-7 will have 400 mhz soon and the p-4 will really start to look bad. intel needs to add performance to the x87 fpu (if their smart they will for the northwood)

    Will they? That seems unlikely to me, given that AMD is not currently able to do a number of things they have already promised by this time. If you don't know what I'm talking about, then AMD marketing seems to have worked on you. Where are DP Athlon servers? They were supposed to be here by now, yet have been delayed to Q2 2001. Where is Palomino? That should have been here last month, yet that has been delayed until Q1 2001. AMD makes a lot of promises, but some of them are harder to deliver than others. In light of AMD's recent delays, and the fact that 400MHz front side busses are nowhere at all on their roadmap, and the fact that 266MHz Athlons are still not available, I would have to conclude that you won't see 400MHz front side buses for a long time, and probably not through next year.

    quote:Originally posted by gaffo:
    I know your an Intel guy, and no disrespect intended, but Intel does'nt have the power they used to (now 80-percent market), and I don't think they have the influence to "force" sse-2 adoption (in the majority of software - Quake-4 asside).

    Gaffo, I see your general point, and it is well taken. The best Intel can hope for is to lead the horse to water, but even they can't make him drink. In other words, Intel is able to show that optimizations are possible. They can also show that optimizations yield large performance increases, and they can even make optimized libraries available. However, there are even programmers out there afraid to hit the optimize switch on their compilers, so how are they supposed to be able to make SSE-2 popular?

    If this is the case, then I think this stems from a bigger problem in the industry, and that is that software innovation is not able to keep up with hardware. The old x87 FPU has reached the point of limited returns. Even Athlon designers would have sworn up and down about 2x or 3x FP improvements in their core before they released it, and it still takes a little work to reach 20%-30% gains.

    Hardware can't hope to get huge performance any more in the x86 world. Most improvements in hardware at this point require a certain amount of optimizations in order to achieve better performance. The Athlon is the result of some of the best engineers brute forcing the best theories and ideas, and even after it all, it bearly keeps up with a Pentium III. The Pentium 4 is a crippled processor without enhansements, and when the designers were thinking about how to implement certain ideas 5 years ago, they must have certainly thought that software would be a lot different than it is today.

    I'm sure they were expecting great improvements, and yet here we are still using the same word processors and spreadsheets that we used 5 years ago (with little added value). Your favorite program, Gaffo, is 3D Studio, and if you think that program is not in need of a dire upgrade, than I don't know what is. If anything, I would expect that Kinetix would be overjoyed to have Intel optimizations in their rendering package. If anything, it would increase how compelling the package would be if it could gain a 50% improvement in speed. If you do not think this is the case, then I see a dark future for the industry in general.

    With fewer software optimizations, I would say that bloatware is pretty much the software of the future. Maybe Microsoft has the right idea to create sliding windows, and user dialogues to take up all that CPU time, rather than actually putting it to good use. If that is the future, though, then I am ready to retire.

    However, I would hope that isn't the case, and that developers will embrase SSE with time, especially when they see the improvements that are possible. MMX was a different story because it was hard to code, and only allowed for small performance gains. If Intel can show SSE to be easier, while showing the performance it has in SPEC scores, etc, then I believe they can be pretty successful with getting developers excited. This is just my opinion, though.

    By jtshaw November 22, 2000, 12:48 AM

    I have to add something I don't believe has been touched here yet about a feature brought to us by the P4 that I really like...as did Tom. That feature is the new PC spec. the P4 requires. Some poeple think this sucks and say that it shouldn't be neccesary but I think they are flat out wrong. We have seen many problems with AMD chips compatibility because they did not require better power supplies and such. I also really like the idea of a grounded heatsink for blocking EMI and the fact the heatsink doesn't require the motherboard PCB to support it (specially since it is so damn heavy!). I think AMD would be smart to try and adapt the same new standards Intel is trying to push.

