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Intel's Superchilled Test Rig

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the now-that's-offsides dept.

Graphics 147

Barence writes "Last week, PC Pro issued a challenge to see whose PC could render a 3D graphics benchmark in the shortest time. The competition was won by an entrant with a rather unfair advantage: Intel. The processor giant's superchilled rig is overclocked to nearly 5GHz. As PC Pro explains: 'The rig itself uses phase-change cooling: in other words it's attached to a chuffing great freezer, which I believe is the big box on the right of the photo. That yellow meter with the readout is showing the temperature of its output: yes, that's minus 40 degrees Celcius.'"

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147 comments

Woah, the rig is really fast! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33170244)

First!

In a galaxy far, far away (4, Funny)

PmanAce (1679902) | more than 3 years ago | (#33170254)

Judging from that photo, we are still in the infancy of computing. The Millenium Falcon looks like that everywhere!

Re:In a galaxy far, far away (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33171224)

Judging from that photo, we are still in the infancy of computing. The Millenium Falcon looks like that everywhere!

So like the Millenium Falcon, "Inte'ls Superchilled Test Rig" is nigger-rigged? Shit, "jury-rigged" is the politically correct term. I guess it depends on whether you think "nigger" is a race of people or an idea that some people of any kind conform to.

Re:In a galaxy far, far away (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33171762)

I believe the politically correct term now is "presidentially-engineered".

the only question... (0, Redundant)

Aspenth (1332327) | more than 3 years ago | (#33170272)

...but can it run Crysis?

Re:the only question... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33170314)

No, but I hope AMD can.

Re:the only question... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33170872)

worn out meme is worn out.

Re:the only question... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33170906)

In Soviet Russia, memes wear out YOU!

Nice (1, Funny)

uncholowapo (1666661) | more than 3 years ago | (#33170306)

Great way to whip out the high enterprise penis Intel.

You are missing the SECRET AGENDA! (5, Interesting)

HiggsBison (678319) | more than 3 years ago | (#33170796)

"Nearly 5GHz". The whole point here that everyone seems to be missing is that they made something go more than 1000 times as fast as the original 4.77 MHz IBM PC.

Now if they could give it 640MB of memory and a 110MB floppy drive...

Re:You are missing the SECRET AGENDA! (2, Interesting)

Korin43 (881732) | more than 3 years ago | (#33171448)

What's interesting is that 5 Ghz isn't all that impressive a number anymore. People have gotten i5's to 5 Ghz on air.

Re:You are missing the SECRET AGENDA! (2, Interesting)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 3 years ago | (#33171778)

What's interesting is that someone has a job where they can just go grab the latest and greatest intel chip whenever they want to, for free.

Re:You are missing the SECRET AGENDA! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33171874)

Now if they could give it 640MB of memory and a 110MB floppy drive...

Sorry, I think they used up all their duct tape.

Light speed limit (2, Interesting)

mangu (126918) | more than 3 years ago | (#33172468)

Clock speed has reached the ultimate physical limit, light speed.

If you take a measuring tape to a motherboard and do some math, you'll see that once we got past a few GHz there's no way a bit can go from one chip to the other within one clock cycle.

The result of that is that chips need local caches and pipelines, etc, until the complexity starts digging into the performance. And power consumption skyrockets.

-40C (1)

confused one (671304) | more than 3 years ago | (#33170310)

No problem. I've got an environmental test chamber which I can use to bring the entire system to -40C. Had it at -75C last week; but, I don't think it could reach that temp with the heat load of a PC. Wonder what numbers I'd get.

Re:-40C (5, Informative)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#33170324)

-40C is also -40F ... so -40 it is

Re:-40C (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33170398)

then one might make the mistake of -40k

Re:-40C (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33170432)

then one might make the mistake of -40k

No. They wouldn't.

Re:-40C (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33170514)

I think, if they're stupid enough to make that mistake, they probably don't even know what the Kelvin scale is.

I was going to respond saying that some people are pretty damn stupid, but then I realized this. It makes me sad.

