New Silicon Insider Article

Article: Escape From the Planet of x86
By: Bill Todd (billtodd.delete@this.metrocast.net), June 20, 2003 7:53 pm
Room: Moderated Discussions
David Wang (dwang@realworldtech.com) on 6/20/03 wrote:

...

>I expect the 1.5 GHz Madison to exceed 1202, that's not a substantially higher bar over above and beyond 1170.

You may well be right. Perhaps the reason Intel has been so shy about submitting SPEC results for Madison as early as it might have is because they're still trying to get the compilation up to snuff.

>
>As to "it needs to stand for the next six months", I don't see that as a necessity.
>The Itanium 2 system chipset inherited from McKinley based platform is in need
>of a minor overhaul. If this overhaul comes anytime soon, that could kick up the
>SPECxxx scores another half of a notch even without kicking up the processor frequency.
>
>AMD may "take back the crown" in SPECint for brief periods of time, but as long
>as Madison leads for substantially longer period of time in 2003 or Madison ends
>2003 leading then I'd give support to the claim of "beating".

I'd accept those criteria: if Madison leads for, say, 4 of the next 6 months, or both takes the lead next week and finishes the year in the lead, then I won't quibble with Arcadian's projection.

>
>>>At least until AMD could ship 2+ GHz Opterons and/or perhaps get better compiler support to pull those numbers up.
>>
>>Exactly. And in this case advances in compilation would seem to be at least as
>>applicable to Hammer 64-bit performance as they are so often claimed to be to getting EPIC up to speed.
>
>The "headroom" that may exist in platform performance that could be extracted out
>by compiler would presumably be larger on the Itanium/EPIC side as compared to the
>hammer/64 bit side.

Not in the short term that we're talking about. Multiple well-funded and highly-qualified compiler teams have been working on EPIC compilers for half a decade or more now, so while it's not unreasonable to speculate that there may still be a good deal more compiler potential to mine all the low-hanging fruit was picked quite some time ago and that potential is likely to be realized only gradually (if at all) over time. By contrast, my impression is that the AMD64 compiler efforts started considerably more recently and have been far less well funded: AFAIK we have only a single 64-bit SPECint result to look at so far (from the gcc compiler; nothing from either the Portland or Microsoft compilers), not a couple of generations' worth on multiple compilers as Itanic has.

- bill

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