    By Elxman November 22, 2000, 12:52 AM

    I honestly don't know weather it'll be a success or a failure but I'm leaning more towards success, since I own a old classic
    P-150 and here I'm running on a blazingly fast P3-933 and wondering how can it be the same core?
    and since the P4-1.4ghz is basically the next step from P3-1ghz, we already knows that it performs all the way on top.(maybe it doesn't beat it but it's plenty fast enough) so I think Intel will enhance the willamette core and after 5years we'll be at the same situation where there's a new core.
    I get this mainly because I belive history repeats itself
    I heard some ppl talking about the limits of the X86 (or X87 don't know much about it, is it a machine code?) I think the p4 will be one of the last ones for it 'cause most ppl here seem to be saying that unless the software has the optimizations it will not perform any better. and I think it is true.
    too old I guess (what was is 1979 when 8086 was released? that means atleast 21yrs)

    By gaffo November 22, 2000, 02:21 AM

    Hey Arcadian - I agree about AMD's lack of mobo DDR speeds. This is becuase of AMD's small size and reliance upon 3-d party mobo makers (ALI and VIA). Not a lot they can do to speed mobo improvements - there chip has been held back by poor memory/mobos for over a year now - so ya it'll prob. be a least one more year before 400 mhz is here - but the EV? bus supports that speed - so it'll show up sometime.
    Hey about the x87 and the k-7's speed being only a little more than the p-3! I think mostly that is due to lack of Athlon optimized code! - since the k-7's x87 fpu is 33-percent faster, then optimized x87 code would run 33-percent faster on the k-7 compared to the p-3. Most apps don't (but 3d-studio does, and I'm curious if this app is optimised for the k-7 since it really clobbers the p-3). The other thing holding back the x87 is the same as the rest of the ahtlon chip - poor memory bandwidth, rel. poor branch predictor. The k-7 is a x86 alpha WRT classic fpu.
    About the 3d-studio needing a rewrite. This program really is one of the best. Release 3 is a new rewrite with a new rendering engine - with specular and rediosity and NURBS and metaballs. Its a lot more powerful than Lightwave (IMO) and has a great render quality - Maybe the 3d best x86 rendering app (just behind Softimage and Maya).
    I also like Linux and I doubt that many opensource/free ware apps will rewrite for sse. Sse seems to be a "Wintel" thing - so if its not windows or another big player, the apps may not have support. About "bloat", I think most bloat is commercial justification to upgrade more than limits to the x86 code base. A lot of the free linux apps are often twice the speed and half recource dependant than windows apps (even the ones with extenion code). Gimp and Blender-2 are very fast apps, I although I don't know they don't have MMX, or SSE, I'd be surprised if they did.

    By Arcadian November 22, 2000, 11:20 AM

    quote:Originally posted by gaffo:
    Hey Arcadian - I agree about AMD's lack of mobo DDR speeds. This is becuase of AMD's small size and reliance upon 3-d party mobo makers (ALI and VIA). Not a lot they can do to speed mobo improvements - there chip has been held back by poor memory/mobos for over a year now - so ya it'll prob. be a least one more year before 400 mhz is here - but the EV? bus supports that speed - so it'll show up sometime.
    Hey about the x87 and the k-7's speed being only a little more than the p-3! I think mostly that is due to lack of Athlon optimized code! - since the k-7's x87 fpu is 33-percent faster, then optimized x87 code would run 33-percent faster on the k-7 compared to the p-3. Most apps don't (but 3d-studio does, and I'm curious if this app is optimised for the k-7 since it really clobbers the p-3). The other thing holding back the x87 is the same as the rest of the ahtlon chip - poor memory bandwidth, rel. poor branch predictor. The k-7 is a x86 alpha WRT classic fpu.
    About the 3d-studio needing a rewrite. This program really is one of the best. Release 3 is a new rewrite with a new rendering engine - with specular and rediosity and NURBS and metaballs. Its a lot more powerful than Lightwave (IMO) and has a great render quality - Maybe the 3d best x86 rendering app (just behind Softimage and Maya).
    I also like Linux and I doubt that many opensource/free ware apps will rewrite for sse. Sse seems to be a "Wintel" thing - so if its not windows or another big player, the apps may not have support. About "bloat", I think most bloat is commercial justification to upgrade more than limits to the x86 code base. A lot of the free linux apps are often twice the speed and half recource dependant than windows apps (even the ones with extenion code). Gimp and Blender-2 are very fast apps, I although I don't know they don't have MMX, or SSE, I'd be surprised if they did.