Re:-40C (5, Interesting)

by (1706743) (1706744) | more than 3 years ago | (#33170620)

Negative Kelvin [wikipedia.org] is actually possible...

Re:-40C (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33172262)

But it doesn't mean what you think it does. From the very article you just linked to:

Temperatures that are expressed as negative numbers on the familiar Celsius or Fahrenheit scales are simply colder than the zero points of those scales. By contrast, a system with a truly negative temperature is not colder than absolute zero; in fact, temperatures colder than absolute zero are impossible by definition.

There you have it.

Re:-40C (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33170414)

But what if you mean -40 kelvin?! What would we do then!!!!

Re:-40C (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 3 years ago | (#33170496)

How cool can it get the CPU though? Afaict the CPU usually runs quite a bit hotter than the surrounding air.

Also I wonder how the rest of the PC would survive those temperatures.

Re:-40C (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33172188)

Ultra cold freezers in molecular biology and chemistry labs typically operate below -80 deg. C (usually -85 or -86): why hasn't someone overclocked a computer in one of those? You'll find at least a dozen on any given large University campus. -40 deg. C can't even keep CO2 solid... lame.

Correction (5, Funny)

Alsee (515537) | more than 3 years ago | (#33170338)

That yellow meter with the readout is showing the temperature of its output: yes, that's minus 40 degrees celcius.

Correction, it's minus 40 degrees fahrenheit.

-

Re:Correction (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33170358)

Do out the conversion. -40F == -40C

Re:Correction (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33170368)

Which is minus 40 degrees celsius.

Re:Correction (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33170402)

Man, everyone else who replied to this comment is a fucking idiot. Stop trying to prove someone else wrong and just get the obvious joke.

Re:Correction (5, Insightful)

Tridus (79566) | more than 3 years ago | (#33170486)

This post deserves bonus points for getting so many people to reply while totally missing the joke.

Re:Correction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33170634)

+1

Biggest chuckle I've had for a while on /. Only surpassed by the replies.

AMD (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 3 years ago | (#33170356)

Any AMD stats for comparison?

Re:AMD (1)

TheEyes (1686556) | more than 3 years ago | (#33170372)

Sorry; AMD can't afford a freezer.

Re:AMD (2, Interesting)

Threni (635302) | more than 3 years ago | (#33170518)

According to one of the comments (about AMD winning $1B+ from Intel) they can afford a fairly substantial freezer...

Re:AMD (2, Informative)

TheEyes (1686556) | more than 3 years ago | (#33170978)

I'm aware; I've actually invested in some 2012 call options on AMD stock. Even as-is they should be worth $10 a share. If Bobcat can make them competitive in the ultraportable market (Android on ARM is going to eat Intel's lunch in the netbook-level arena; x86's crufty instruction set can't compete at that low level), and/or Bulldozer makes them competitive in the mid- to high-end desktop market, that should go up to $13-15, easy. It is a hell of a gamble, though; they're still almost a full processor node behind Intel, and that's hard to compete with.

Re:AMD (1)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 3 years ago | (#33172174)

Riiight. Just like the x86's "crufty" instruction set couldn't compete in the scientific computing/HPC domain. Oh, wait... I think you'll find Moorestown already proves you wrong, and Medfield will prove you completely wrong. ARM is (and will be for a long time) dominant in the low end embedded market in terms of power/performance, but it's being threatened from above as the Atom chips get more and more integrated.

Beated (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33170586)

On my non-overclocked 1055T (stock HSF) it took 44 seconds.

Re:Beated (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33170652)

This was 5.1x faster than my desktop Dual 3ghz Conroe system. Part of the performance difference may be due to the desktop running 32bit whereas the hexacore machine runs 64bit OS.

Re:Beated (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33171632)

Why are you still running x64!!???

I'ld rather have a recently-fabricated HP Alpha. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33170366)

I'm sick of all this Intel and AMD nonsence.

SO many better computing architectures, that
are more power-efficient, and no anti-trust
is being pursued.

I would rather have a fab'-shrunk recent Alpha
processor at around 1.4GHz from the 21364b branch
than tolerate another frying-pan processor from
Intel or AMD.

