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Intel

Itanium Preview And 32-bit Benchmarks 118

Posted by michael
from the as-long-as-it's-before-2038 dept.
XBL writes: "Tweakers.net has posted a preview of the Itanium that includes benchmarks of the x86 emulator. Looks pretty dismal here, as it struggles to keep up with even a Pentium I in many areas! Let's just hope that 64-bit apps will make this thing not look so bad. That $4k pricetag hurts though, no matter how fast it will be."
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Itanium Preview and 32-bit Benchmarks

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  • That's just not funny. You might think it's oh-so-cool to post to Slashdot with this sort of give-a-fuck insouciance, but it's hardly amusing to suggest that somebody deserves to starve and die just because the company they work for has the temerity to sell CPUs that are a little more expensive and/or a little slower than the competition's offerings.

    How would you like it if someone said that you should die because of some real or imagined slight they suffered from the high school that you attend? Not very funny when the boot is on the other foot, is it?

  • When going to the second page of the story, I get this (looks like dutch to me) with a bunch of car pictures:

    YESS! Tweakers.net is kaputt!
    Wij knielen voor admin Rick in de hoop dat dit de heling van Tweakers.net zal bespoedigen.

    In de tussentijd een paar pics zodat we ons niet hoeven te vervelen:

  • You may be able to write clever posts, but you've completely lost perspective on this issue. Criticizing a disrespectful and insensitive remark in no way compares to tossing off a wisecrack that casually dismisses years of hard work as totally worthless.

    I would think that the difference is quite clear.
  • Those are CPUs where the commercial compilers, such as Sun Workshop (SunPro) and xlc (or Visual Age C or whatever IBM calls it these days), frankly kick the crap out of gcc. Gcc is only a good compiler when you use it to build x86 code, and "maybe" Alpha code. Then again the Itanium might look like a joke once the 21364 Alpha (if it ever comes) and the POWER4 hit the market.

    I agree with you about GCC as far as producing the fastest code on UltraSparc and POWER processors. If you think that GCC produces optimal x86 code, you haven't used some of the commercial compilers, such as Intels own proton compiler. Intel gave part of its Pentium II optimisations to GCC (back in 1999 if I remember correctly through Cygnus), but I feel it's lagging again. What I'd really like to see is AMD give some major help to the agcc project in terms of best optimisations, effective 3DNow extension use and efficient floating/integer interleaving. But that is another story.

    Back to the main thread. You have to have a common baseline when trying to do comparisons. GCC produces an intermediate code which is then transformed into the machine code for the target processor. This means that before optimisation the actual machine code is fairly similar and therefore is as close as you can get to the ideal comparison. Exploring the various optimisations will then give you an insight into branch prediction, cache handling, etc.

    Cheers,

    Toby Haynes

  • Hi, I am one of the tweakers.net administrators. You all know "The slashdot effect" I guess :P Weel it seems that this link causes such an enormous flow of pageviews that our servers can't cope with it at this point. We have just 2 webservers and one database server, which seems to hold qute much, but not this much. Quite a nice test though ;) Our serveradministrator is on the job and tries as hard as possible to keep the servers up, so don't let this put you off, just try again and hopefully the site will be available.
  • by xtal (49134) on Thursday January 25, 2001 @05:15AM (#482517) Homepage

    Perhaps what some clever people should come up with is a way to shoehorn in a traditional X86 32bit CPU (P3, Athlon..) either into the motherboard, as an add-on PCI card, or through a custom slot (much like the Amigas had for their processor card upgrades). This would allow you to have some way to execute 32bit code at a reasonable speed, and could let the core architects work on a better 64 bit CPU instead, maybe.

    Although I guess you could just have your old box, anyway, since this will probably require a 1kg heatsink and new case anyhow *chuckle*.

  • by ooze (307871) on Thursday January 25, 2001 @05:15AM (#482518)
    I like a lot the IA64 assembler [intel.com], wich has a quite intuitive syntax (sometimes reminds me of a higher level language) and will allow a lot of dirty tricks, as it even has a built-in endian switch, byte shuffles in the registers, and e.g. parallel instructions of 8 bytes in one register, in two registers at a time, (what possibilities for string.h or clipping algorithms!).
  • It's a sad day for Slashdot when someone can't even say a nice word about one of the traditional bogeymen (in this case, Intel) without some Anonymous Coward accusing them of being a troll. And making fun of their name. I don't think pet owning is slavery (I have a pet cat) but I don't think you should call someone a troll just because that is their screen name.

    Grow up. I bet you wouldn't like it if someone mocked AMDs engineers because, say, they still haven't produced an SMP-capable chipset for their SocketA processors.

  • Given sufficient memory, any chip can emulate any other.

    It's usually not as slow as an Itanium emulating x86, though.. ;-)

    And as for this great "Intel engineers" troll-fest.. bah, humbug! I say. It's not the engineers we're mocking, it's the foolish decision (presumably handed down from the adminisphere) to do the emulation in hardware (badly) instead of in software (where even if it was done badly, it can at least be improved in the next version!). Now, if there are any Intel managers reading Slashdot.. well maybe they feel insulted. But I'm sure their salaries and stock options will ease the pain. ;-)

  • >That's a very narrow-minded view you have. There
    >are reasons that some jokes (racist, sexist,
    >etc.) aren't funny.

    There is an obvious reason that they're called "jokes". I'm not going to state it here.

    "Funny" is totally subjective. The only reason you are classifying some jokes as "not funny" is because you don't find them funny.

    As long as ONE person finds something funny, it becomes a joke to that person.

    >This particular joke happens
    >to be unfunny and disrespectful to these people
    >who have put in a lot of work developing the
    >Itanium.

    Can you share what you're smoking? Maybe this Itanium joke is not funny - but it is not even close to "racist, sexist jokes etc".

    Not all jokes targetted at some particular group should be regarded as "racist and sexist etc".

    People are born with their sexes and races - determined solely by chance.
    Itanium's sluggishness is totally manmade. If it fails to deliver, it is a human error - Incompetence.

    See the difference here?

