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Intel benchmarks its dual and quad-core "Penryn" processors

Intel is set to introduce its Penryn-family later this year beginning with its Xeon processor family. Penryn is a die shrink of the current Conroe-family to 45nm. Intel previously confirmed Penryn taped out in January and fully capable of booting Windows Vista, XP, Linux and Mac OS X operating systems.

In addition to the shrunken fabrication process, Penryn features new SSE instructions and more L2 cache. New to Penryn are SSE4 instructions for more efficient executions of SSE, SSE2 and SSE3 instructions and new enhancements for image, video processing and vectorization.

Intel plans to upgrade the cache on dual and quad-core Penryn-family products. Dual-core Yorkfield processors gain an additional 2MB of L2 cache for a total of 6MB. Quad-core Yorkfield processors, which are essentially two Wolfdales sandwiched together, feature 12MB of L2 cache. Intel’s current Kentsfield quad-core processor only has 8MB of L2 cache.

Intel has designed its Penryn-family to operate in speeds excess of 3.0 GHz. The current dual and quad-core samples demonstrated at Spring IDF in Beijing, China operate at 3.33 GHz. These early Penryn samples also operate on a 1333 MHz front-side bus.

The early Penryn dual and quad-core processors are operational as well. Intel has benchmarked its dual and quad-core in various applications and games to salivate the public. The Intel test system consists of its D975XBX2 BadAxe 2 motherboard with 2 GB of memory in dual-channel and a GeForce 8800 GTX running Microsoft’s Windows Vista Ultimate 32-bit. Intel installs a pre-production dual-core and quad-core Penryn processors clocked at 3.33 GHz with 1333 MHz front-side buses in its test system. Intel also benchmarks a Core 2 Extreme QX6800 for reference.

Applications
Model
Dual-core
Penryn
Quad-core
Penryn
C2E
QX6800
Mainconcept H.264 Encoder
(seconds, lower is better)
119
73
89
DivX 6.6 Alpha with VirtualDub 1.7.1
(seconds, lower is better)
22
18 38
Cinebench R9.5 (CPU benchmark)
(higher is better)
1134
1935
1549
Cinebench R10 beta (CPU benchmark)
(higher is better)
7045   13068  10416

Video encoding shows an 18 percent improvement with the new Penryn-family when it comes to H.264 encoding. DivX encoding shows a 52 percent improvement with the quad-core Penryn over the previous Core 2 Extreme QX6800. The dual-core Penryn processor is able to beat out the quad-core Core 2 Extreme QX6800 by 42 percent when it comes to DivX encoding. Cinebench R9.5 and R10 beta reveals performance increases of 25 percent when comparing the quad-core Penryn and Core 2 Extreme QX6800 processors.

3D Applications
Model
Dual-core
Penryn
Quad-core
Penryn
C2E
QX6800
3DMark06 v1.1.0 Pro - CPU
(higher is better)
3061
4957
4070
3DMark06 v1.1.0 Pro - Overall
(higher is better)
11015
11963
11123
Half Life 2: Lost Coast
(frames per second, higher is better)
210
210
153

Half Life 2: Lost Coast shows gains of 37 percent between the Penryn and Core 2 Extreme QX6800. The dual-core Penryn has no troubles keeping up with its quad-core counterpart. Synthetic 3D benchmarks such as 3DMark06’s CPU benchmark shows 22 percent gains with Penryn.

Expect Intel to release Penryn later this year beginning with its Xeon products, desktop Core 2 products should follow shortly.



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3.3GHz vs 2.9GHz
By psychobriggsy on 4/18/2007 8:25:07 AM , Rating: 4
I hate it when benchmarks are given with completely different clock speed CPUs and presented as if they're clock-for-clock improvements (i.e., they don't mention the clock speed difference is part of the reason for the faster performance).

3333MHz is nearly 14% faster than 2933MHz, which is the QX6800. The latter is a chip that many people claim could easily be sold at 3333MHz today if Intel desired to.

It seems that the main improvements are primarily coming from two things: SSE4 (significant for the video encoding improvements), and the faster FSB for bandwidth reliant apps like Cinebench (as QX6800 is quite crippled here by its 1066MHz FSB, which is 266MHz per core, consider a single core P4 was bottlenecked at 2GHz with a 400MHz bus, and here we have a core that's probably equivalent to a 5GHz P4 albeit with larger caches and a better prefetcher). It'd be nice to see how Penryn compares with an overclocked QX6800 at 3333MHz when the review is done.

Not putting down Penryn on course, it looks like it is going to be an awesome chip and put a lot of pressure on AMD to ramp up Barcelona clock speeds or try and sell them cheaper than they'd like. It seems that Intel continue to perform excellently. When Intel integrates the memory controllers in Nehalem AMD will be in for yet another big world of hurt.




RE: 3.3GHz vs 2.9GHz
By Moishe on 4/18/2007 8:50:24 AM , Rating: 1
yeah... which is why we will truly see the performance when someone makes a proper evaluation of the chip and compares it to a comparable AMD chip. This is interesting but it really doesn't say much.


RE: 3.3GHz vs 2.9GHz
By Mitch101 on 4/18/2007 9:13:30 AM , Rating: 1
I agree this doesnt look much different than an overclocked chip with some SSE4 enhanced benchmarks.

I would like to see the benchmarks copare the chips at the same clock speed to determine what true perfomance increases there are architechturally.

In the end this seems like a publicity stunt to take eyes off people thinking about Barcelona.


RE: 3.3GHz vs 2.9GHz
By Mitch101 on 4/18/2007 10:39:50 AM , Rating: 1
Just read anantech's short info and sadly Wolfdale compared to Core 2 conroe are about the same.