I'm typing this on a Sun UltraSPARC iii processor-
based system, BTW. Both Sun's SPARC and HP's DEC/Alpha
are recently using RAMBUS technology for superior bandwidth
and latency that is licensed by both JEDEC and Rambus.

IBM's Power architecture is just too expensive, yet here I
have this 3-year old technology that I'm using and it's
quality-made to last another 10 years like how all the old
386 and 486 computers do, and it fits in a 1U and 2U Rackmount
  unlike even Intel's hardware.

Re:I'ld rather have a recently-fabricated HP Alpha (1)

mat128 (735121) | more than 3 years ago | (#33170912)

RAMBUS is dead. I remember the old days where you could get a Pentium 4 that used RAMBUS. This shit was always overrated and super expansive. I knew people who had 128MB of RAMBUS (and you had to buy this shit in pair too) who wanted to upgrade to something descent for the times, like 1G. They ended up getting a whole new computer for the price they would have paid for their RAMBUS, and their new computer was much faster than their old one.
Also, Intel EPSD does server stuff. Check it out [intel.com].

Re:I'ld rather have a recently-fabricated HP Alpha (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33172178)

Jesus, tell me you're joking. If not, this blathering nonsense might be the silliest thing I've read here today, and I think you might have some kind of mental health issue.

IS THAT IN CELCIUS OR AMERICAN? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33170420)

Freakin summaries

Re:IS THAT IN CELCIUS OR AMERICAN? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33170512)

40c

The c stands for COMMUNIST!

40f

The f stands for Fuck Yeah!

under 60 seconds? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33170428)

user@system:~/src/smallpt$ time ./smallpt 100
Rendering (100 spp) 100.00%
real 0m49.354s
user 6m5.160s
sys 0m0.250s

Dual Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU E5530 @ 2.40GHz (quad-core)
12GiB ram

and of course, Linux powered. but, just because, i've also got a concurrent VMWare XP workstation running in the background.
And firefix, and thunderbird, and pidgin....

i'm currently building the 5000 point scene, so i'll followup with those numbers in about 75% more time.

Re:under 60 seconds? (1)

ak_hepcat (468765) | more than 3 years ago | (#33170434)

Dammit, /., i'm logged in. why did you post me as AC?

Sigh.

Whatever.

Re:under 60 seconds? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33170460)

/. doesn't like cats with hepatitis who wield AK-47s.

Re:under 60 seconds? (1)

ak_hepcat (468765) | more than 3 years ago | (#33170616)

user@system:~/src/smallpt$ time ./smallpt 5000
Rendering (5000 spp) 100.00%
real 38m55.591s
user 301m41.140s
sys 0m5.950s

38m isn't too shabby, i guess.

Re:under 60 seconds? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33171268)

you think someone cares?

Re:under 60 seconds? (1)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 3 years ago | (#33171276)

[user@system] ~ $ time ./smallpt 5000
Rendering (5000 spp) 100.00%
real 16m28.799s
user 262m48.590s
sys 0m2.280s :)

Re:under 60 seconds? (1)

cynyr (703126) | more than 3 years ago | (#33170924)

so, is it multi-threaded? because it seems to use 1-4 cores max, from the benchmark numbers i see....

Re:under 60 seconds? (1)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 3 years ago | (#33172028)

It most certainly is multithreaded, I have it using 16 cores at once on one of the machines I have access to.

In fact, if you look at the code you might not see at first how exactly it's threaded. That's because it's using OpenMP, which it turns out is an absurdly easy and concise way of parallelizing code. Check out this [rajorshi.net] for more info on using OpenMP with gcc, it is really slick stuff.

Re:under 60 seconds? (1)

SwedishPenguin (1035756) | more than 3 years ago | (#33171034)

time ./smallpt 100
Rendering (100 spp) 100.00%
real 0m54.164s
user 3m33.343s
sys 0m0.083s

Intel(R) Core(TM) i7 CPU 860 @ 2.80GHz (quad)
4GB RAM
2.6.35-rc6-rc
Arch Linux

With spotify, chromium, a few terminals, KDE and ark also running.