    I sympathize with those targetted by racist and sexist jokes but I absolutely share no sympathy with the Itanium team, be it struck by any kind of joke, however rude and ruthless.

    >Yes, it's so easy to attack the Big Faceless
    >Corporation - but have you ever thought about how
    >the engineers behind this who have been trying so
    >hard to bring this product to completion must
    >feel when their brainchild is repeatedly slammed
    >in a public forum?

    Yeah so? If it is bad *because of incompetence* it DESERVES TO BE RIDICULED. Period.
  • Wouldn't it make more sense to include 2 procs in a system if you need 32bit compatibility?

    1 chip. P4 for 32bit
    Itanium for 64bit

    no emulation, no issues!

    DOS is dead, and no one cares...
  • Is the Itanium gcc comparable in optimization ability to Intel's compiler suite? Optimizing for a (relatively) exotic design like Itanium is not the same as optimizing for more traditional ISA like IA-32 or Alpha or Mips.

    Benchmarking IA-32 code is very interesting, because it exposes Intel's confidence (and willingness to gamble) that the software world will adopt the new architecture aggressively. I don't think Microsoft has announced availability of Windows on Itanium yet; in any case I'd bet it'll be a while before they have the stability and performance that'd justify the server-class pricetag they're likely to ask for it. On top of that, there's the problem of selling IT organizations on something wholly new, complete with added complexity of installation management and versioning.

    I wonder what's in store for Transmeta and their adaptive run-time technology? If the hardware emulation (which, to me, seems crazy) that Intel builds into the chips can't cut it, will Intel (or Microsoft?) be forced to deal with Transmeta? Is it conceivable that one or the other would consider owning Transmeta?


  • dont judge these things by their x86 emulation, benchmark them against a similarly clocked (or similarly priced) alpha, that is when we can discount this chip.


    Well, the only reason that it took Intel more than five years to release this chip is the Alpha.
    The first version was withdrawn affter two years because a 800 Mhz. version was about 20% slower than a 21164 at 600 Mhz..
    This version is almost as fast as a 21164 with similar clockspeeds.
    Only problem is, that Digital/Compaq has the 21264 processor and are working at the 21364 processor.
    Both processors are faster and cheaper than the Itanium.
    One of the reasons it took so long was that HP didn't put much resources into it.
    Their PArisc chips are much faster now than the itanium.
    T
  • by WD (96061)
    This is quite humerous!
    Thanks for the laugh!!
  • by Syllepsis (196919) on Thursday January 25, 2001 @11:59AM (#482526) Homepage
    Just look at some of these posts. You would think people were analyzing the strength of Intel and AMD's offensive lines. I mean, many of you have a true, heartfelt desire to see one of these corps obliterate the other.

    If Itanium sucks, too bad for intel, go buy AMD. If Sledgehammer sucks, too bad for AMD, go buy Itanium.

    They are just companies competing. They are both publicly traded, multibillion dollar massive corporations who care about profit.

    I think slashdot has become a site for corporate cheerleading. Can we discuss something else, technical perhaps?

  • OK. First, I am a diehard AMD enthusiast and stock holder. I think they cleaned Intel's clock this past year and I believe that the P4 won't help much outside of multimedia apps (gee - sounds like competition for G4s! ;) ) So keep that in mind as you read this - it'll surprise you.

    Now that I'm don'e trolling... Seriously, this article was an EXCELLENT overview of the new IA-64 architecture. Intel did a great job on trying to fix the many problems of ia-32 and I believe they did very well. I don't think there will be any contest between the AMD x86-64 and the Intel IA-64 processors. Intel will win hands down on ONE condition. If they manage to develop the compilers to handle all of the parallel compilation and predicition. COmpilers are difficult enough to design. This design increases the complexity by a magnitude at least. A telling quote is "The compilers have been under development almost as long as the hardware"

    So the next few years should be very interesting. If INtel and their partners can get compilers available that do what they need to, the IA-64 architecture will probably scare even the most diehard AMD person. Even at $4K a processor - the potential processing power is scary and would be a steal.

    But they may not. And it will be interesting if the AMD x86-64 stuff comes out ready to go and the IA-64 processor is still hampered by compiler issues. The tables could be completely turned where AMD wins in the short term based mostly on the speed gain of mega memory and bus bandwidth while hte IA-64 lags due to compiler issues. By the time the compiler is really taking advantage of the IA-64's cuttin gedge features, Intel could possibly have a lot of ground to catch up. A complete reversal.

    Who knows. I love my Athlons and still feel they are today's top performers for the price. I hope AMD scores a homerun with their x86-64 architecture and I really like how they are opening up the development efforts so early. It was a shrewd move on their part. But the next 5 years will be astonishing and I have to say, if Intel pulls this off and succeeds in developing these compilers, the first time I run IA-64 compiled software on an IA-64 would give me goosebumps at the massive amount of computing power at my fingertips in a mid tower case ;)

  • Since the compiler (rather than the processor) takes a large responsibility for scheduling of IA64 instructions, programs will need to be recompiled for each new IA64 processor if they are not to perform extremely sub-optimally. This suggests that part of the compilation work should be done by a JIT compiler. Which is exactly what Microsoft's .NET does.

  • don't think there will be any contest between the AMD x86-64 and the Intel IA-64 processors.

    Is there really any fair comparision between the two?

    Look at it from a major vendor's point of view (say Compaq): Itanium will be running in $15,000 "Professional Workstation" models running 64-bit Linux or Windows 2002 and only available through special distributors and support channels. Sledgehammer will be running in $2,000 "Presario" models running 32/16-bit Windows ME models (with maybe 64-bit optimized video drivers) that anyone can pick up at the local Best Buy or Radio Shack.

    Which is not to say that someone won't put together a nice 64-bit Linux solution on Sledgehammer. But without broad OS support (Windows, Novell, etc), Sledgehammer isn't really in the same market as IA64, Alpha, and Sparc.
  • Indeed it seems Intel wasted a large amount of time making x86 work on the Itanium.

