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Fluid Dynamics Benchmark - PowerMac G5 vs G4 vs Itanium
By Sean Garrick
Posted: Sept. 15th, 2003

I've benchmarked a several machines against a recently acquired 1.8GHz PowerMacintosh G5. The machines are a Dell 2.4GHz Xeon P4, a 900MHz Itanium2 SGI Altix, a 1.3GHz Itanium2 SGI Altix, a PowerMacintosh 1.42GHz G4, and a Cray X1.

I performed three tests with the same code configured in small, medium, and large memory configurations. The code solves the governing equations of fluid dynamics - the Navier-Stokes equations - and is floating point intensive.

A PDF file is included but the summary is this: Initially the Itanium2 based machines are faster, but the G5 extends its lead over all machines (except for the Cray X1) as the size of the code (memory) becomes larger. The largest size (500MB) is low to typical of the size of jobs I submit to massively parallel supercomputing platforms.
Sean Garrick
Nelson Assistant Professor
Department of Mechanical Engineering
University of Minnesota

(below is the PDF file converted to images and text)

    Computational Fluid Dynamics Code
  • Explicit MacCormack-based (Fortran90)
  • Compiled via XLF on Macintosh, EFC on Itanium2, and FTN on Cray

    Memory Configurations
  • Small (8MB): 500x125 grid points computed for 1500 time-steps
  • Medium (75MB): 1500x375 grid points computed for 700 time-steps
  • Large (500MB): 4000x1000 grid points computed for 300 time-steps

    Computers
  • Apple PowerMacintosh G4 Dual Processor 1.42GHz (2GB RAM)
  • Apple PowerMacintosh G5 1.8GHz (PowerPC 970) (1.5GB RAM)
  • Dell 2.4GHz Xeon Pentium 4 (TBD)
  • SGI Altix 3000 4 processor Intel Itanium2 900MHz (16GB RAM)
  • SGI Altix 3000 48 processor Intel Itanium2 1.3GHz (16GB RAM)
  • Cray XI (>64GB RAM)

    Conditions
  • All computations utilized one processor
  • All times are in seconds (shorter is better)
  • No input/output

    Summary
  • The 1.8GHz G5 is significantly faster than the 1.42GHz G4. As the job size or memory requirement is increased the G5 pulls ahead. The G5 is 2.73 times faster on the small memory code and 3.06 times faster on the medium memory code.

  • For the small memory job, the 1.3GHz Itanium2 (SGI Altix) is twice the speed of the G5 and the 900MHz Itanium2 (SGI Altix) is roughly 50% faster.

  • For the medium memory job the performance of the G5 and 900MHz Itanium are effectively equivalent, while the 1.3GHz Itanium is 15 percent faster.

  • For the large memory job, the performance of the G5 is nearly twice the speed of the 900MHz Itanium and is 1.48 times the speed of the 1.3GHz Itanium2.

  • The Cray XI spanks everything.

small memory results

medium memory results

large memory results

  
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