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How CPU Features Affect CPU Performance, Part 7

Intel Core i7, memory subsystem.

February 18, 2010



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3D rendering



  DDR3-800 DDR3-1066 DDR3-1333 DDR3-1600
3ds max ↑ 17.17 17.3 1% 18.34 6% 18.69 2%
Lightwave ↓ 75.09 74.36 1% 73.05 2% 71.5 2%
Maya ↑ 02:13 02:12 1% 02:12 0% 02:09 2%
Group Score ↑ 171 173 1% 177 2% 181 2%

  DDR3-1333
3-ch. 6GB
DDR3-1333
2-ch. 4GB
DDR3-1333
2-ch. 6GB
3ds max ↑ 18.34 17.88 -3% 17.79 -3%
Lightwave ↓ 73.05 73.19 0% 73.18 0%
Maya ↑ 02:12 02:12 0% 02:12 0%
Group Score ↑ 177 176 -1% 175 -1%

Rendering is not quite sensitive to memory subsystem. This is further confirmed by the results of Core i7.

Scientific computations



  DDR3-800 DDR3-1066 DDR3-1333 DDR3-1600
Maya ↑ 9.36 9.8 5% 9.86 1% 10.24 4%
SolidWorks ↓ 38.23 38.12 0% 37.83 1% 36.07 5%
Pro/ENGINEER ↓ 1548 1513 2% 1496 1% 1473 2%
UGS NX ↓ 5.21 5.38 3% 5.55 3% 5.72 3%
MAPLE ↑ 0.2023 0.2115 5% 0.2192 4% 0.2227 2%
Mathematica ↑ 3.087 3.0892 0% 3.113 1% 3.1403 1%
MATLAB ↓ 0.040381 0.040548 0% 0.039324 3% 0.03898 1%
Group Score ↑ 135 138 2% 141 2% 144 2%

  DDR3-1333
3-ch. 6GB
DDR3-1333
2-ch. 4GB
DDR3-1333
2-ch. 6GB
Maya ↑ 9.86 8.98 -9% 8.79 -11%
SolidWorks ↓ 37.83 39.3 -4% 40.66 -7%
Pro/ENGINEER ↓ 1496 2005 -25% 1644 -9%
UGS NX ↓ 5.55 5.09 -8% 5.09 -8%
MAPLE ↑ 0.2192 0.2024 -8% 0.2027 -8%
Mathematica ↑ 3.113 2.9639 -5% 2.9287 -6%
MATLAB ↓ 0.039324 0.040307 -2% 0.041082 -4%
Group Score ↑ 141 128 -9% 130 -8%

Comparing performance at various frequencies, we traditionally see nothing interesting. Just to remind you, we believe the measurement error of ±2% is normal for real application tests. This kind of software was developed to perform certain tasks, not to benchmark performance. So, since there are no other serious reasons, those seemingly abrupt jerks in Maya and SolidWorks can be explained by the accumulation (doubling) of measurement errors when two adjacent results are compared.

The situation with the dual-channel modes is more interesting. Pro/ENGINEER suffers from an insufficient amount of memory, rather than from dual-channel access, in this case as well, so we can disregard its result. But many other applications show much better results on the 4GB machine. We believe this also shows us the performance difference between the dual and single-channel modes. This is surely impressive: disabling one channel reduces performance more than messing with frequencies does.

Bitmap processing



  DDR3-800 DDR3-1066 DDR3-1333 DDR3-1600
ACDSee ↓ 04:52 04:48 1% 04:46 1% 04:45 0%
Paint.NET ↓ 00:14 00:14 0% 00:14 0% 00:14 0%
PaintShop Pro ↓ 08:56 08:54 0% 08:48 1% 08:46 0%
Photoimpact ↓ 06:30 06:21 2% 06:13 2% 06:10 1%
Photoshop ↓ 05:15 05:07 3% 04:58 3% 04:53 2%
Group Score ↑ 149 151 1% 153 1% 154 1%

  DDR3-1333
3-ch. 6GB
DDR3-1333
2-ch. 4GB
DDR3-1333
2-ch. 6GB
ACDSee ↓ 04:46 05:36 -15% 04:51 -2%
Paint.NET ↓ 00:14 00:14 0% 00:14 0%
PaintShop Pro ↓ 08:48 09:34 -8% 09:34 -8%
Photoimpact ↓ 06:13 08:37 -28% 07:36 -18%
Photoshop ↓ 04:58 06:11 -20% 05:48 -14%
Group Score ↑ 153 131 -14% 140 -8%

We can see that memory frequencies have little effect, while many applications do react to memory capacity. The latter has a stronger effect on performance than even the number of channels. It's strange that even such a simple tool as ACDSee (comparing to other programs in this group) suffered that much from the decreased amount of RAM.


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