Fall IDF 2006: Intel Shows Quad-Core Kentsfield

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Ice Storm Fighters Demo and Threading

After taking a peak at the quad-core systems outside we were invited to a private briefing where a discussion on how to benchmark quad-core systems was given.  Legit Reviews already does the power consumption testing and application benchmarking so not much was new to us, but we did get a chance to see the latest build of Ice Storm Fighters by Futuermark.  This is an upcoming benchmark that is based off a small fully playable game and uses a true multi-threaded game engine.

Futuremark: Ice Storm Fighters

It was also interesting to see that the AGEIA PhysX SDK was being to handle the physics.  Intel informed the audience that no other demo or game on the market today has physics quite like Ice Storm Fighters and that it is the most acurate of all of them. 

Futuremark: Ice Storm Fighters

Since performance numbers on quad-core platforms are still a secret Intel didn’t run any full benchmarks to give us those in the room any hard numbers. They did on the other hand run the September 22, 2006 build of Ice Storm Fighters and in the background (in another window) run vTune Performance Analyzer 8.0. Intel’s vTune allows a peak at the internal events too see what is going on when the benchmark runs, so Intel was going to let us look at how this applications handles the data.

Futuremark: Ice Storm Fighters

The benchmark ran again with vTune in the background and near completion Intel stopped the game and took a look at the recorded vTune performance data.

Futuremark: Ice Storm Fighters vTune Results

The results show numerous bars with each bar representing threads that are doing the work. For this benchmark we have four dominant threads running the majority of the work.  The other two are the sound for the game and the other is actually vTune, which is recording the data that is displayed above.  If you were playing a normal game there would be one less thread as vTune wouldn’t be running. Since a quad-core processor was used during a benchmark vTune shows that Ice Storm Fighters is heavily threaded and running correctly on Intel’s upcoming quad-core processors.  Benchmarks like Ice Storm Fighters will be important in the future as industry insiders will have to judge quad-core versus dual-core performance and that is a hard thing to do right now.  One of the most interesting parts of the vTune results is the fact that it can analyze how much of the front side bus is being used when an application.  When running Ice Storm Fighters on a quad-core processor (we assume it was the QX6700) with a 1066MHz Front Side Bus (FSB) vTune showed that 13% of the FSB was being used.  This goes to show that even on intense upcoming games/benchmarks that are heavily threaded don’t require a higher front side bus.  Why would Intel point that out? 

IDF officially opens in a couple hours and as you can see Legit Reviews has been busy attending private demonstrations, listening to Intel’s thoughts on benchmarking quad-core processors and roaming the halls looking at quad-core systems!  LR will be sure to bring you more coverage when we find interesting topics that our readers will find interest in!

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