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Thread: ARM vs x64

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    ARM vs x64

    It's really hard to find good benchmarks of ARM vs x86 CPUs, but Anand provides some measurements on industry-standard benchamrks:



    Note that while Apple A13 has the same speed as Ryzen/Core, the frequencies is at least 1.5x different, so Apple CPUs already has 1.5x higher IPC!!!

    And while you may think that they have special optimizations for SPEC, I've also seen 7-zip benchmark results comparing Intel and ARM cpus - Intel has better IPC on compression (due to 128-bit memory controller, I believe), while ARM has better IPC on decompression. And you can see above that Apple CPUs are significantly better than ARM own ones.

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    Can't wait for the rumors about ARM-based Apple notebook to materialize. With enough RAM it could run some serious benchmarks. SPEC CPU2006 requires only 1 GB of RAM and is pretty outdated, but there's SPEC CPU2017 already and it requires at least 16 GiB of RAM for running the full version.

    Geekbench 5 scores shows similar story as SPEC CPU2006 (despite poor opinions about Geekbench scores reliability), i.e. Apple A13 sits between Intel Core i9-9900k and AMD Ryzen 9 3950X. Fastest cores from Arm company seem to have IPC comparable to high-end x86 microarchitectures (Skylake, Zen 2) when running in native mode (no x86 emulation or other weird things like that).

    A disadvantage of mobile SoCs (microarchitectures) is that they are still limited to rather old SIMD extensions, i.e. 128-bit SIMD named "Advanced SIMD" (Neon). I think it's rather likely that the mobile ARM cores would lose a lot in SIMD-heavy workloads vs high-end x86 cores. There's Scalable Vector Extension (SVE) for ARM but it's not yet available in hardware. Fujitsu A64FX will have it, but it seems it will have a low clock and pretty low general performance (instead it focuses on reliability, scalability and wide SIMD). IIUC then SPEC CPU benchmarks don't allow manual SIMD optimizations, so the only way to achieve any gain from SSE/ AVX/ NEON/ SVE/ whatever is to rely on compiler optimizations which seem to not give substantial gains.

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    Bulat Ziganshin (9th May 2020)

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    Japan Captures TOP500 Crown with Arm-Powered Supercomputer
    The new top system, Fugaku, turned in a High Performance Linpack (HPL) result of 415.5 petaflops, besting the now second-place Summit system by a factor of 2.8x. Fugaku, is powered by Fujitsu’s 48-core A64FX SoC, becoming the first number one system on the list to be powered by ARM processors. In single or further reduced precision, which are often used in machine learning and AI applications, Fugaku’s peak performance is over 1,000 petaflops (1 exaflops). The new system is installed at RIKEN Center for Computational Science (R-CCS) in Kobe, Japan
    It seems they broke the record without using GPUs at all. Just https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fujitsu_A64FX CPUs.
    Current TOP500 list: https://top500.org/lists/top500/2020/06


    Update:
    Rumors of Apple transitioning from x86 to ARM this year were true: https://www.anandtech.com/show/15875...-to-apple-socs
    In few months we'll see the actual performance in desktop workloads.
    Last edited by Piotr Tarsa; 23rd June 2020 at 13:47.

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    Also note A64FX uses HBM2 with 32GB per 48 cores and bandwidth of 1TB/s. A lot of bandwidth but small memory capacity.

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    Quote Originally Posted by algorithm View Post
    Also note A64FX uses HBM2 with 32GB per 48 cores and bandwidth of 1TB/s. A lot of bandwidth but small memory capacity.
    There's 32 GiB of local RAM per node, but the nodes are connected with 6D torus named Tofu interconnect, which provides tens of gigabytes per second of bandwidth between nodes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bulat Ziganshin View Post
    Ampere Altra is based on Arm Neoverse N1 which is a modification of area-optimized Cortex-A76. As seen on https://images.anandtech.com/doci/15...h-page-008.jpg it still has pretty weak SIMD - only 2x128-bit. OTOH Cortex-X1 has twice as many units https://en.wikichip.org/wiki/arm_hol...ures/cortex-x1 putting it in line with client version of Skylake (server Skylakes have AVX-512 which is a totally different league, but OTOH AVX-512 isn't that well supported in software).

    Apple has fat ARM cores, but they lost their chief CPU architect (Gerard Williams III), who is now leading new startup https://nuviainc.com/leadership that aims at server market. They (Nuvia inc) will probably deliver Apple A1x-like general IPC, but they are pretty quiet about their plans.

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    algorithm (24th June 2020)

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    Piotr Tarsa Thank you for pointing out Nuvia. Very interesting. Unfortunately it is going to be ARM and not RISCV. Maybe they thing it is too early for riscv.

