iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail

Platform

Video

Multimedia

Mobile

Other

Intel Core i7 In Detail

Turbo Boost and Hyper-Threading.

February 2, 2009



<< Previous page

     Next page >>

Web server


  All Disabled TB Enabled Gain, % HT Enabled Gain, % All Enabled Gain, %
PHP Calculator 211 222 5% 254 20% 267 27%
PHPSpeed  
Synthetic PHP 3601 3790 5% 3498 -3% 3693 3%
Synthetic MySQL 3156 3336 6% 2984 -5% 3204 2%
Synthetic Read/Write 2339 2454 5% 2248 -4% 2413 3%
Real World PHP 6360 6681 5% 6176 -3% 6513 2%
Real World PHP & MySQL 3010 3151 5% 2908 -3% 3115 3%
Server 2477 2589 5% 2340 -6% 2536 2%
Group Score 126 132 5% 125 -1% 133 6%

Significant performance gain from Hyper-Threading is demonstrated in the only truly SMP-optimized PHP Calculator. Hyper-Threading only slows down "single-processing" PHPSpeed -- this problem is likely to be inherited by this technology from its first incarnation in NetBurst architecture: automatic "halving" of some processor buffers, when it's enabled.

Archiving


  All Disabled TB Enabled Gain, % HT Enabled Gain, % All Enabled Gain, %
7-Zip 0:02:01 0:01:58 3% 0:02:01 0% 0:01:57 3%
WinRAR 0:01:01 0:00:58 5% 0:01:07 -9% 0:01:04 -5%
Ultimate ZIP 0:01:54 0:01:44 10% 0:01:54 0% 0:01:44 10%
Group Score 123 130 6% 119 -3% 126 3%

Highly optimistic about Turbo Boost on one hand and absolutely indifferent (with two instances of dislike) to Hyper-Threading -- that's an illustrative example of one peculiarity of modern archivers: even four cores are too many for them (note a significant performance gain, when Turbo Boost is enabled), to say nothing of eight cores (with reduced buffers at that).

Encoding


  All Disabled TB Enabled Gain, % HT Enabled Gain, % All Enabled Gain, %
FLAC 0:01:05 0:01:00 8% 0:01:05 0% 0:01:00 8%
LAME 0:01:33 0:01:29 4% 0:01:33 0% 0:01:29 4%
Musepack 0:01:50 0:01:41 9% 0:01:51 -1% 0:01:41 9%
Vorbis 0:03:14 0:03:05 5% 0:03:15 -1% 0:03:13 1%
Canopus ProCoder 0:04:04 0:03:51 6% 0:04:17 -5% 0:04:07 -1%
DivX 0:00:58 0:00:54 7% 0:00:57 2% 0:00:52 12%
x264 0:02:10 0:02:04 5% 0:01:47 21% 0:01:42 27%
XviD 0:06:04 0:05:31 10% 0:06:05 0% 0:05:32 10%
Group Score 124 133 7% 127 2% 135 8%

Two audio codecs (one of them features SMP-optimizations) and one video codec (Canopus) were not very optimistic about virtualization of cores. However, SMP-optimized x264 repeats the record of Maya renderer (21% performance gain from HT). This fact is full of hope: this technology can really yield performance gains!

Games


  All Disabled TB Enabled Gain, % HT Enabled Gain, % All Enabled Gain, %
Call of Duty 4 105 105 0% 105 0% 105 0%
Company of Heroes 57 57 0% 57 0% 57 0%
Call of Juarez 47 50 6% 47 0% 47 0%
Crysis 24.63 24.77 1% 24.83 1% 24.83 1%
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 122 122 0% 121 -1% 122 0%
Unreal Tournament 3 125 128 2% 114 -9% 119 -5%
World in Conflict 59 61 3% 59 0% 60 2%
Group Score 105 107 2% 103 -1% 104 0%

Back in the first article about Core i7 920 we mentioned that the new architecture from Intel was not quite good at games yet. This article is another proof of this point. That's strange: judging by several tests, games can respond to higher memory bandwidth quite positively.

Non-professional photo processing


  All Disabled TB Enabled Gain, % HT Enabled Gain, % All Enabled Gain, %
ACDSee 0:09:00 0:08:20 8% 0:08:50 2% 0:08:20 8%
IrfanView 0:15:13 0:13:54 9% 0:15:14 0% 0:13:55 9%
Paint.NET 20514 19430 6% 16317 26% 15626 31%
xat.com Image Optimizer 0:29:45 0:27:31 8% 0:29:46 0% 0:27:34 8%
XnView 0:15:23 0:14:02 10% 0:15:21 0% 0:14:06 9%
Group Score 122 132 8% 128 5% 138 13%

Pay attention to Paint.NET. This applications is based on Microsoft.NET, and it puts up the brightest performance in this test. Why? Probably owing to the platform specifics: it's no secret that .NET applications are not honest executable files in a way, they depend on an operating system. On one hand, it's their advantage: they use system resources to the maximum, we can see it in results. On the other hand, they are rather slow -- that's why they respond so well to various performance boosting technologies.

