Series - part 2 of 3

Server Post Production Optimizations


In this blog post we are going to deep dive into the world of CPU benchmarking. From Passmark, to Dhrystone, we’ll cover it all, concluding with how CPU benchmarking should affect your decision on purchasing a Dedicated Server.

Update: 27th July, 2016 ( notification, news info, achievement,tips etc.)
This post is part of the How to build a rocking Linux environment? series

Today our world, literally, runs digitally. Just as keystrokes iterate algorithmically putting characters on a laptop screen as this sentence is typed; the same happens as traction control is enabled on a modern All-Wheel-Drive vehicle.

The same CPU concept is the heart of all actions when consumers click “Buy” at their favorite online retailer from a handheld phone. There is a CPU computing 1’s and 0’s making all the magic happen.

The CPU, or Central Processing Unit, has become more efficient as predicted by Moore’s law; consuming less power in terms of wattage, shrinking in physical size, being able to handle multiple actions simultaneously (as seen with Hyper-Threading and multi-core technologies ), and run at speeds performing billions of calculation per second.

As consumers, to gain insight into benchmarking a CPU we must first understand what separates one CPU from another. A Central Processing Unit can be designed to specialize in multiple areas.

Real World Example of Evaluating a CPU Architecture via Benchmarking

Lets compare two CPUs architectures and see how they perform.

One might ask, why did the slower clock speed beat the faster cycling CPU in single core performance?

This is a great demonstration of how CPU architecture, core design, caching speeds can allow a CPU to do more per clock cycle in certain operations.

Simply, the Intel has more FPU’s (floating point processing units) per execution core. While the AMD has a shared L2 cache per execution core, causing CPU Stall on single threaded executions.

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The Ted Danson Profile
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The Ted Danson Profile
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Snoop Dogg
Portraits of Himself as European Noblemen
The Ted Danson Profile
Snoop Dogg
Snoop Dogg
Portraits of Himself as European Noblemen
The Ted Danson Profile
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The Ted Danson Profile

How Accurate are CPU Benchmarks?

Most CPU Benchmarking applications are accurate in what they do. However, time should be taken to understand what is being evaluated in a benchmark.

It is also important to use a widely known CPU benchmarking utility. This way benchmarks can be compared to past contributors. Only then is it possible to accurately gauge the performance of a CPU with benchmarking utilities.

With a little education of business versus consumer-computing and what each benchmark specializes in, we as consumers can accurately tell if a certain CPU will satisfy our needs.

The first thing we want to avoid are benchmarks that rate a complete system for gaming. Video gaming, when rated in frames per second (FPS) is highly dependent on a high-performance video card. These will really measure how well the CPU keeps up with offloaded processing of a high-end GPU. Not really how well the CPU is performing as an individual component.

The second thing we must note is most benchmarking applications (all covered in this guide) will evaluate a CPU based on consumer computing and not server demands. Instead of measuring how well a CPU will process data in a 4-month period, tests are done in short bursts to simulate use of an end-user (versus a server).

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End-User Versus Business Class Computing

End-user CPU performance is usually burstable into smaller, single action based tasks. Each task can then call a few worker threads. Most benchmarking covered, unfortunately, scores a CPU based on how an office worker would make use of a it.

Ordered list

  1. Get into the office and check email.
  2. See an attachment of our proofs for the latest ad in a trade magazine.
  3. Download, then unzip these files.
  4. Finally loading them into our favorite graphics program to see how they look.
  5. Then open a faulty application and get a kernel panic (or blue screen) and simply reboot the computer.
  6. Finally, load each image back into the graphics app from disk one at a time.

Unordered list

  • Get into the office and check email.
  • See an attachment of our proofs for the latest ad in a trade magazine.
  • Download, then unzip these files.
  • Finally loading them into our favorite graphics program to see how they look.
  • Then open a faulty application and get a kernel panic (or blue screen) and simply reboot the computer.
  • Finally, load each image back into the graphics app from disk one at a time.

 

CPU Cache prevents CPU Stalling

CPU stalling is latency in moving data from disk, to memory, through the cache pipeline, then finally to CPU’s core for execution operations.

Preventing CPU stalling is accomplished by more and faster cache on the CPU’s L1, L2 and L3 cache that can be distributed amongst each core.

CPU Stalling in terms of end-user class computing is not a big deal. As we mentioned, end-user class computing is designed for smaller burstable tasks calling a few worker threads for a limited amount of time.

 

Conclusion

The first thing we want to avoid are benchmarks that rate a complete system for gaming. Video gaming, when rated in frames per second (FPS) is highly dependent on a high-performance video card. These will really measure how well the CPU keeps up with offloaded processing of a high-end GPU. Not really how well the CPU is performing as an individual component.

The second thing we must note is most benchmarking applications (all covered in this guide) will evaluate a CPU based on consumer computing and not server demands. Instead of measuring how well a CPU will process data in a 4-month period, tests are done in short bursts to simulate use of an end-user (versus a server).