    I wonder how hard it would have been to have a 64-bit and 32-bit system. Say Intel focused Itanium to run only 64-bit applications. Couldn't they deliver a system that had both an Itanium to handle the 64-bit AND a Pentium III/IV for the 32-bit? This seems like it would have been a good direction until 64-bit applications caught up.

    Is there any technical reason Intel didn't do it this way? Is it not possible?
  • I couldn't agree with this more. Why does Slashdot even bother posting these kinds of useless articles. Let's wait for the optimized 64 bit code generated by an Intel compiler, before we piss away our time worrying about 32 bit code. All bets are that it will be a piece of crap and no Sparc. However, let's give them the benefit of the doubt until the relevant facts are in.
  • That's with 4MB external cache. Cache is expensive. $4k isn't unreasonable for any processor with 4MB.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    In my experience with the Itanium my Apple IIc clearly outperforms this piece of junk even when I use 64BIT emulation capacity of the Dual-Co-GPU. Clearly these Intel engineers need to "break out of the box" they have placed themselves in. Clearly.
  • by Flavio (12072) on Thursday January 25, 2001 @04:48AM (#482534)
    > Why oh why are they testing IA32 code on the Itanium? That is hardly likely to show the performance of the processor in a good light.

    Because they didn't have the option to. This isn't an Intel sponsored benchmark as they actually "borrowed" the machine for a while and did their stuff.

    Installing Linux would be the best idea because they could've compiled benchmark apps but they were afraid to do so. They didn't want to alter the benchmark machine much and probably had a strict deadline.

    Flavio

  • (or whatever its called) Itanium is the 1st generation 64bit CPU from Intel. But just keep in mind that the next generation chip was started shortly thereafter because Intel realized how many thing they did wrong in the Merced (oops.. sorry, I mean Itanium).

    As far as the slow IA32 performance goes, I think that could be a serious issue due to the amount of time it will take until the chip really starts to get adopted.
    --

  • Oh, crap. It looks like so.

    I got to read the whole article without any issues.
  • Yep, that's Dutch alright!
  • Did you suggest using gcc on UltraSparc and POWER processors for benchmark comparisons? You've got to be mad. Those are CPUs where the commercial compilers, such as Sun Workshop (SunPro) and xlc (or Visual Age C or whatever IBM calls it these days), frankly kick the crap out of gcc. Gcc is only a good compiler when you use it to build x86 code, and "maybe" Alpha code. Then again the Itanium might look like a joke once the 21364 Alpha (if it ever comes) and the POWER4 hit the market.
  • My guess is that this is their server's way of saying "I've been slashdotted; too many people requesting this page at the moment, give me a break, will ya?!"

  • by gtx (204552) on Thursday January 25, 2001 @05:22AM (#482540) Homepage
    well...

    if you'll remember correctly, the pentium was released in 1992. windows 95 wasn't released until 1995. most of the end users of the world WERE running 16 bit code on their pentiums for 3 years as win 3.11 was popular then.


    "I hope I don't make a mistake and manage to remain a virgin." - Britney Spears
  • Were you part of the team developing Merced/Itanium?

    No, I am not.

    If you weren't you should get a life and take the joke as just that.

    That's a very narrow-minded view you have. There are reasons that some jokes (racist, sexist, etc.) aren't funny. This particular joke happens to be unfunny and disrespectful to these people who have put in a lot of work developing the Itanium.

    And if you haven't noticed lately, Intel is an excellent target for even cheap jokes, and I enjoyed this one

    Yes, it's so easy to attack the Big Faceless Corporation - but have you ever thought about how the engineers behind this who have been trying so hard to bring this product to completion must feel when their brainchild is repeatedly slammed in a public forum?
  • I find racist, sexist, etc. jokes especially funny and PC people like you sooooo boring. And if you reply to this one don't expect anything more from me, you will have the last word :-)

    I have myself worked for a big faceless corporation and I am an engineer, and any engineer that isn't able to distance himself a little from whatever brainchild he is working on _should_ get a life because he apparently doesn't have one. I would be surprised if any of the engineers actually having worked on this chip gives a shit about what you or I think. Perhaps a few blokes in marketing because it makes their job more difficult that a product shows some pretty shitty benchmarks for now, but don't worry they are paid to do that job.

    Except for points here on slapdash, what do you get out of defending these faceless people in this big faceless corporationn anyway, as you apparently aren't working on this particular piece of silicon? Are you just bored at work, if you have work?
  • Why oh why are they testing IA32 code on the Itanium?
    Maybe because enterprises can be interested in buying a Itanium based machine to boost system performance.
    They could run their 32 bit code and gain a bit of speed; in the meantime, clean up the source so it can be compiled to 64 bit code and thus reach full processing speed gain.
  • If I recall some years back, PowerMacs had an X86 board which did just that. It contained a 486 with the associated hardware and came with software to allow the Mac to run x86 code without going through an emulator. Sales never went anywhere and I have not seen one since.

  • We should compare running 64-bit math on an Itanium and 64-bit math on a P4. Running legacy code is as illogical as running 16-bit code on a Pentium so I also question Intel's hardware emulation decision.

    It would be more fitting to say "illogical as running 16-bit code on a Pentium Pro." Windows 95 killed that processor (that and the fact that the two chip design made it expensive to produce). Great chip if you had a pure 32 bit operating system. I remember reading that on a Pentium Pro box Windows NT would outperform Windows 95.

    As for the emulation thing, I'm guessing the idea is to make people ditch the 32 bit code more quickly than they did 16 bit.


    "Homo sum: humani nil a me alienum puto"
    (I am a man: nothing human is alien to me)

  • Does anyone remember very, very similar stories and benchmarks when the Pentium Pro came out?
    I thought this was supposed to be slashdot, where the majority of users use open-source operating systems. Because these operating systems are open-source, we can recompile with 64-bit operations and get excellent speed. The only people that are going to be stuck with sucky 32bit performance are Windows users. Why should we care about them?
    Do people complain at the way the Alpha (doesn't) run 32-bit code? Of course not. So really, why are people doing such pathetic benchmarks?

    --
  • Can your Pentium 4 even run 64-bit programs?