    I was not aware of some of the features available in Release 3 of 3D Studio MAX. It does seem that they have outdone themselves in the area of features.

    The explanation of why the Athlon does well in 3D Studio is because of the Athlon's dual FPU pipelines for ADD and MULT. Athlon designers knew that 3D would be a popular technology, so they designed the Athlon around that. 3D transformations usually use a lot of ADD and MULT instructions, so having a separate pipeline for each allows the Athlon to excel in 3D transform code.

    However, this kind of code lends itself even better to SSE, and I still believe Kinetix to be foolish to miss the opportunity to include SSE optimizations in their code.

    As for Linux, I see the complete opposite happening than you suggest. Open source communities are more likely to implement new instruction sets, as they have less of an agenda in bringing products out. You will notice that the Linux community has always made optimizations when possible, which is one of the reasons why Linux and Linux programs run so fast on PCs. I would think that SSE optimizations to be quite popular in the Linux world.

    You even agree that Linux applications are the antithesis of bloatware. It may come to pass that the PC world embrases the Linux community because of this fact. Microsoft can't keep bloating their software forever, as it will surely turn a lot of people towards other alternatives. I think it may be possible for Linux to save the PC if it ever catches on.

    We'll have to see if this has any chance in happening.

    By jtshaw November 22, 2000, 11:29 AM

    Saying the OpenSource community won't adapt things like SSE is kinda rediculous. Take a close look into things and you will see operating systems and programs spawning from the opensource community have support and optimizations for more platforms then most people have ever even heard of. Us members of the OpenSource community believe in bringing software to as many people as possible in the best way possible. I guarentee linux and other opensource os's as well as apps will use SSE optimizations at some point.

    Why is it people automaticaly assume linux isn't going to support something when if you actually look into it you will see linux (and it isn't alone..BSD and many other unix-likes are in the same situation) have more support for different things then Windows by a long shot? It is often just different kinds of support and support for devices gamers don't often come accross.

    Sorry for the rant... but maybe somebody will listen this time... not sure why I bother.

    By Arcadian November 22, 2000, 12:53 PM

    quote:Originally posted by jtshaw:
    Saying the OpenSource community won't adapt things like SSE is kinda rediculous. Take a close look into things and you will see operating systems and programs spawning from the opensource community have support and optimizations for more platforms then most people have ever even heard of. Us members of the OpenSource community believe in bringing software to as many people as possible in the best way possible. I guarentee linux and other opensource os's as well as apps will use SSE optimizations at some point.

    Why is it people automaticaly assume linux isn't going to support something when if you actually look into it you will see linux (and it isn't alone..BSD and many other unix-likes are in the same situation) have more support for different things then Windows by a long shot? It is often just different kinds of support and support for devices gamers don't often come accross.

    Sorry for the rant... but maybe somebody will listen this time... not sure why I bother.

    Jtshaw, I read a lot of your posts, and find them very informative. I just wanted you to know that I for one appreciate your feedback. Rant on... rant on.

    PS... I also agree that the Linux community to be among the first to embrace new technologies.

    By Humus November 22, 2000, 06:47 PM

    quote:Originally posted by Arcadian:
    I wanted to do a little analysis to see if your estimation prooves useful. I'm going to average actual scores from Sharky's, Anand's, Ace's, and Tom's Hardware web pages in productivity, games, video/audio, and other. The order will be Pentium III 1GHz (on i815 if possible), Pentium 4 1.5GHz, Athlon 1.2GHz, Athlon 1.2GHz+DDR. The Pentium III has a base of 100%

    [b]Productivity:

