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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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Shadest preformance preview I've ever seen
By Daven on 4/18/2007 11:22:39 AM , Rating: 0
Well I don't know about you guys, but this performance preview tells us absolutely nothing other than Penryn is just a speed and cache increase which are both inherent when shriking to a small die process. I mean looking at the Quad Core Penryn vs. Quad Core 2 Extreme you have apples to oranges comparison.

Both have the same number of cores but
Penryn: 45 nm, 1333 MHz FSB, 6 MB L2 Cache, 3.33 GHz
Core 2: 65 nm, 1066 MHz FSB, 4 MB L2 Cache, 2.93 GHz

This is just a die shrink of the Core architecture. Nothing more to get excited about. Performance is exactly where one might expect if you increase the cache, FSB and clock frequency. And because of the cross-licensing agreement between Intel and AMD, AMD will have SSE4 in their processors by the time any SSE4 applications come out.

Guys, get excited about Nehalem. Not this totally PR spinned out chip that's trying to make us think that Intel has developed the next gen chip. It's just the next speed grade. You can get almost the same performance NOW (sans the cache performance increase) if you overclock your QX6800 to 3.33 GHz on a 1333 MHz FSB.




By Andypro on 4/18/2007 12:46:07 PM , Rating: 2
The Penryn family was never intended to be much more than a simple die shrink of conroe. It has been in Intel's timeline for well over a year now:

2k6: New arch. (Conroe)
2k7: Die shrink of last year's arch. (Penryn)
2k8: New arch (Nehalem)
2k9: Die shrink of last year's arch..
etc.

Their testbed seemed very fair to me. Very similar to the preliminary Conroe testbed early last year. They aren't trying to deceive people or preempt AMD as far as showcasing their product imo. It's their IDF and they have these chips ready, so why not. If they wanted to overinflate their improvement % numbers they would have added an AMD chip into their testbed for comparison. But they didn't.

I'm actually quite impressed that they did add a couple of architectural improvements like Radix16 divider and SSE4 instructions. As for the "true clock for clock" comparison, I'm all for that to see architectural improvements, but since there are very few in this case I think it's fine for them to use the speeds at which they'll be selling these chips. After all, they have the headroom to clock them however they like. This is a tangible benefit of the Core architecture over AMD's line. Will Barcelona change this? Perhaps. But we won't know until they decide to tell us.

In the mean time, I'm going to be checking forums to see if Penryn engineering samples start showing up soon.


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