    If the answer were "no," then why would Nintendo 64 emulators [zophar.net], which emulate a 64-bit MIPS CPU, exist on x86 CPUs? Besides, double-precision floating-point and MMX are already 64-bit (although they may not be executed as 32-bit ops in a particular implementation).


    Like Tetris? Like drugs? Ever try combining them? [pineight.com]
  • That would probably work, and given the extremely low cost of, say, a PIII 700 or something of that order, it wouldn't add too much to the cost of the system. But, I think that then Intel would need to design a CPU that works like a router and sends the 64 bit instructions to the Itanium and the 32 bit instructions to the PIII.

    Then again, that routing type CPU could also act as an instruction re-orderer to help make up for any compiler defencies, as the Itanium is essentially an in-order CPU. There are a lot of possibilites with where Intel could take this, and they aren't stupid, but this(Itanium) is just a very strange design.

  • by Test Drive (236441) on Thursday January 25, 2001 @05:34AM (#482549) Homepage
    If you'd like to try out Itanium-based systems for yourself, we happen to have one running Linux in the Compaq Test Drive Program. Check it out and see for yourself just how it performs. Sign up on the Test Drive web site [compaq.com], and we'll give you a free shell account on not only our Linux Itanium system, but also on a wide variety of Alphas, x86's, and even StrongARM's running lots of different operating systems.
  • But part of the *marketing* of Itanium was that it would run 32-bit code on-chip. This *marketing* is what led so many people to think they could migrate to IA64 easily. "Oh, I can still run my x86 apps until they get ported!"

    From what I've seen of these (probably dubious) benchmarks is that performance of the on-chip emulator is LESS than the performance of FX!32 on Alpha NT systems. For those who don't know, FX!32 was a Win32 x86 *translator* (Not emulator) that ran on Alpha NT systems. It would allow you to run an x86 Win32 image on an Alpha Win32 system. It translated the x86 Win32 code to Alpha Win32. Subsequent re-runs of the code would run the translated code. The translated code would be optimized in the background. (Does this sound familiar to a method another chip manufacturer is using?)

    So, the point is, if the on-chip x86 emulation sucks, then what's the incentive for someone to move to IA-64 with immature compilers and dubious performance, when they could just as easily move to another MATURE 64bit architecture like PPC, Sparc, or Alpha? Or wait for x86-64 from AMD?

    (Disclamer: I work for API)

  • ... on the production chips anyway.

    this chip has dedicated hardware for IA-32. Unless intel was doing pure BS, or seriously screwed up, performance should be above a P2-333.

    My guess is that win-64 beta is not letting the emulation hardware function for some stability reason, and is using some basic software emulation. Its either that, or Itanium engenners have really really fukdup.

    These guys said that they couldn't load up Linux-ia64 because whistler was already on the machine... ??? are scsi drives that hard to find?
  • by Badassmofo (158306)
    I personally have faith in the chip (if it ever comes out). I know everyone out there hates Intel, but don't forget, this thing was designed by HP too, and HP knows how to make a decent high-end processor.

    -----------
    Terrence
    www.umr.edu/~tcaton
  • People (usually AMD'ers who want to wax rhapsodic about the Sledgehammer) often overlook the fact that the Itanium isn't supposed to be just 'a 64-bit chip.' They're trying out some rather neat stuff in the way of EPIC instructions and scaleability. Once the chip has had some software developed for it (actually using some of these features instead of just looking for an excuse to have 64-bit integers) and has maybe even had a chance to go through some incremental upgrades, then it will be fair to really judge the Itanium against its competitors. Until then, I think Intel at least deserves a nod for trying to actually push processor design technology forward instead of resting on its x86 laurels.
  • hmmmmmmmmmm. So nice. Almost makes me wish I knew the language (Dutch, not delphi). Tot ziens.
  • For those unfamiliar with the history of the Itanium project, this ZDnet story on in HP's E-Speak project [zdnet.com] mentions that the same person was in charge of both of HP's recent big pushes in innovation:

    Itanium project

    E-Speak

    That person was Rajiv Gupta.

  • Yes AMD are creating x86-64. The difference is that AMD's 64 bit platform will not be binary compatible with Intel's. This means that any software distributed binary only will have to be compiled for both Intel and AMD. I can see this being a serious stumbling block for AMD if many small windows shop's start selling only Intel based binaries of their products.


    >~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  • As I understand it, the VLIW architecture of the Itanium chip means that brach predictions are stored in the binary so that the processor doesn't have to worry about guessing the right branch outcome.

    This means that the branch prediction logic is up to the compiler, hence compilers have to get better for the Itanium architecture to become worthwhile.

    However, imagine if the operating system could profile a running binary and actively modify the branch predictions on disk based on common usage?

    Yessir, fire up your favorite CPU hogging program under your operating systems IA64 profiling mode and it suddenly speeds up by 50% on subsequent runs.

    This is the type of stuff that makes the IA64 architecture so awesome (although I'm betting that nobody will ever take advantage of these possiblities, just like they don't take advantage of the Crusoe's code morphing features).
  • I don't see any reason to use the same compiler - it's the end result which matters.

    Then you obviously aren't thinking. If you don't use the same compiler, then how do you know you aren't simply testing how good your Itanium to X86 cross-compiler is and not how good the hardware is.

    To put it another way, imagine that we wanted to see if Red Hat Linux or Windows ME was faster on a specific processor. If I did such a test, using the best Windows C complier on the market and, for Linux, using some weak complier I cobbled together in my undergrad compilers class, everyone on Slashdot would be flaming the hell out of me when Windows wiped the floor with Linux because it was such an unfair test.

    In my hypothetical test, I would say the results reflected the difference in quality of the compliers, not the operating systems.

  • Related subthread... If you're using a new enough Sparc CPU (chances are very good you are if you're machine is at all faster than a 486), adding the -mv8 switch to GCC is also sometimes good for as much as 10% performance gain depending on your instruction mix. In my code it was a nice win. From the GCC manpage:

    -mv8 will give you SPARC v8 code. The only difference from v7 code is that the compiler emits the integer multiply and integer divide instructions which exist in SPARC v8 but not in SPARC v7.

