24 Cores in Action

So how do you test 24 cores? This is not at all a trivial question! Many applications are not capable of using more than eight threads, and quite a few are limited to 16 cores. Just look at what happens if you try to render with Cinema4D on this 24-headed monster: (Click on the image for a clearer view.)

Cinebench fails to use all 24 cores

Yes, only 2/3 of the available processing power is effectively used. If you look closely, you'll see that only 16 cores are working at 100%.

Cinebench 10 64-bit

Cinebench is more than happy with the 3MB L2 cache, so adding a 16MB L3 has no effect whatsoever. The result is that only the improved Penryn core can improve the performance of the X7460. The sixteen 45nm Penryn cores at 2.66GHz are able to keep up with the sixteen 65nm Merom cores at 2.93GHz, but of course that is not good enough to warrant an upgrade. 3ds Max 2008 was no different, and in fact it was even worse:

3dsMax 2008 seems to be limited to 16 cores too

As we had done a lot of benchmarking with 3ds Max 2008, we wanted to see the new Xeon 7460 could do. The scanline renderer is the fastest for our ray-traced images, but it was not able to fully use 16 cores. Like Cinebench, it completely "forgot" to use the eight extra cores that our Xeon 7460 server offers. The results are very low, around 62 frames per hour, while a quad Xeon X7350 can do 88. As we have no explanation for this weird behavior, we didn't graph the results. We will have to take some time to investigate this further.

Even if we could get the rendering engines to work on 24 cores or more, it is clear that there are better ways to get good rendering performance. In most cases, it is much more efficient to simply buy less expensive servers and use Backburner to render several different images on separate servers simultaneously.

Benchmark configuration Intel's Own Benchmarking


View All Comments

  • steveyballme - Sunday, November 16, 2008 - link

    I think I'm in love people!

  • duploxxx - Thursday, November 13, 2008 - link

    your virtualisation life was very short, perhaps marketing can keep you alive for a while since on paper you are better with the amount of cores.

    your 24 cores @2,66ghz are just killed by 16cores @2,7ghz

  • steveyballme - Tuesday, October 28, 2008 - link

    Why are you people showing Windows XP dialog boxes for this stuff! The new processor works best with Vista people!

  • Photubias - Thursday, November 6, 2008 - link

    No XP boxes but Windows 2003 boxes. It is a Server!! Reply
  • synergyek - Wednesday, October 15, 2008 - link

    Why only testing scanline render? It's a slow and old monster. Can you add mental ray render to your tests or, maybe, vray, which is used in arch. visualizations? Also you can use Maya 32/64-bit (software, hardware, mental ray tests) for both windows and linux platforms. Mental ray on Vray uses all cores available in the system, and results must be much better, than ordinary scanline. Reply
  • duploxxx - Saturday, September 27, 2008 - link

    Nice article, altough in virtualisation with VMmark it was already clear that the new dunnington had more headroom with the additional cores.

    only few remark, since you are talking about a retail price of +25000euro you could at least add for information that there are 8socket barcelona for about 5000euro more that scale again way better then dunnington with its 32 cores. So indeed intel did a step up again after there tigertown was heavy beaten by new barcelona in 4s even in low speed but at a certain cost of platform, afterall this dunnington is not cheap. it will be the question what a 4s shangai @3.0 ghz will do against this 6 core giant, afterall it is a huge die and the shangai will be way cheaper and consume less.

    lets hope you update this nice article with the soon to be released shangai.
  • Sirlach - Friday, September 26, 2008 - link

    From my research when the hex cores were announced the super micro boards came with an x16 slot. Is it possible to see how CPU restricted multithreaded games perform on this monster? Since it is running server 2008 this is theoretically possible!
  • BaronMatrix - Thursday, September 25, 2008 - link

    It seems like a better comparison would be with the number of cores the same. You could take a 4S and remove one chip and match that against a 2S Dunnington.

    From what I saw, it is nowhere near 50% faster though it has 50% more cores plus 4 times the cache. It looks like Intel may NEVER catch up with Opteron. Shanghai will just increase the difference.

    It's just a shame Hector decided to have a "devalue the brand name" fire-sale or we'd be much closer to Bulldozer and SSE5.
  • trivik12 - Thursday, September 25, 2008 - link

    4S has been one market where AMD dominated even after conroe's release. With Tigerton intel chipped away AMD's market share bcos of barcelona issues. with Dunnington Intel has a performance advantage. U dont look at per core performance but overall platform performance. AMD needs to catch up soon bcos with beckton AMD will be behind 8th ball in that market as well. Reply
  • snakeoil - Wednesday, September 24, 2008 - link

    intel is cannibalizing nehalem this are desperate measures from a desperate man.
    this is a dead end road, sooner or later intel will have to dump the front side bus,but its evident that intel is not very confident about nehalem and quick path.
    these processor are the last kick of an agonizing technology.
    this is just a souped up old car. nothing more.

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