Multi-Core Scaling Performance Of AMD's Bulldozer
Phoronix: Multi-Core Scaling Performance Of AMD's Bulldozer
There has been a lot of discussion in the past two weeks concerning AMD's new FX-Series processors and the Bulldozer architecture. In particular, with the Bulldozer architecture consisting of "modules" in which each has two x86 engines, but share much of the rest of the processing pipeline with their sibling engine; as such, the AMD FX-8150 eight-core CPU only has four modules. In this article is a look at how well the Bulldozer multi-core performance scales when toggling these different modules. The multi-core scaling performance is compared to AMD's Shanghai, Intel's Gulftown and Sandy Bridge processors.
I think it may have also been interested to enable the cores together in modules
rather than separately 1 per module.
That might allow them to share cached data more efficiently between threads?
And I think at lower core counts it could enable more aggressive turbo frequencies.
But this was an interesting test as well.
You don't generally _want_ data to be shared betweens threads. That would just mean your threading architecture is all wrong and being hamstrung by data dependencies/locking.
Originally Posted by smitty3268
Shared caches save money. They don't improve speed. (generally speaking, of course)
I don't view it that way. If you're gonna have, say, 8MB cache on 4 cores, it's better to make it shared rather than 2MB per core. That way, on loads that involve fewer cores the cache increases (on a two-thread load you have 4MB per core).
Originally Posted by elanthis
But of course that view comes from someone who doesn't know the details behind CPU cache memory :-P
Very nice test suite, but I would propose some changes:
1) To judge the efficiency of scaling per architekture, functions like Turbo should be disabled. When enabled it is only natural that the scaling with more threads gets lower.
2) I would change the graphs so that they are easier to interpret by the looks (so that linear scaling would look linear). For example, the x-axis should be linear if the y-axis is linear. Not like you have it now, with 1 to 2 distance being the same as 2 to 4 distance. It just looks weird.
2RealNC> It is not the case with BD modules. No matter if one per module or two per module, all of them share the whole L3 cache. If one core per module is activated, it has 2MB L2, which it would have to share with the other core otherwise.
I'm afraid I didn't understand the above.
Originally Posted by ifkopifko
In my thinking, it seems better to have a larger, shared cache rather than multiple smaller, non-shared ones.
Yes, it may be better sollution to have larger shared cache than smaller dedicated cache per core (because having "larger" dedicated cache per core is more expensive), but I thought we are talking about Bulldozer in the state as it is and which cores are better to be left enabled. Hope I cleared it up.
Last edited by ifkopifko; 10-26-2011 at 05:25 AM.
So what we really want is tests with both, to see what is faster, and how the Bulldozers with less cores behave.
Originally Posted by elanthis
And both AMD's 6-core and Intel's 2600 (Edit: the 2630qm has hyperthreading, so it probably works as substitute) are really missing here for the full picture.
Last edited by AnonymousCoward; 10-26-2011 at 07:07 AM.
Good article. You did a great job of showing the difference between 8 semi-real cores vs. hyperthreading.
In any case, a direct comparison of "4 threads across 4 modules" against "4 threads crammed into 2 modules" might be interesting to see how much Bulldozer's modules actually lose over discrete cores by sharing certain parts of the CPU pipeline. Of course this is only meaningful if they run at fixed frequencies, i.e. with turbo core and any dynamic frequency scaling disabled.