Big advantage? (2, Interesting)

leachlife4 (638543) | more than 3 years ago | (#33170576)

Phase change cooling is not really that extreme of a cooling system for benchmarking... go to Quakecon you will see quite a few people with it.
LN2 (or even better liquid He) on the other hand could be considered an unfair advantage.

Re:Big advantage? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33170630)

no a really big advantage would be putting the entire rig in a satalite sat in the earths shadow out in the void with a massive superconductor heat sink spreading the heat across 2 or 3 kilometers for really low temps and just beaming the results back via a micro wave trasmiter powerful enough to melt the icecaps... at least that how the borg would do it....

Re:Big advantage? (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#33170726)

I think they just meant unfair in that it was Intel doing it. First that means they can put whatever funds they like to the challenge. A normal user has limits but Intel could spend an effectively unlimited amount if they so chose. Second they can pick the processor. Maybe this is just a random EE of the shelf, or maybe he tested a bunch and found the best. Intel does make them, after all. Finally Intel's engineers probalby know about the limits and how to reach them better than anyone else.

Re:Big advantage? (3, Informative)

mat128 (735121) | more than 3 years ago | (#33170982)

If you read TFA (but this is /.), it says he used a retail processor. He was also limited to a single-socket solution, which means no multi-sockets server boards.

Re:Big advantage? (1)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 3 years ago | (#33171476)

Liquid helium's not better. Your primary problem at that point is not how low of a temperature you can achieve, but maintaining the temperature while the object you're cooling is producing such large amounts of heat. Liquid nitrogen has a better heat capacity than liquid helium (and is enormously cheaper), so it's going to work better.

Re:Big advantage? (1)

15Bit (940730) | more than 3 years ago | (#33171946)

I'm not sure i'd class Liq He as an advantage. Having worked with it i'd call it a pain in the arse, and totally unsuitable for computer cooling. Low heat capacity and insanely low temp mean it has to be transported and stored in large, very well insulated containers, so it lacks the easy mobility of liq N2. Transferring liq He from one container to another also requires some skill if you don't want to evaporate the whole lot during transfer.

Oh, did i mention it gives you splendid burns too.

I'm buying real-estate on Pluto (2, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 3 years ago | (#33170600)

it will be the happening place for gamers.

Re:I'm buying real-estate on Pluto (1)

Arbition (1728870) | more than 3 years ago | (#33171740)

Assuming it has air... Otherwise, why not in an interstellar void, or even better, intergalactic. Bring on the massiveo heatsinks please, we have a lot of radiating to do.

Re:I'm buying real-estate on Pluto (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33172008)

In Space, no one can hear your CPU fan scream.

Re:I'm buying real-estate on Pluto (1)

GrumblyStuff (870046) | more than 3 years ago | (#33172360)

Available energy would also be a concern. Diddly squat for solar and I don't really see there being either local fuel or oxidizers.

Actually a Bugatti Veyron engine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33170648)

It measures it's clock speed in horse power and "FP" units refers to Foot Pounds of torque. If you floor it the Veyron Renderer can render the movie "Up" in under an hour but it'll drain it's fuel tank in 17 minutes flat out. Bugatti is working on a new Veyron hybrid renderer that can render your project on your way home from work. The difficult part will be explaining to the cop that you had to do 240 mph in a 25 mph zone because you had a deadline and needed the shots rendered.

Re:Actually a Bugatti Veyron engine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33171734)

wut

Psh, only 29sec here (2, Interesting)

Fry-kun (619632) | more than 3 years ago | (#33170724)

on a 2x6core server at work ;)

[xxxx@xxxx smallpt]$ time ./smallpt 100
Rendering (100 spp) 100.00%
real 0m29.127s
user 5m41.044s
sys 0m0.093s

P.S. and compiling didn't take me hours, either, since I'm on Linux

Re:Psh, only 29sec here (1)

somenickname (1270442) | more than 3 years ago | (#33170870)

He must have forgotten to turn on optimization (or the MS compiler is *that* bad at optimizing). Even my lowly 2.5Ghz Core2 Duo T9300 renders this in 2m10s on Linux. Core for core, that makes my 2.5 year old laptop chip nearly twice as fast as his i7 980X.