    Tom's Hardware Sysmark:
    100% 95.2% 104.3% 115.5%

    Anand's Content Creation Winstone:
    100% 110.9% 111.1% 117.6%

    Sharky's Content Creation Winstone:
    100% 116.8% N/A 121.6%

    Sharky's Sysmark:
    100% 101.5% N/A 113.6%

    Average:
    100% 106.1% 107.7% 117.1%

    3D and Games

    Tom's Quake III:
    100% 132.7% 104.5% 116.7%

    Tom's MDK:
    100% 121.9% N/A 123.6%

    Anand's Unreal Tournament:
    100% 102.4% 104.1% 112.2%

    Sharky's 3D Mark (Win98):
    100% 127.8% N/A 117.5%

    Average:
    100% 121.2% 104.3% 117.5%

    Video/Audio

    Tom's Mpeg4 compression:
    100% 160% 114.3% 127.7%

    Ace's Hardware Soundforge (couldn't find similar bench on Anand's):
    100% 105.6% N/A 131.9%

    Ace's Hardware GoGo MP3:
    100% 113.6% N/A 129.3%

    Sharky's Windows Media Encoder:
    100% 194% N/A 125.5%

    Average:
    100% 143.3% 114.3% 128.6%

    Other
    Here I will take a wide range of tests where the Pentium 4 both underperforms and overperforms.

    Tom's 3D Studio MAX:
    100% 93.3% 175% 175%

    Tom's Linux Compile:
    100% 102.2% 122.7% 123.8%

    Anand's Spec Viewperf (average):
    100% 121.6% 115.5% 127.8%

    Sharky's Dragon Naturally Speaking:
    100% 114.5% N/A 112.5%

    Average: (Athlon 1.2GHz SDR weighs strangly due to excellent 3D Studio scores and missing Dragon score)
    100% 107.6% 137.7% 134.8%

    Now if we take Productivity, 3D games, Audio/Video, and other, and take a final average, this is what I get for overall processor advantage.

    Pentium III 1GHz on i815: 100%
    Pentium 4 1.5GHz on i850: 119.6%
    Athlon 1.2GHz on KT133 : 116%
    Athlon 1.2GHz on 760 DDR: 124.5%

    This is using a wide range of programs that show the strengths and weaknesses of the Pentium 4. I believe this to be a fair representation of the programs out there, and although the Athlon at 1.2GHz with DDR outpaces the Pentium 4 at 1.5GHz, the amount is not as much as you have made out. I think this is a much better comparison. Any comments from anyone?[/B]

    Oki, thanks for adding up the scores. I just did some very rough estimations and weighted in thing I find more important (such as FPU stuff) slightly more heavily than other stuff. But if you take the whole application spectrum into account your summations are probably a very good genereal performance indicatino.

    By Humus November 22, 2000, 06:49 PM

    quote:Originally posted by Arcadian:
    I also wanted to add to my analysis the fact the SSE/SSE-2 optimizations should really improve upon the Pentium 4 is a lot of those scores, so I can see the Pentium 4 really leading by a larger margin by the end of 2001. I also wanted to mention that the Palomino Athlon may further AMD's lead as well, so between Intel's optimizations and AMD's new processor, things may get interesting, and either one can take the lead. Right now, though, the Pentium 4 is not a bad performer. It just costs too much.

    I expect SSE to continue to get more support while SSE-2 will be less important since it's only useful to scientific applications which needs the added precision.

    By Humus November 22, 2000, 06:57 PM

    quote:Originally posted by Arcadian:
    I can't find where I read it, but someone on Ace's Forums had a theory that the compression codec found in mpeg and jpeg files is a very optimized codec with very predictable program flow. This is really what the Pentium 4 accels at, and also what it was designed from the beginning to do well in.

    Yes, the JPEG/MPEG coding consists of many highly parallel operations. Only the BitStream packing and ZigZag reordering parts can't take any significant advantage of SIMD optimizations, but most other stuff such as DTC/iDCT, colorspace conversion and shifting gains a lot from SIMD.

    By Humus November 22, 2000, 07:14 PM

    quote:Originally posted by Arcadian:
    I have to disagree with that. I believe MMX has become quite ubiquitous in software. In fact, you probably use it in most of your programs and don't even know it. Even AMD processors include MMX extensions, so I have a hard time believing that programs don't use a feature that is so easy to develop for.

    ...

    MMX was a different story because it was hard to code, and only allowed for small performance gains

    Eh, is MMX hard or not?