    There may be additional such flags in newer GCCs. (I'm still using 2.8.1 at work.)

    --Joe
    --
  • but, the itanium should excell mostly at running native 64-bit code, hopefully mostly in the floating point area. x86 emulation shouldnt have even been included, let alone talked seriously about. people who need an itanium will not want x86 code, they wont even want a filesystem that easily supports x86 code.

    dont judge these things by their x86 emulation, benchmark them against a similarly clocked (or similarly priced) alpha, that is when we can discount this chip.

    .brad


    Drink more tea
    organicgreenteas.com [organicgreenteas.com]
  • We were taking bets on how long before script grabbed the first post. You suck you're so slow, I owe my roomie a beer now. :-p
  • Thanks. Gives me about 2-3 percent - not very much, but it may add up.
  • I'm starting to wonder just what is going on at Intel. After all the recent fiascos regarding their 1G + Pentium III processors, and chipsets.. it seems that they can't get anything right.

    I know that 32-bit x86 emulation performance isn't the top priority of a 64-bit chip, but c'mon people -- just how many engineers does it take to make a chip that's fast, and compatible?

    Oh, right.. they've probably got all their top engineers trying to make chipsets that work properly with SDRAM. Or after we pay $4k for a 64-bit itanium chip, are we going to have to spend another $10k on enough RAMBUS to boot up with ($20K if you're going to run Whistler-64)?
  • by morie (227571)
    For that ammount of money, you could have some serious computing power by running multiple processors. It may be good, but it'll have to drop in price a lot before it becomes an alternative to me.
  • This large gap in emulation performance (667 MHz Merced about the same as 150 MHz Pentium) is remarkable. When the first 60 MHz 601 PPC processors came out, they were slower than the 40 MHz 68040s on emulated code but IIRC would benchmark at least as fast as 30 MHz 68030, about a factor of two clock- speedwise and one architecture back (whatever that means...)

    If that were the case here, the Merced chip should rate at least a 300 Mhz P-II and it was nowhere close to that. In Apple's case, the software 68000 emulators were improved over time so that things got better for a fixed processor, so perhaps there is work to be done on the software side. I am not familiar enough with the chip family to know how much an improvement is feasible.

    Significant processor changes always are going to have setbacks performance-wise, and clearly the x86 architecture is longer overdue for an upgrade, but it seems like emulation will give pretty unsatisfactory results if this test was a good indication.

  • Early benchmarks with IA-64 code on Itanium systems have shown that the new architecture is certainly capable of blowing the P4 out of the water with half the clockspeed.
    Uh, shouldn't it be at least capable of blowing the P4 out of the water at a quarter of the clockspeed?
  • Uh, shouldn't it be at least capable of blowing the P4 out of the water at a quarter of the clockspeed?

    Why a quarter? A half seems to make sense to me.
  • by stud9920 (236753) on Thursday January 25, 2001 @04:23AM (#482568)
    Will the Itanium 4 be able to run as fast as an Intel 4004 ?
  • by Stormie (708) on Thursday January 25, 2001 @04:25AM (#482569) Homepage

    but, the itanium should excell mostly at running native 64-bit code, hopefully mostly in the floating point area. x86 emulation shouldnt have even been included, let alone talked seriously about.

    One would indeed wonder how much smaller / cheaper / cooler / insert-good-thing-here the Itanium would be if they hadn't wasted the effort on hardware x86 emulation then? Surely any modern CPU should be able to do software x86 emulation with better performance than those Itanium benchmarks revealed.. which makes this look like (yet another) costly mis-step for Intel.

    dont judge these things by their x86 emulation, benchmark them against a similarly clocked (or similarly priced) alpha

    Well, one of the "selling points" for an Itanium over an Alpha is that it does emulate x86.. if the Alpha can do it in software better than the Itanium can do it in hardware (and it does [google.com]) then where does that leave this as a selling point?

  • Check out the URL in the article. I was browsing the site when it happened!!

    "YESS! Tweakers.net is kaputt! Wij knielen voor admin Rick in de hoop dat dit de heling van Tweakers.net zal bespoedigen. In de tussentijd een paar pics zodat we ons niet hoeven te vervelen:"

  • And pretty soon, AMD is left out in the cold. How tragic.

    Err, AMD are creating a 64-bit chip too y'know. And it will apparently have similar 32-bit perfomance to todays Athlons. Can't be bad...


  • I don't mean to be insensitive, but I would recommend that you seek counseling.
  • Well, for one, Intel has a HUGE market following. This means that we will be able to buy Itanium and motherboards everywhere. This also means several vendor will make motherboards, driving prices down and features up. Intel has more and better foundries too (unlike Alpha which is made by Samsung), so higher clock speed can be expected much faster. Supported hardware will be much higher too (his is after all Intel, proponent of the standard PC).

    As for software availability, it is baseless on Open source software as you have the source to recompile it. Lastly, IA-64 should arrive on desktop and cheap CPU sometimes later, which means we can all benefit from it. This is quite unlikely to happen with Alpha.

    As for the speed difference, wait for some benchmarks on native code first...
  • > if you'll remember correctly, the pentium was released in 1992. windows 95 wasn't released until 1995.

    Of course I remember.

    In the real world, illogical and stupid things are done all the time.
  • because that is Alpha, and this is Intel, that's why. It is like "why run Windows when Linux is available and is more stable, has applications, etc". It's the name that counts to the masses.
  • Running legacy code is as illogical as running 16-bit code on a Pentium so I also question Intel's hardware emulation decision.

    And what do you run until the new code is available?

    And running 16 bit code on a P4 is illogical as well. But people do it every day (*cough*Windows 98*cough*)

  • Will the Itanium 4 be able to run as fast as an Intel 4004 ?

    This is out of line. A lot of very intelligent, very highly trained engineers spent years working on the Itanium, and all you can do make cheap jokes about its speed based on benchmarks for tasks that it wasn't even designed for? Can your Pentium 4 even run 64-bit programs? No? Then please show a little intelligence and respect by not posting stupid jokes like this.

