Performance Analysis Tools: A Look at VTune

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It is often said that a programmer’s best friend is a good text editor, and that their best tool is their brain. Recently, I had an opportunity to examine and become familiar with a programmer’s second best tool: a good performance monitor.

For many applications, performance can be a critical advantage. Almost any scientific or engineering computing falls into this category, such as crash simulations, or weather modeling. However many desktop applications require good performance: computer games and video encoding are extremely taxing. In the embedded market, performance is likely to be even more important, unlike the general market; systems are not upgraded with faster hardware on a regular basis, and resources are scarce. Many applications, such as cell phones are constrained by thermal and power characteristics, so developers must squeeze out every last bit of performance.

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Benchmarking RFC

Benchmarking RFC The practice of benchmarking computer systems and components aspires to be a science, yet all too frequently appears to be an art and a particularly unreliable one at that. The potential pitfalls of benchmarking are myriad: the urge to declare a ‘winner’, atypical workloads and poorly disclosed system settings frequently plague reviews. While […]

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Wolves in CISC Clothing

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Paul examines three software emulations for x86.

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Interview With Intel’s Compiler Team

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David Kanter and Rob Thorpe interview a member of Intel’s Compiler team

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Coding Challenge I

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In this article, we provide the results of our first Coding Challenge.

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Compilers – Code Optimization

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This is the second installment of a three part series on compiler technology and implementation.

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Compilers and Performance

For those who may not be familiar with it, COSBI (Comprehensive Open Source Benchmark Initiative) is Van Smith’s effort to wrest control of benchmarking design from the hands of corporate interests and into the hands of the user community (please refer to Van’s Hardware Journal for more information). While this is certainly a laudable goal, it is also fraught with potential problems. Thus, when Van’s Hardware Journal published some preliminary results of the Quick CPU Test, a question that has been nagging me for quite some time was brought to the fore… just how much of an effect do different compilers have on the performance of a program, particularly across platforms?

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Winstone Reporting Methodology Examined

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Bill examines the recommended Winstone reporting methodology, and gives it a poor performance rating.

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Compilers – The Basics

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Rob provides some background on compilers and how they work

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Winstone and SYSmark 2001 Followup

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After publishing my evaluation of the SYSmark 2001 benchmark, I received a fair amount of feedback from readers. Though most of the comments were not supportive of either the benchmark or methodology, there were several that were, and they brought up some good points, as well as pointed out a flaw in my evaluation. After corresponding with several readers, I must admit that my perception of the ‘think time’ may be incorrect, and if so I will have to modify my original conclusions. Also, I mentioned that by timing only the response time for individual actions it shouldn’t be difficult to give the results for every application as they used to in SYSmark 2000. What I had failed to consider was that in both scenarios (Office Productivity and Internet Content Creation), there are applications running in the background that will affect the overall time of each action.

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