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    Quote Originally Posted by algorithm View Post
    Piotr Tarsa Thank you for pointing out Nuvia. Very interesting. Unfortunately it is going to be ARM and not RISCV. Maybe they thing it is too early for riscv.
    RISC-V is still mostly an academic project. Arm has built a software ecosystem and a set of standards: https://nuviainc.com/blog/the-import...servers-boring ARM servers are already deployed (e.g. Amazon Graviton CPU on Amazon cloud), software is slowly catching up (e.g. Microsoft Edge finally has an ARM version IIRC), etc

    Choosing RISC-V over ARM won't give you any performance difference in itself. At least I didn't see anywhere any proof that any ISA (x86, ARM, PowerPC, SPARC, etc) is somewhat performance limited by design. AMD was planning an ARM core with performance equal to Zen core, but they didn't make it https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AMD_K12 Probably that wasn't financially sensible - AMD doesn't have enough influence over the market to make such products attractive to consumers and system integrators. Apple OTOH makes not only CPUs, but also GPUs, NPUs, plenty of other hardware, operating systems, compilers, productivity suites, etc so they don't have to negotiate with anyone else to integrate mentioned products with new ones.
    Last edited by Piotr Tarsa; 25th June 2020 at 09:39. Reason: .

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    Yes RISCV want buy you any performance.

    The point of RISCV is that you don't pay licenses, you are not dependent on ARM and you can add ISA extensions without asking anyone.
    Also POWER and MIPS are also free now(but you can't add extensions i think). RISCV, I think, is going to be big in embedded (already is to some extend). Server market is difficult to enter.

    About RISCV cores. There is Sifive with a cortex a72 like core and also Alibaba, and Esperanto. Western digital has released as open source some very performant embedded cores EH1 and EH2.And they are going to release a linux capable one. But probably it is going to be an order one.
    Also EU is developing HPC with ARM and a RISCV vector accelerator.

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    The point of RISCV is that you don't pay licenses
    Designing a high performance core (i.e. significantly higher performance than the standard Cortex-A or Cortex-X series) is probably multiple times more costly than the license to do so.

    you are not dependent on ARM and you can add ISA extensions without asking anyone
    IIUC Arm added the capability for custom instructions: https://www.forbes.com/sites/tiriasr...-instructions/

    RISCV, I think, is going to be big in embedded (already is to some extend)
    Embedded doesn't require high single thread performance, it requires low power. I think the in-order CPU designs from Arm have relatively cheap licenses: https://www.arm.com/products/flexible-access/startup

    Server market is difficult to enter.
    Yes and as I've said - there's already a server ARM ecosystem and standards, while RISC-V is still maturing.

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    (Sorry if this post is a little rude, but I'm fed up with baseless stories about ARM inferiority)

    Guy is spewing typical nonsense:
    - ARM can't have as high performance as x86
    - ARM lacks some mysterious features that only x86 can have
    - ARM can't integrate with as much hardware as x86
    - etc

    Where's any proof of that? The actual situation seems to be quite opposite:
    - ARM in the form of Apple Silicon has very high performance already and it's going up quickly. That is visible even in the first post here.
    - I haven't seen any example of functionalities that are possible on x86, but aren't on ARM. x86 prophets tells us otherwise, but is x86 a religion? You have access to ISAs (instruction set architecture) so you can find the mysterious features yourself, but there aren't any.
    - ARM can be integrated with hardware typically seen with x86, e.g. nVidia has full support for CUDA on ARM processors (currently nVidia supports x86, ARM and POWER architectures), nVidia Shield is an integration of ARM with GeForce, there are rumors of Samsung integrating RDNA (the new Radeon cores) in their upcoming ARM based smartphone SoCs, etc

    I'm mostly interested in any logical explanation on why ARM can't scale its performance up to the levels of x86 or above. No biased, unfounded, vague claims but actual technical analysis showing understanding of ARM and x86 architectures.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gotty View Post
    Mac on ARM is an unknown so it's a perfectly logical idea to wait for independent benchmarks and see how the software we're interested in will perform on Apple Silicon based machines. Nothing shocking there. Same goes for choosing between AMD CPU and Intel CPU or AMD GPU and nVidia GPU.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Piotr Tarsa View Post
    (Sorry if this post is a little rude, but I'm fed up with baseless stories about ARM inferiority)
    Oh, no problem. You have to know, I don't know much about the topic.
    I felt the 1st video a bit (?) biased, but since I didn't find hard numbers that clearly supports or refutes the claims (the full picture is still very blurry)... I thought I'd post these - could be interesting for the readers of the thread.
    Thank you for posting your view.

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    NUVIA Phoenix Targets +40-50% ST Performance Over Zen 2 for Only 33% the Power

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    When tested by GeekBench 5, at every point, ARM’s results are more power efficient/higher performant than anything available on x86, even though at the high end Apple and Intel are almost equal on performance (for 4x the power on Intel). Note that Intel cores run up to 5 Ghz, while Apple cores run only up to 3 GHz.


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