    This is out of line. A very intelligent, very highly trained comedian spent years working on this joke, and all you can do make cheap serious comments about it based on an insult that it wasn't even designed for? Can your Design team even get jokes? No? Then please show a little intelligence and respect by not posting stupid remarks like this.

  • Well actually .Net should not be bloatware. If you are running Windows now there is a good chance that you will have FMC dlls, VB dlls, C Runtine dlls..; etc. on your system. .Net tries to unify them all.. basically a higher level wrapper for Win32. It's a good idea.. we will see what happens... Anyway to get back on topic... Anyone know how AMD is going to approach the 64 bit era???
  • Can your Pentium 4 even run 64-bit programs?

    Yes it could. Emulation. Given sufficient memory, any chip can emulate any other.

  • Those servers wouldn't be 64 bit Intel boxes now, would they ;-) ?
  • The review stated repeatedly that the reason IA32 benchmarks were used was because there was no available 64 bit benchmarks.
  • Quick translation for those who don't speak the language and are interested:

    YESS! Tweakers.net is broken!
    We kneel before admin Rick hoping that this will speed up his fixing Tweakers.net.

    In the meantime, here are a few pictures so we don't have to be bored.
  • Although the difference may be clear, wisecracks are there to be enjoyed and taking them too seriously is more harmfull to your cause then the wisecrack itself.
  • "
    That's a very narrow-minded view you have. There are reasons that some jokes (racist, sexist, etc.) aren't funny. This particular joke happens to be unfunny and disrespectful to these people who have put in a lot of work developing the Itanium.
    "

    What about the _groundbreaking_ genii who were responsible for the development of the 4004. Nowadays 64-bit is catch-up technology; the late eighties and early nineties were when you should have been paying chip designers their due respect.

    FatPhil
    (who's been 64bit for quite a while now...)
    -- Real Men Don't Use Porn. -- Morality In Media Billboards
  • From your original comment, "if you don't have good things to say then don't say anything".

    it's obvious you're trying to correct people's "attitude", which probably is none of your business.

    I'd say to you now:

    Good luck with your mind control and get a life.


  • true, true :)


    "I hope I don't make a mistake and manage to remain a virgin." - Britney Spears
  • The AMD guys went for a different solution, instead of a new architecture they decided to keep x86 compatible and extend it to 64bit, more or less the way intel did for 286->386. You can read about it at AMD 64bit x86 [amd.com] .This way they'll perform a lot better in the 32bit field than the Itanium ever will. All they need to succeed is proper software support, same as intel.
  • It's much too soon for making any judgements about Itanium and the IA-64 architecture. These are chips designed for the future, and I appreciate Intel's willingness to move beyond the profitable-but-aging IA-32 chips.

    And I don't see the relevance of testing 32-bit apps on a 64-bit platform. The IA-32 architecture has been severely limited by support for legacy code; I hope Intel focuses the IA-64 chips on 64-but applications. If I need to run 32-bit apps, I'll run a 32-bit computer.

    Perhaps my only quibble with Intel is in trying to shove more capability into a single-processor model, when multiprocessing is certainly a more productive alternative. I'd rather spend $4000 on four high-end Pentium 4s than the same money on one Itanium. Four processors working simultaneously seems better than having one processor trying to do four things at once... I hope someone (Intel, AMD, or whoever) considers building chips specifically for SMP, as opposed to implementing more "trciks" like multiple pipelines.


    --
    Scott Robert Ladd
    Master of Complexity
    Destroyer of Order and Chaos

  • by EvilJohn (17821) on Thursday January 25, 2001 @07:24AM (#482589) Homepage
    I've been working with Itanium boxes for awhile, and let me tell you they are not slow, and I'm pretty happy with what Intel has shown us. Its my opinion that this chipset with a linux 2.4 kernel will be capable of runing hand in hand with Sun E450s, at a much lower price point.

    If anyone is interested in seeing Itaniums first hand, Intel will be running Linux on Itanium at LinuxWorld. Dell also will have Redhat running on Itanium in their booth at LinuxWorld working with our 64bit version of the TowerJ compiler ( http://www.towerj.com ).

    See you at LinuxWorld!

    Full disclosure: I work for Tower Technology.

    // EvilJohn
    // Java Geek
  • So Intel is finally making the move eh? Am I to understand that they're migrationg to a new instruction set and the new 64-bit chips will run an emulator to support x86 instructions for backwards compatability? Sounds a bit like PowerPC back in , what was it, '94 (?) Not that I think Intel makes bad stuff (even if I prefer PPC) but if they want a chip with decent horsepower, they really need to do more than up the clock, the x86 world has been living the Mhz Myth (TM) for too long. Yes I am bashing a bit ( ;-) ) but I'm glad Intel finnaly decided to do more then "crank it up" and hope it didn't burn out...
  • by jovlinger (55075) on Thursday January 25, 2001 @07:52AM (#482591) Homepage
    yes!

    and this is a Good Thing(*). I propose to you that faster processors are not encouraging bloatware, but rather enabling more complex applications to be build. In a way, upgrading processors is a Computer Tax. It goes indirectly to software companies by making constructing large apps cheaper.

    Applications are much larger now than they were before. In order to effectively build large applications, you need abstraction. Abstraction is the enemy of buffed code. Of course, we always hope that compiler technology and coding wizardry (ever see code speed up by a factor of two after adding a few inline pragmas?) will claw back performance, but it is clearly the case that we need to increase processor speed for one main reason: to pay for increased levels of abstraction.

    After all, my 1 Mhz Z-80 card for the Apple II ran wordstar just fine, so why do I need a 500 Mhz PIII to run Office 2000? Because Office does so much more. Of course it's huge and overwrought, but that is a side-effect of the programming technologies that allowed it to be built at all, not evidence of shoddy construction. Taken to an extreme, I wonder whether it would be in the interest of large software houses to subsidize processor upgrades. hrm.

    An interesting economic question: are we better of with this indirect software tax, or would the world as a whole be better off if Office cost more but ran on lower end hardware?

    I posit that we are better off now; the trickle down effects from advancing chip technology benefit all and all software can take advantage of fast chips. Furthermore, if software were efficient, this would not drive semi-conductor innovations, and you would have very expensive hardware that runs more slowly than it does now.

