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Nehemiah M10000 Review
Posted on May 19, 2003

EPIA Benchmarks - Setup Details

To keep results as consistent as possible, we did a fresh install of Windows XP SP1 onto a Maxtor 60GB HDD inside a Chyang Fun E-Note case with a Samsung Combo DVD/CDRW drive. Each board was placed inside the machine and tested in turn. The BIOS of all boards was updated to 1.0F for the EPIA Ms and 207 for the classic EPIAs. EPIA M drivers were installed, and when it was their turn to be tested, the XP "rollback" feature was used to install classic EPIA drivers to prevent conflicts. The validity of this method was confirmed by benchmarking another EPIA 800 we had installed previously. Various sticks of memory and BIOS memory settings were tried, and the best results chose for each benchmark. Many tests were conducted multiple times, to ensure accuracy. One 256MB PC133 DIMM was used for the classic EPIAs, and a 256MB PC2100 DDR DIMM was used for the EPIA Ms.

Sisoft Sandra Benchmarks

Sisoft's Sandra is a comprehensive diagnostic, analysis and testing package. We tested the most relevant benchmark modules using the Standard 2003/SP1 version 9.44 on all 6 machines. Benchmarks do not always represent a true real-life performance, but they are useful to compare the speed of various CPUs, and elements of the system.

Estimated Performance Rating

Estimated Performance Rating

Sandra can quickly estimate a performance rating for a system, based on various factors such as CPU speed, RAM size etc. We were interested to see what numbers it came up with, and how they would translate to real world usage later on in our tests. The Nehemiah scored very highly in comparison to the Ezra-T M10000. Perhaps the full speed FPU was to Sandra's liking.

CPU Benchmark

Sandra Dhrystone benchmark

The Dhrystone benchmark is a long standing industry benchmark used to measure CPU performance using a standardised sampled of mainly numerical operations. The result is given in MIPS (Million Instructions Per Second). All boards produced approximately 1.3 MIPS per 1 MHz of CPU speed - apart from the Nehemiah, which attained 1.6 MIPS per MHz. This is clearly an improvement, and shows the Nehemiah to be more efficient than the earlier Ezra-T core.

Sandra Whetstone benchmark

The Whetstone benchmark measures FPU (Floating Point) performance, although many modern processors have a number of newer features such as out-of-order execution, pipelining and SSE2 which are not tested using this benchmark. Perhaps due to the benchmark's age, the full speed FPU of the Nehemiah failed to make an impact on this benchmark. All results were approximately 0.35 MFLOPS per 1 MHz of CPU.

CPU Multi-Media Benchmark

The CPU Multi-Media Benchmark uses all the Multimedia Extensions available to the CPU to draw a Mandelbrot fractal. Multimedia Extensions are additions to the x86 instruction set designed to make repeated or parallel operations run faster. Digital imaging or streaming video applications can make good use of these extensions, which use Single Instruction Multiple Data (SIMD) techniques. Changing the contrast of an image or MPEG decoding and encoding all require a large amount of data to be manipulated by the same instructions. This benchmark is therefore a good test of raw PVR (Personal Video Recorder) and MPEG2 playback functionality.

Sandra CPU Multi-Media Integer MMX

The Nehemiah has SSE (Streaming SIMD Extension) support, which was Intel's answer to AMD's 3DNow!, the first extensions with floating point support. All the other EPIAs use the Ezra-T core, which supports 3DNow! This is the most impressive Nehemiah benchmark - clearly demonstrating the superiority of the Nehemiah core, and boding well for our later DVD playback tests.

Historical Note: Intel subsequently released SSE2 in retaliation to an AMD 3DNow! Enhanced broadside, which added further SIMD instructions, but support is limited. Graphics cards have developed at an unheard of pace since the Intel released MMX, and now directly support DirectX in hardware. The networking, audio and video functionality that was supposed to be taken over by today's CPUs hasn't happened.

Sandra CPU Multi-Media FPU

The Floating-Point improvements were not so marked as the Integer results, but were still respectable. Real world results will therefore depend on the particular SIMD instructions used by a particular task.

Memory Benchmark

Sandra's Memory Benchmark creates several large arrays in memory and performs simple memory-bound arithmetic computations on them - thus reading and writing memory broadly independent of the CPU. It is slightly more objective than simply reading and writing to a large block of memory. In this test the maximum memory bandwidth of the Nehemiah is 1.06 GB/sec, due to its 133 MHz bus frequency and 64bit single data rate processor interface.

Sandra Int ALU/RAM Bandwidth

Sandra Float FPU/RAM Bandwidth

As we were testing with only 2 sticks of memory (one PC133, one PC2100 DDR), we expected to get similar but slightly faster results for the Ms than for the classic EPIAs. This is exactly what we got - apart from the Nehemiah, which excelled at the test (we ran it a couple more times to make sure). The Nehemiah was squeezing a lot more of the available bandwidth out of the memory.

PCMark 2002 -->

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