    Actually, MMX isn't used in many applications since most compiler don't generate MMX code and MMX is only applicable to certain types of applications, the same goes for SSE/SSE-2/3dnow.

    By Humus November 22, 2000, 07:16 PM

    quote:Originally posted by Elxman:
    I heard some ppl talking about the limits of the X86 (or X87 don't know much about it, is it a machine code?)

    x87 is the FPU.

    By gaffo November 23, 2000, 12:27 AM

    hey guys - check out tom's updated p-4 review - looks like the high quality setting for DVD/mpeg conversion under the flask(something) program uses x87 fpu, and the k-7 wins two to one.

    By Arcadian November 23, 2000, 12:33 AM

    quote:Originally posted by gaffo:
    hey guys - check out tom's updated p-4 review - looks like the high quality setting for DVD/mpeg conversion under the flask(something) program uses x87 fpu, and the k-7 wins two to one.

    The results aren't too surprising, are they? Man, that guy would do anything to stick it to Intel.

    By slipgun November 23, 2000, 03:14 AM

    In my opinion, right now, the P4 is just a chip to "get people talking"... to the average Joe the P4 1.5GHz is going to look much better than the T-bird 1.2GHz and he'll form the opinion that "Intel is better"

    The P4 is way to expensive and not really worth the money, what with the Almador chipset that only supports RDRAM... it'll only be good when the Northwood versions will be released, possibly supporting DDR

    The P3 has life left in it, after Intel shrinks to a .13 die, it'll reach higher speeds, beating out the P4, which'll only be competitive after Intel shrinks it to a .13 die... whenever that'll happen... anyway, it should be pretty competitive when prices fall & 2GHz versions are available

    By casanova November 23, 2000, 01:57 PM

    quote:Originally posted by Arcadian:
    The results aren't too surprising, are they? Man, that guy would do anything to stick it to Intel.

    Your own numbers have shown that AMD is overall better then the new P4. So how is Tom so bad at bashing Intel for releasing a product that is EXPENSIVE and UNDERPERFORMS. We all agree on the above so why is it so hard to say the product is not any good. Well it will be good when this program comes out, or it will be good when it hits 2+ GHz. I am talking about NOW, THE PRESENT. For now the P4 is not worth is weight in gold. We know not what the future will bring.

    Bill P

    Keeping my P3 700 @ 980 MHz for a very long time.

    By Arcadian November 23, 2000, 02:41 PM

    quote:Originally posted by casanova:
    Your own numbers have shown that AMD is overall better then the new P4. So how is Tom so bad at bashing Intel for releasing a product that is EXPENSIVE and UNDERPERFORMS. We all agree on the above so why is it so hard to say the product is not any good. Well it will be good when this program comes out, or it will be good when it hits 2+ GHz. I am talking about NOW, THE PRESENT. For now the P4 is not worth is weight in gold. We know not what the future will bring.

    Bill P

    Keeping my P3 700 @ 980 MHz for a very long time.

    My only gripe with Dr. Thomas Pabst was the fact that he turned his review around 180 degrees based soley on the results of one option in one test. I would even say his first review was somewhat positive towards the Pentium 4, yet his update was downright bashing it. Although he does have a good point, I think it's more his bias and ego working the discussion rather than the actual truth.

    My opinion is that the Pentium 4 is too expensive right now, and that anyone planning on getting one should wait for January when their will supposedly be a set of price cuts (for introduction of new speed grades, I'm guessing). The Pentium 4 1.5GHz will be priced $200 less in lots of 1000, which should translate to a $250 to $300 price drop per chip. Then I can't see that buying one is a bad thing. Sure you'll have limited performance gains in some applications, but over time, they will improve, and your purchase will continue to grow with you. I kind of like the idea of a processor that upgrades itself (in a way).

    By Humus November 23, 2000, 06:55 PM

    quote:Originally posted by Arcadian:
    My only gripe with Dr. Thomas Pabst was the fact that he turned his review around 180 degrees based soley on the results of one option in one test. I would even say his first review was somewhat positive towards the Pentium 4, yet his update was downright bashing it. Although he does have a good point, I think it's more his bias and ego working the discussion rather than the actual truth.