Conclusions


  All Disabled TB Enabled Gain, % HT Enabled Gain, % All Enabled Gain, %
PRO SCORE 120 127 6% 119 -1% 127 6%
HOME SCORE 119 125 6% 119 1% 126 6%
OVERALL SCORE 119 126 6% 119 0% 126 6%

Turbo Boost technology demonstrates impressive performance gains practically everywhere. On the one hand, it's not bad: "common overclocking" provides performance gains to all users without exception, no consequences to system stability (at least according to the manufacturer). On the other hand, overclockers lose their semi-legal ways to get higher performance for less money, as manufacturers take advantage of their favorite tricks. However, it was easy to predict the appearance of something like Turbo Boost: any popular semi-legal practice always attracts manufacturers who want to benefit even by such tricks.

Despite its new reincarnation, Hyper-Threading is still as controversial as in times of NetBurst. This technology yields zero performance gains according to our overall score (rounded), even though some tests demonstrate significant performance gains or drops. The reasons are lying on the surface: it's not easy to optimize software for virtual multiprocessing. What concerns Intel, this company abandoned this field, having rolled out truly multi-core processors -- and software developers immediately followed suit. To all appearances, Hyper-Threading is being revived now. However, developers already accumulated negative experience -- HT had been actively advertised at first, and then it was forgotten because of more popular market tendencies. So those developers, who have already mastered this technology in its first reincarnation, will hardly welcome the revival of HT.

Our today's analysis once again proved the main conclusion from our Intel Core i7 review: it's a "no-nonsense" processor. Candid performance drops of Core i7 caused by the reanimated Hyper-Threading are smoothed over by Turbo Boost in most cases. As a result, the overall impression from its performance in the nominal mode is moderately positive (few users want to know details, like our today's tests). Time will pass, and they may get used to Hyper-Threading and learn to program software that at least won't suffer from this technology, or even will benefit from it -- we already have positive examples. Intel seems to have reached perfection in broadcasting positive thinking attitude to potential users: it does not grab and haul them into its concept of radiant future (farewell, Rambus), it just pushes them mildly in the right direction.

One thing is clear: having analyzed its previous (mostly negative) experience in promoting the "progressive" NetBurst architecture, Intel learned its lesson well and does not risk promoting its architectural concepts in the might-makes-right way anymore. Now the company is more gentle, offering its users not only two birds in the bush tomorrow, but also a bird in the hand today. We've already appreciated Turbo Boost. Thank you. Hyper-Threading is still in the bush. We'll wait and see.


Memory modules for our testbeds provided byCorsair Memory.

Write a comment below. No registration needed!


<< Previous page

Article navigation:

Page 1: Introduction, tests

Page 2: More tests, conclusions



blog comments powered by Disqus

  Most Popular Reviews More    RSS  

AMD Phenom II X4 955, Phenom II X4 960T, Phenom II X6 1075T, and Intel Pentium G2120, Core i3-3220, Core i5-3330 Processors

Comparing old, cheap solutions from AMD with new, budget offerings from Intel.
February 1, 2013 · Processor Roundups

Inno3D GeForce GTX 670 iChill, Inno3D GeForce GTX 660 Ti Graphics Cards

A couple of mid-range adapters with original cooling systems.
January 30, 2013 · Video cards: NVIDIA GPUs

Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Surround 5.1

An external X-Fi solution in tests.
September 9, 2008 · Sound Cards

AMD FX-8350 Processor

The first worthwhile Piledriver CPU.
September 11, 2012 · Processors: AMD

Consumed Power, Energy Consumption: Ivy Bridge vs. Sandy Bridge

Trying out the new method.
September 18, 2012 · Processors: Intel
  Latest Reviews More    RSS  

i3DSpeed, September 2013

Retested all graphics cards with the new drivers.
Oct 18, 2013 · 3Digests

i3DSpeed, August 2013

Added new benchmarks: BioShock Infinite and Metro: Last Light.
Sep 06, 2013 · 3Digests

i3DSpeed, July 2013

Added the test results of NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760 and AMD Radeon HD 7730.
Aug 05, 2013 · 3Digests

Gainward GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST 2GB Golden Sample Graphics Card

An excellent hybrid of GeForce GTX 650 Ti and GeForce GTX 660.
Jun 24, 2013 · Video cards: NVIDIA GPUs

i3DSpeed, May 2013

Added the test results of NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770/780.
Jun 03, 2013 · 3Digests
  Latest News More    RSS  

Platform  ·  Video  ·  Multimedia  ·  Mobile  ·  Other  ||  About us & Privacy policy  ·  Twitter  ·  Facebook


Copyright © Byrds Research & Publishing, Ltd., 1997–2011. All rights reserved.