4.94 GHz at 1.62V!!! (2)

fontkick (788075) | more than 3 years ago | (#33170728)

Insane voltage... the 980 is rated up to 1.375V. I'm happy with a i7-860 @ 3.6 GHz running on 1.2V.

Intel's made upgrading much more fun considering you can get a 30-40% CPU speed increase in about 10 minutes of research and bios tweaking. Next fall there will be 8-core/16-threads on the desktop. I am loving Intel these days.

Getting colder... (5, Funny)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#33170738)

For extra effect, they should put Debian 6.0 "Squeeze" there; also recently frozen.

February in Ottawa (1)

rueger (210566) | more than 3 years ago | (#33170744)

So let me understand this. They cool the thing down an average winter temperature in half of Canada, and it's a big deal?

Already I see thousands of gamers running cables out their bedroom windows and leaving their rigs in the snowbank outside.

Re:February in Ottawa (2, Informative)

Shados (741919) | more than 3 years ago | (#33170930)

It doesn't get to -40C very frequently in most of the populated (well, more than small villages anyway) regions of canada :). -35 happens, but its far from an average, unless you live all the way north in the middle of nowhere or in the territories.

Re:February in Ottawa (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33171704)

or Calgary / Edmonton.... fuck, who builds cities where it can get that cold? retards, that's who.

Screw yer Giga-hurts nonsense! (2, Funny)

sherpajohn (113531) | more than 3 years ago | (#33171096)

I am more interested a a FPU (food processing unit) than a CPU - how long to render Natalie Portman in hot grits?

9bitch (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33171206)

balance is struck, to survive at all study. [rice.edu] bought the farm.... to download the This post brought thing for The problem stems and abroad for

Windows optimizations (4, Informative)

tomz16 (992375) | more than 3 years ago | (#33171352)

There is something seriously wrong with the optimizations in his windows binary...

Ran in 36 seconds on a 4 x 8224 SE AMD opteron IBM x-server running linux (8 total cores at 3.2GHz)

 

Real Story: Windows Benchmark is Slow (3, Interesting)

Rob Riggs (6418) | more than 3 years ago | (#33171378)

The posts from users running Linux on the forum are showing times that are 4-5x faster than those posting benchmarks from Windows. What's going on there?

This is like trying to hold a contest (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 3 years ago | (#33171850)

Of who can blow up a rack of PCs into the smallest size pieces.

And having the US military unexpectedly enter into the contest, using a tactical nuke to blow up the rack, for their entry in the contest

You know... for PR... to bolster recruitment rates.

.

Same difference... AMD could probably best Intel, if they spent more money on a rig of their own. I think it kind of defeats the point to have large corporations with massive resources the average high-end user could barely dream of seeing in person participate in contests like this

Re:This is like trying to hold a contest (1)

The boojum (70419) | more than 3 years ago | (#33172032)

It's not as though they're competing for a prize here. It's just a friendly competition. You're free to ignore their result and focus on the rest if you like.

Personally, I find this kind of thing interesting as far as seeing what's possible, even if it's not exactly practical.

OS X Compile? (1)

appleguru (1030562) | more than 3 years ago | (#33172346)

I tried to compile and run this on OS X (SL, 10.6.4, gcc 4.2.1). I downloaded the .tar.gz from http://kevinbeason.com/smallpt/ [kevinbeason.com], and ran make (which runs g++ with compile flags of -O3 -fopenmp...). It compiled fine. Running it gives a Bus Error though.. any ideas?

They're... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33172368)

Cheating ba***rds!

Poor code for a benchmark (5, Informative)

hvdh (1447205) | more than 3 years ago | (#33172456)

I had a 30 minute look at the source code. It's clearly optimized for shortness, not for speed.
There are some obvious performance no-gos, see lines 44-45, using a double variable as a loop counter.
Performance depends to a good extent on the erand48 implementation and whether OpenMP knows that erand48 is MT-safe.

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