If you add 10% overclock to conroe and add 10% in the benchmarks they are about identical. I know the one benchmarks shows 19% but if you overclocked a Conroe via the FSB I would bet those numbers are a lot closer than 19% difference as well as that was only at a lower resolution the upper resolution showed 10.6%.

I have a feeling Penryn might not be enough to beat Barcelona. It may come down to who's chips overclock the best and Intel at 45nm should have an advantage over AMD at 65nm. Then it may come down to bang for the buck.


RE: 3.3GHz vs 2.9GHz
By deeznuts on 4/18/2007 12:53:49 PM , Rating: 1
Wait so add the 10% overclock and then add in the advantage of the faster cpu (here 10%)? With that type of formula every cpu ever made will be identical to any other cpu ever made in the history of CPUs.

Of course they used the lower resolution, they need to isolate the cpu from the effects of the video card.

Dailytech, always good for a daily laugh reading the comments.


RE: 3.3GHz vs 2.9GHz
By SmokeRngs on 4/19/2007 3:07:34 PM , Rating: 2
So, a dual core P4 running at 3.33Ghz runs everything with the same performance as a Conroe at 3.33Ghz and a Penryn at 3.33Ghz. Not to mention an Athlon X2 at 3.33Ghz has the same performance.

I am guessing you do not know anything at all about architecture differences since you're saying every CPU every made would perform the same if it was running the same clock speed.

The point about the "test" CPUs is valid. The older CPU is running a slower clock speed so it's very likely it will not have the same performance since there are not major architecture changes being made. It's a die shrink and a refresh. To have a valid comparison you would need both CPUs to be running similar clock speeds. I don't remember if you can use half multipliers for Intel CPUs but if so, all you would need to do is raise the multiplier on the older CPU to 12.5 to match clock speeds.

From the results of the benchmarks, it looks like Penryn isn't going to bring a whole lot in performance improvements over Conroe at this time except for certain applications. Then again, this isn't a major architecture change and any increase in efficiency is welcomed.

Just remember, these numbers are from Intel and the normal cherrypicking of benchmarks is certain to have happened here. To me, this just says that Penryn from a stock speed performance standpoint won't be very enticing to me right now. There should be other advantages such as lower power but I usually don't worry about that too much as long as my current CPU isn't a furnace. Then again, I'm looking forward to the Intel quad cores in the third quarter if Intel drops the prices to what it's speculated they are going to be. Perfect drop-in replacement to my C2D.


RE: 3.3GHz vs 2.9GHz
By Oregonian2 on 4/18/2007 1:33:45 PM , Rating: 2
Benchmarks at different clock speeds is fine. Would make no sense whatsoever, for instance, to only compare Conroe and Pentium IV parts that are rated the same clock speed. Just as one didn't compare AMD vs Pentium chips based on the same clock speed.

More important is to compare at the same price-point. Harder to do prior to release, but really what is important, I think.

An alternative good comparison might be at the same power-point (if one can somehow equate the different ways that is spec'd).

A third point might be 'the fastest available' to see where the top end is.

But clock-for-clock throughput is mostly interesting only for the designers of the chips I think, those talking about pipeline strategy tradeoffs and the like (closest I get to that nowadays would be in FPGA designs).


RE: 3.3GHz vs 2.9GHz
By caqde on 4/18/2007 3:26:01 PM , Rating: 2
The idea behind the same clock speeds is to find out what the architectural changes actually do. Otherwise you can't really tell which architecture is better. Each type of benchmark has it's own merits the one your talking about is good for released products. But in this case it would have been nice if Intel put a 2.93Ghz Penryn in the mix for comparison.


RE: 3.3GHz vs 2.9GHz
By Ringold on 4/18/2007 8:58:21 PM , Rating: 2
I also appreciate clock-for-clock comparisons because, for an overclocker, it provides a rough mental guide for expected performance gains when looking at all kinds of different processors one can buy at various price points and how people have managed to OC them. When people report OC's and get it added to OC databases they don't typically run a full suite of benchmarks for everyones benefit, so having clock-for-clock comparison information in the back of ones mind can just be of some use.

Of course, it's no replacement for any other benchmark, and I agree the best general comparison is chip at a price point rather than at a clock speed. Clock-for-clock is a compliment.


RE: 3.3GHz vs 2.9GHz
By The Sword 88 on 4/19/2007 9:30:45 PM , Rating: 2
I thought it was die shrink not an architectural change


RE: 3.3GHz vs 2.9GHz
By spartan014 on 4/18/2007 11:42:25 PM , Rating: 2
To know the exact performance benefit, they should have taken a Conroe overclocked to 3.33GHz and 1333 MHz FSB for comparison. Then we could see what improvement does the 45nm die shrink and additional 2 MB cache brings...


RE: 3.3GHz vs 2.9GHz
By SmokeRngs on 4/19/2007 3:12:15 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, it would be better to keep the Conroe at 1066 FSB. That's what it is at stock and it should stay that way for the comparisons. You can also add in Conroe at 1333 bus for an extra comparison but I would like to see the differences at stock FSB but equal clock speeds. The Conroe at 1333 FSB would be to determine the differences the increased FSB makes.

Then again, my Conroe is running 1600FSB already so it doesn't matter to me. Too bad I can't do comparisons. I only have an E6400 and with the stock cooling can't get it stable over 3.2.


"If you look at the last five years, if you look at what major innovations have occurred in computing technology, every single one of them came from AMD. Not a single innovation came from Intel." -- AMD CEO Hector Ruiz in 2007

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