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Delayed AMD64 compiler shows great promise

Is Intel about to feel Opteron's aftershocks?
Wed Jul 02 2003, 11:16
LAST MONDAY, the Portland Group, which has been working on compilers and other tools that have been optimized for AMD64, should have gone gold with PGI Workstation 5.0, which includes those optimizations, but instead announced a delay until on or before July 7.

For its unreleased product, the Portland Group is making performance improvements claims averaging 34% over PGI Workstation 4.1 on several industry standard benchmarks. Now that is a huge hike in performance from just compiler optimizations. The SPEC2000 floating point benchmark shows one Opteron result improving by almost 375%.

I can't predict the performance improvement gains that we'll see from recompiled applications, but they should be good. As Douglas Miles, director of the Portland Laboratory, has said :

"Porting our software, which represents well over a half million lines of code, from 32-bit X86 processor-based systems to 64-bit AMD Opteron processor-based systems has been very straightforward. We have also been extremely impressed with the performance of both legacy 32-bit applications and 64-bit applications re-compiled to take advantage of the new features of the AMD Opteron processor."

If we see large performance gains from recompiled apps, then the Portland Group would have delivered, and what I said in an earlier INQUIRER article would also have come to pass (Future Opteron enhancements, 3rd paragraph):

"Even though Opteron's performance has been nothing short of spectacular, I would characterize it as also being raw. Remember how SSE2 turned the P4 from an ugly duckling into a swan? Compiler optimizations that are being done by the Portland Group might change Opteron from being the best x86 server processor to one that looks beyond reach. The beta was released last April, so when it's ready for prime time this month, Intel had better taken out its Xeon and Itanium insurance cover. If the Portland Group delivers, Opteron's aftershocks may just push Santa Clara's enterprise group into the sea. OK! I'm being a little facetious, but you get the point I'm making."

AMD announced yesterday the immediate availability of its AMD Core Math Library (ACML) for its AMD64-based platforms, which will greatly aid the HPC community. This development tool helps increase code accuracy and speed of delivery for improved performance of 32-bit and 64-bit x86 applications and systems. With this announcement and the imminent AMD64 compiler debut, the AMD64 development tools have started to fall into place.

A raft of new benchmark results may also accompany the AMD64 compiler debut. If that is true, then this will be something to look forward to. If AMD's 2 GHz Opteron debuts as well, then that would be the icing on the cake. µ

See Also
AMD's Opteron: Does it measure up?
Nforce and UDA deliver dollar saving multi-PC image

Is AMD ready to impact the enterprise space
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

 

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