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Message boards : General discussion : Zen performance indication from AMD

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mackerelProject donor
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Message 97800 - Posted: 18 Aug 2016 | 16:41:58 UTC

There's been a lot of rumours but today is the first performance demonstration from AMD themselves for their upcoming Zen CPUs. The usual tech news sites will cover this in more detail than I can or will here, but I'll provide a summary.

The test shown was a custom Blender render against a Broadwell-E 8 core CPU downclocked to 3 GHz, matching the Zen sample. So both CPUs are 8 core, 16 thread, at 3 GHz. An audience grabbed video showed this running in real time, and Zen just nudges out Broadwell-E in this test. The speed benefit was about a second in 47 seconds or so. Someone more motivated than me could possibly download the video and do a more exact frame count to work it out more exactly.

So what does this mean so far? Zen is IPC competitive against Broadwell-E in Blender. I have no idea what sort of instruction mix that uses, so can't extrapolate that into a prime finding prediction yet. TDP was also claimed to be comparable elsewhere.

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Message 97801 - Posted: 18 Aug 2016 | 16:59:44 UTC

Quick reminder: the 6950x has a base 3.2ghz (and lord know whatever the 8 core boost is) rather than 3.0ghz. Kinda makes you question "why gimp the Intel CPU" or "why not raise the Zen's core clock to match the i7".

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Message 97807 - Posted: 18 Aug 2016 | 18:29:28 UTC - in response to Message 97801.

It was in part speculated AMD didn't want to be seen to be giving an indication of final Zen clock speeds. 3 GHz is a random round number. Why not 3.2? Who knows...

Also Anandtech have posted a more in depth piece. Sad to say, they mention each core being capable of a 256 bit AVX per cycle (consistent with earlier rumours) which means a Zen core will only be worth about half an Intel core for LLR, unless there's some unknown magic to make it behave very differently.

http://www.anandtech.com/show/10578/amd-zen-microarchitecture-dual-schedulers-micro-op-cache-memory-hierarchy-revealed

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Message 97810 - Posted: 18 Aug 2016 | 18:50:22 UTC - in response to Message 97807.
Last modified: 19 Aug 2016 | 10:19:08 UTC

While I hold out hope that AMD will offer cheaper solutions that can go toe-to-toe with Intel's, I have this nagging suspicion that they will be focused on mass-market desktop appeal and not math computation. After all, if 99% of the world just cares about video decode for their desktops/HTPCs, and you can win on price there, why not do that.

In short, I would be very (pleasantly) suprised if Zen isn't slower, hotter, and more of a power hog than an equivalently-priced Intel part. At least for anything needing AVX.

[edit]TheReg covering the same event:
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/08/18/amd_zen_latest/

Message boards : General discussion : Zen performance indication from AMD

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