    My opinion is that the Pentium 4 is too expensive right now, and that anyone planning on getting one should wait for January when their will supposedly be a set of price cuts (for introduction of new speed grades, I'm guessing). The Pentium 4 1.5GHz will be priced $200 less in lots of 1000, which should translate to a $250 to $300 price drop per chip. Then I can't see that buying one is a bad thing. Sure you'll have limited performance gains in some applications, but over time, they will improve, and your purchase will continue to grow with you. I kind of like the idea of a processor that upgrades itself (in a way).

    I'm also very dissapointed with Tom. He gets more and more biased and I've lost my respect for him. The only reason I read his site nowadays is because he runs the "right" kinds of benchmarks. I look at the result chart, but don't take his opinions into account.

    However, I don't feel like the P4 will "grow with you" over time. The software industry is moving over to OOP, that is, many small classes with short methods => lots of branches => not so good for a 20 stage pipeline.
    This is somewhat equivalent to the debate going on over at the video cards forums. It's mainly a Radeon vs GeForce2 thing. Radeon fans keep saying like "DirectX8 will make the Radeon better", while GF2 fans mainly don't believe it will improve much over time. I'm big fan of the Radeon, but don't believe that DX8 will give my Radeon more value since only some games will actually use it. However, I do believe that it'll get more value from the better memory managment, HyperZ and it's third texturing unit because the trend is higher resolution textures, more overdraw and more rendering passes. The parallel of this in the CPU market would be P4 with it's SSE-2 and higher speed bus. The high speed bus may give it more value over time since it's useful for many applications and doesn't have to be used explicitly. However, SSE-2 will only appear in some very few application that actually have a use for it. The software market today is driven by productivity and TTM, highest performance is less important.

    By gaffo November 24, 2000, 01:41 AM

    buying one is a bad thing. Sure you'll have limited performance gains in some applications, but over time, they will improve, and your purchase will continue to grow with you. I kind of like the idea of a processor that upgrades itself

    ARCADIAN! what? - my computer purchase will GROW in value? - what the hell . Computer depreaciation is astonomical! worse than a new car! - My computer I buy today for 1500 bucks will be worth 500 in one year! GROW?! This is not common sence - Computers are now disposable items - like toasters - you buy them to run your software that you HAVE, - in 2-years all those SSE-2 apps (all three of them IMHO) will crawl on that p-4 1500 two year old outmoded investment worth a wopping 200 bucks! - My 486 never appreciated in worth/nor my p-166/nor my current winchip-2 (which is worth 150 bucks today and cost 1500 three years ago).

    By TheWizard November 24, 2000, 01:47 AM

    I read with some amusement(s) regarding the P4 performance with office apps.

    really in some offices I have been in a P15 wooden help them achieve better than a 40% efficiency rating.

    What difference has (say) word 97 performed whether you have a P4 or a pentium 166?
    Office2K would of course get marginal benefits from a P4 but has it been written for a processor? Has it been written for a user even.....

    By Arcadian November 24, 2000, 06:34 AM

    quote:Originally posted by gaffo:
    ARCADIAN! what? - my computer purchase will GROW in value? - what the hell . Computer depreaciation is astonomical! worse than a new car! - My computer I buy today for 1500 bucks will be worth 500 in one year! GROW?! This is not common sence - Computers are now disposable items - like toasters - you buy them to run your software that you HAVE, - in 2-years all those SSE-2 apps (all three of them IMHO) will crawl on that p-4 1500 two year old outmoded investment worth a wopping 200 bucks! - My 486 never appreciated in worth/nor my p-166/nor my current winchip-2 (which is worth 150 bucks today and cost 1500 three years ago).

    Gaffo, I think you misunderstood what I was saying. I meant to protray that a user with a Pentium 4 will have a perceived advantage over someone with a Pentium III over the next couple of years. That is to say that a program beched on both today may yield more in favor for the Pentium III, but later versions of that program appearing over the next year or so will progressively show the Pentium 4 in better light. Therefore, you will perceive added value over the life of the product. It won't be worth any more, but it will run apps faster as more optimizations get into place.


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