Reply to post: Re: The worlds fastest cpu

Oracle teases 'easy-to-absorb' platform updates, wants 'all' your infrastructure biz


Re: The worlds fastest cpu

@Mad Mike

Regarding the T5 / M5 generations. I dont agree. You seem to argue that the only thing of importance is the basic building block; the core. In that case, Intel has basically used the same Core2duo core since many years back (decades?) - and using your argument, Intel has not released a new generation for decades(?).

So using your definition, AMD bulldozer was a generation, and now Ryzen is the next generation. And Intel P4 netburst design was a generation, and Core2duo was next generation - which Intel is stuck at even today. Some people dont agree with your viewpoint. Intel has released several generations since Core2duo.

Sure, you could say that if Intel released a new generation, the cpu performance would see a significant increase - but all Intel cpu releases the last decade are within 10% of each other - which means Intel are basically using the same design with only minor modifications. However, Ryzen is a big improvement to Bulldozer which implies Ryzen must be a new generation.

But many people dont agree with this. They say Intel has released many new generations since Core2duo, whereas you would claim Intel is still on the same basic Core2duo generation. It is possible to use the same building block and come up with totally new cpus. It is not clearcut what a "cpu generation" is, and nothing says that your definition is the correct one.


Regarding performance benchmarking. I think it is a bit funny that you dismiss all benchmarks now that SPARC has the crown. When POWER had the performance crown, I am quite sure that you insisted the competition should accept the POWER benchmarks. But now, all benchmarks should be rejected. I do believe that if POWER ever would take the crown again, you will insist that benchmarks are a valid way of comparing cpus against each other. But not now, because SPARC is fastest. What do you call such a behaviour?


"....But, if anybody truly believes Oracle has got something an order of magnitude better than anyone else in REAL world use cases, they're deluded. Genuine order of magnitude advances like that are as rare as rocking hose s**t...."

Well, you know that SPARC has a different view than other cpus? You do know that 1.2 GHz SPARC T1 was 50x (no typo) faster than 2.4GHz Intel Xeons on certain webserving loads with many light threads? You know that four 1.6GHz SPARC T2+ was as fast as fourteen (14) 5GHz POWER6 in official SIEBEL v8 benchmarks?

And now SPARC M7 is 11x faster than the competition on database workloads - is Oracle trying to fool us, are we deluded? Well, I suggest you study the DAX. It is a coprocessor in SPARC M7 which handles all database workloads. I hope you do know that specialized hardware is easily 10x faster than a general cpu doing it in software? Compare GPU to CPU. So why would it be surprising that a DAX coprocessor designed specifically for databases, is 10x faster than a general cpu doing it in software? There are various benchmarks out there, and in every case where DAX is used, the SPARC M7 is several times faster. This is consistent in every single benchmark.

Here are some benchmarks where DAX is used accelerating Java Streams. One external company rewrote parts of their engine to use DAX and got a 6-8x boost.

Apache Big Data SPARK gets 6x faster with DAX, than without


"...You can't ignore the number of cores. Does it matter if the server has a smaller number of sockets and more cores per cpu, or more sockets and fewer cores per cpu?..."

Sure, but SPARC M7 cores are faster than POWER8 and x86 cores. Just check the benchmarks. For instance, one SPARC M7 cpu with 32 cores, are faster than two 18-core Intel Xeon E5v4 cpus. Often SPARC cores are 2x faster than the competition.


"...Finally, if raw power was really so different as you claim, why has Oracle not succeeded in the HPC stakes? You will notice a distinct lack of Sparc based supercomputers..."

Oracle has explicitly said they are avoiding the HPC market because the market is so small. The lucrative market is high end business servers. For instance, one single IBM P595 server with 32 cpus that took the old TPC-C benchmark, costed 35 million USD list price. One single server. When you build a large HPC server, it takes many years of R&D and you get, one or two customers (try to export to Russia). If one customer backs out, you are toast. You are vulnerable. On the other hand, the market for high end business servers are huge in comparison and you just assemble your high end servers and sell them for a huge profit. That is why SGI and all the other HPC vendors are desperately trying to leave HPC and get into the scale-up big business market - that is where the big bucks is. That is Oracle playground. But clusters can not run business workloads, so SGI has a very hard time trying to build a large business server with as many as 16 or 32 sockets.

Regarding HPC. Now the largest HPC servers are slowly going to ARM cpus. Does this mean that ARM cpus are better than SPARC M7 and POWER8? Nope. Large HPC servers have other requirements than business servers (mainly performance vs wattage). HPC will not use DAX or encryption or what not. But if you really need high number crunching performance, well, SPARC M7 is fastest in the world on SPECcpu2006 workloads as well. And other number crunching workloads as Machine Learning, Neural Networks, etc etc. So if you need pure number crunching, SPARC M7 is much faster than POWER8 and x86. And if you need business workloads, SPARC M7 is many times faster as well.


Regarding Oracle software refuses to use POWER8 functionality such as encryption. Well, I have never discussed that. I only talked about benchmarks and performance. It is true that full encryption only slows down SPARC M7 something like 2-3%, this is proven by different benchmarks. How much slower does POWER8 get when turning on full encryption?

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