Monday Apr 13, 2009

Sun Studio Trounces Intel Compiler on Intel Chip

Today Sun announces a new world record for SPECfp2006: 50.4 on a 2-chip Nehalem (Intel Xeon X5570) Sun Blade X6270.

Congratulations to my colleagues in the Sun Studio Compiler group - the fun thing about this result is that it beats Intel's own compiler on this Intel chip by 20%, due to the optimization technologies found in the Sun Studio 12 Update 1 compiler.

SPECfp2006

System Processors Performance Results Comments
Type GHz Chips Cores Peak Base
Sun Blade X6270 Xeon 5570 2.93 2 8 50.4 45.0 New
Hitachi BladeSymphony BS2000 Xeon 5570 2.93 2 8 42.0 39.3 Top result at www.spec.org as of 14 Apr 2009
IBM Power 595 POWER6 5.00 1 1 24.9 20.1 Best POWER6 as of 14 Apr 2009

Note that even with the less aggressive "Base" tuning [SPECfp_base2006] the Sun Blade X6270 beats the best-posted "Peak" tuning from competitors [SPECfp2006].

Of course, the Intel compiler engineers are bright folks too, and they will no doubtless quickly provide additional performance on Nehalem. Still, it's fun to see the multi-target Sun Studio optimization technology deliver top results on a variety of platforms, now including Nehalem.

As to integer performance - the Sun Blade also takes top honors there [for peak]:

SPECint2006

System Processors Performance Results Comments
Type GHz Chips Cores Peak Base
Sun Blade X6270 Xeon 5570 2.93 2 8 36.9 32.0 New
Fujitsu Celsius R570 Xeon 5570 2.93 2 8 36.3 32.2 Top SPECint2006 result as of 14 Apr 2009

The Sun Blade results have been submitted to SPEC for review, and should appear at SPEC's website in about 2 weeks.

On a personal note, this was my first time using OpenSolaris. The level of compatibility with other operating systems is substantially improved; and utilities that this tester likes having handy are built in (e.g. the NUMA Observability Tools); and ZFS zips right along, needing less attention than ufs and delivering better performance.

SPEC, SPECint, SPECfp reg tm of Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation. Competitive results from www.spec.org as of 4/14/2009.

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