    Basically, I suspect the bloatware or buffware scenarios would have similar total costs to the end consumer, but bloatware additionally drives semi-conductor innovation, which benefits everyone in the world. The same resources spent on better software engineering tools to make buffware would only benefit software houses.

    Lastly, let me conclude with the most exciting technology out there now: dynamic optimization.
    This technology (exemplified by Dynamo, CodeMorphing, and JITs) has the potential to optimise away the speed penalties inherent in modular software, by discovering stable software configurations at runtime (f.ex inlining library code, removing indirection in COM method calls, specialiasing common cases).

    (*) Of course asymptotic inefficiency is never warranted, but a constant factor slowdown may be. Of course there will always be tight loops to be programmed in assembly/C but 95% of the time, investing the resources to upgrade the client hardware is a better idea.
  • Why oh why are they testing IA32 code on the Itanium? That is hardly likely to show the performance of the processor in a good light.

    Because, judging by the pace of things, that's the code people will be running on it, when they get their brand spanking new Itanic^Hum machine (complete with two people to lift it, hehe)

    Maybe they don't want to upgrade to the latest version of Windows, Office or whatever (we're talking generic windows lusers hre, okay?) What about all the other software companies? Adobe, Macromedia, Netscape? All the games companies? I doubt they'll be supporting it right from the word go. Especially with the problems it seems to have. At this point in time Intel is not the only way to go.

    Sure, there's obviously a lot of work which needs to be done on the hardware/software emulation front, as their interpreter obviously sucks, if a multi-piplined cached-to-the-gills processor is clocking in slower than a P100. Hell, they even had to dig up a 486-DX50 for some of the tests, to give a realistic comparison! I urge you to go look at the MPEG encoding results for some hysterical stats. Athlon 1.46Mhz, about 15FPS encoding rate. Itanium 667Mhz, 0.2FPS.

    Transmeta have shown that their extrapolation layer for emulation is fast as hell (compared to this!), so Intel really have to get thir act together for this. This wasn't an official or sanctioned benchmarking by any means, so pobviously Intel has been trying to keep things under wraps and this leaked out.

    We'll see what happens. If it actually is this slow when it comes out, I'll be laughing my head off if my boss gets one.

    /Fross

  • Did you suggest using gcc on UltraSparc and POWER processors for benchmark comparisons? You've got to be mad. Those are CPUs where the commercial compilers, such as Sun Workshop (SunPro) and xlc (or Visual Age C or whatever IBM calls it these days), frankly kick the crap out of gcc...

    I have repeatedly heard this rumour. While there may be true aspects to it, it certainly is not true in general. I have compiled my equational theorem prover E [tu-muenchen.de] with both the SunPro compiler suite and gcc 2.95.2, with optimization for fastest code used with both compilers, and have not noted a significant difference in running time (and yes, E is CPU bound and eats up cycles like nothing, and it is complex enough that optimization is difficult and helps a lot in general).

    These results are for the 32 bit userland on Solaris, for a program that does mostly integer and only a few floating point operations. At least in this case gcc is on par with SUN's "commercial" compilers, with the added bonus that gcc is widely portable (and hence so is code written for it).

  • 4K?????

    I have seen quotes of 667 MHz 21264 (current) Alphas with good hardware (Matrox cards, and other good things) for under $3k for the system (with 512 MB RAM)

    Alpha 21264
    Instructions per cycle-16 (from compaq whitepapers)
    Speed-currently up to 833MHz
    MIPS-13328

    Itanium
    Instructions per cycle-6 (from article)
    Speed-up to 800MHz (ditto above, when RELEASED)
    MIPS-4800

    Pentium 4
    Instrucions per cycle-3
    Speed-1600 (or 1500MHz, whichever)
    MIPS-4800

    They will be 64-bit ops, yes, but the number is the same as the P4. Compared to Alphas, the Itanium is a stick in the mud. The lowest 21264 (466 MHz) does almost twice the instructions per cycle as the Itanium.

    I like Alphas, and am typing on one. They are much faster, but like Itaniums, lack lots of compiler optimizations (eg not taking advantage of the 160 64-bit registers on the chip) aside from ccc (which DEC developed, and was bought out by compaq, and is available for tru64/linux for free)

    At www.testdrive.compaq.com (w/ or w/o www.?) they have an IA-64 up, btw.

  • I'm not thinking of cross compiling, I'm thinking about standard benchmarks and applications in native mode. Compile it whatever way you can to improve performance.
  • I think Orange still sells them, and Sun makes one for their workstations. ("See, this Sun *does* run Windows!")
  • It's probably a better tradeoff to just use a software emulator like FX!32 or Dynamo.
  • Actually, if you read the article you'd notice that the Itanium doesn't support RAMBUS, it only works with PC100 and PC1600/DDR memory.
  • by tjwhaynes (114792) on Thursday January 25, 2001 @04:33AM (#482605)

    Why oh why are they testing IA32 code on the Itanium? That is hardly likely to show the performance of the processor in a good light. It's like running an Amiga emulator on x86 and complaining that the copper tricks don't work as quickly.

    The Itanium is supposed to be the first in a new line, so I wouldn't be surprised if its IA32 bit convertor was a bolt-on solution for those who can't release themselves from 32bit (I hesistate to mention that 64 bit Windows apps may be a little short on the ground for a while yet ...).

    The other aspect of benchmarking a system is to have equivalent compilers - different compilers can produce code varying in speed by as much as a factor of two on the same architecture and other factors such as optimizer flags can have a serious impact on the eventual speed.

    The obvious set up to compare the Itanium against the competition (which really should include the Alpha, Ultra Sparc and the 64 bit POWER chips, not just x86 architectures) and pick an OS which runs on all of these. Not let me think ... Then use GCC in unoptimized mode and compare code length and execution speed, and then optimize progressively.

    That the Itanium can't hold a candle to a Pentium I 100MHz on some 32 bit code is amusing, but not a real indicator of speed. That said, I still feel that the Itanium is a weak competitor against the assembled 64 bit processors already on the market, but Intel probably has sufficient clout to carve itself a niche.

