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Understanding Processor Performance

Understanding Processor Performance

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Published by: chepimanca on Apr 11, 2010
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W H I T E P A P E RW H I T E P A P E RW H I T E P A P E RW H I T E P A P E R
Page 1 Understanding Processor PerformanceAugust 24, 2001
Understanding Processor Performance
Jay Pickett
ADVANCED MICRO DEVICES, INC.ADVANCED MICRO DEVICES, INC.ADVANCED MICRO DEVICES, INC.ADVANCED MICRO DEVICES, INC.
One AMD PlaceSunnyvale, CA 94088
 
W H I T E P A P E RW H I T E P A P E RW H I T E P A P E RW H I T E P A P E R
Page 2 Understanding Processor PerformanceAugust 24, 2001
Understanding Processor Performance
To the end-user, the ultimate benefit of processor performance is how fast theirapplications run. Performance to them, simply put, is the amount of time it takes to perform agiven task. With that in mind, the processor that performs a given task in the least amount of time has the highest performance. Increased performance implies reduced execution time.Historically, this has been measured through a variety of benchmarks. When comparing theperformance of processors that execute the same instruction set, such as the x86 instruction set inPCs, performance is defined as: The work done by the processor in each clock cycle (representedas instructions per clock – IPC) times the number of clock cycles (represented by frequency) or:
Frequency IPC ePerformanc
=
In the ‘286, ‘386, and ‘486 processor generations, the underlying architecture of thecompeting x86 processors was exactly the same; therefore IPC was equivalent among competingprocessors from several different companies. Since the IPC of these processors was essentiallyconstant, performance was perceived as:
FrequencyePerformanc
=
With those previous processor generations, the focus was purely on clock frequency (MHz) asthe differentiating performance factor.
 
W H I T E P A P E RW H I T E P A P E RW H I T E P A P E RW H I T E P A P E R
Page 3 Understanding Processor PerformanceAugust 24, 2001
Starting with the fifth generation of x86 processors, the AMD-K5® processor and thePentium® processor, this relationship was no longer true. AMD and Intel took differentapproaches to the internal architectures of these processors, even though they remainedcompatible with the x86 instruction set architecture. For the first time, IPC was different forcompeting processors running the same applications and benchmarks. Therefore, processorperformance was defined as:
Frequency IPC ePerformanc
=
The end result showing that frequency (MHz) alone no longer determined processorperformance.With the seventh-generation AMD Athlon™ processors and Pentium 4 processors,architectural designs, and thus IPC, have clearly diverged.
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2000 / MHz
AMD Athlon™Pentiu4

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