    Cheers,

    Toby Haynes

  • While folowing the link to the Tahoe Arch. I found this [tweakers.net].
    don't worry, no goat here, but just some holiday pictures that I don't understand.
    Is it a hack or what ?
    Update:while checking my link I found what I expected at first.
    --
  • Which basically means:

    YESS! Tweakers.net is broken! We kneel in from of admin Rick hoping this will advance the healing of Tweakers.net. In the mean time some pictures so we don't have to get bored.

    So, probably something broke, they already fixed it by the time I'm typing this.

    Thimo (Dutch)
    --
  • Sadly but ture, the faster and faster processors that we get, the lazier and lazier the coders get

    Absolutely. Those are the hacks of the programming world, but there will always be a small subset of people who will create tight efficient code. Many programmers opt to make sloppy, inefficient code because they can get it out quickly without a heck of a lot of theory. Those that do will continue to make mediocre code. But that will be for mundane tasks. There is plenty of mundane code that needs to be written. I, for one, would prefer to have the best of the best programmers working on the tough problems, not relegated to the run-of-the-mill problems because nobody else can produce something workable.

    There are plenty of applications that require more computing power than we have commonly available now- like real time image recognition, real time speech (as spoken) recognition, photorealistic image rendering. This type of problem is where our best programmers should be working.

    Heck, the advent of Linux showed us that we could still do great things with a 386 when the 486 was all the rage. As we get more computing power, the realm of the possible will continue to expand.
  • Sounds like an absolute nightmare to me!!

    Perhaps they should just get connectix to make a virtual pc for pcs.
  • by Dominic_Mazzoni (125164) on Thursday January 25, 2001 @10:40AM (#482617) Homepage

    I haven't heard anyone compare this to the transition to the Power Mac that Apple pulled off a few years ago. They did an amazing job with their 68K emulator, to the extent that the first 60 MHz PowerPC 601 chips could execute 68K code at about the same speed as a 40 MHz 68040. I think that's amazing performance! In fact, 90% of the software was still 68K code for the first couple of years.

    It was extremely significant that the Power Mac emulated 68K code so well, because it meant that a bunch of old drivers and extensions written in assembly language didn't need to be rewritten. In fact, they ran so fast that many of them didn't get rewritten for years! Mac OS 8.0 still had lots of 68K code in it! (I think it's pretty much gone in Mac OS 9.0, but who knows?)

    The fact is that there are a lot of programs that will never get recompiled for the Itanium. So if it can't execute all of those programs with any sort of speed, people will be discouraged from switching.

  • I don't see any reason to use the same compiler - it's the end result which matters. If a company spends more money on taking advantage of the chip, they can spend less on chip development/manufacturing and still give the end user a good result.

    As for the price tag, $4k isn't that high when comparing to other server chips like Alpha, UltraSparc.

  • Paraphrased from somewhere: "Never ascribe to malice that which can adequately be explained by incompetence". Not exactly right for this, but close...

    I think Intel (and Microsoft, in Whistler-64) are so focused on 64 bit performance that they haven't spent enough time on the 32 bit emulation/translation piece, which will probably be improved in McKinley. Or alternatively, they just don't care about 32 bit performance since IA-64 will largely run on servers, at least initially, and everyone will have produced new server software.

    I do think it was hardly worth doing this review with 32 bit tests only - it would have been a lot more useful to put in another hard drive and install Linux IA-64 on that, removing it after the test. At least then they could have compiled some benchmarks from source.
  • Why oh why are they testing IA32 code on the Itanium?

    Because x86 compatability is the only thing that matters. Performance is irrelevant. The x86 legacy is what drives the market. If that weren't the case, then Intel would have gone out of business in the late 80s or early-to-mid 90s when they were sooo far behind the state of the art. But they didn't go out of business. They sold crappy chips like hotcakes, while modern chip makers watched their sales stagnate.

    Intel seems to have forgotten the very principle that allowed them to survive.

    All of Wintel's competitors learned this the hard way, years ago. Now Intel is going to learn it too, when AMD beats the crap out of them with their evolutionary (instead of revolutionary) approach to bringing 64-bit CPUs to Joe x86 user.


    ---
  • my bad. i was off by 3 months. the pentium 60 was released in march of 1993.

    and i had one.


    "I hope I don't make a mistake and manage to remain a virgin." - Britney Spears
  • MIPS mean nothing. Neither do MFLOPS.
  • by subreality (157447) on Thursday January 25, 2001 @04:44AM (#482627)
    Here's a nice conspiracy theory for you...

    Intel *deliberately* makes the 32 bit code grudgingly work *just* good enough that stupid people will be able to read their propaganda, buy the chip, and then not be disappointed by its performance because they don't know better.

    Then, after enough people have bought in on it, app manufacturers are all going to write 64 bit code (which DOES go a hell of a lot faster). Why would they write programs for a deminishing base of 32 bit users, when the performance on any new processor will be abysmal? Besides, "64 bit" sounds so much better in marketing literature.

    Pretty soon, you can only get Windows in a 64-bit version...

    And pretty soon, AMD is left out in the cold. How tragic.

    Embrace, extend, extinguish.

    --Kai
    --slashsuckATvegaDOTfurDOTcom

  • by Flavio (12072) on Thursday January 25, 2001 @04:44AM (#482628)
    >> Early benchmarks with IA-64 code on Itanium systems have shown that the new architecture is certainly capable of blowing the P4 out of the water with half the clockspeed.

    > Uh, shouldn't it be at least capable of blowing the P4 out of the water at a quarter of the clockspeed?

    It should be neither, really. Some 32 bit instructions can be executed 2 at a time with a 64 bit register but some can't. You also have the overhead of condensing 2 32-bit instructions into one 64-bit and vice-versa. If execution were absolutely linear, IA-64 wouldn't even be twice as fast as IA-32. It's not, so results will vary.

    We should compare running 64-bit math on an Itanium and 64-bit math on a P4. Running legacy code is as illogical as running 16-bit code on a Pentium so I also question Intel's hardware emulation decision.

    Flavio

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