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LLVMpipe Scaling With Intel’s Core i7 Gulftown

“When finding out that an Intel Core i7 970 “Gulftown” CPU was
on the way, which boasts six physical cores plus another six
logical cores via Hyper Threading, immediately coming to mind was
to try out this latest Intel 32nm processor with the Gallium3D
LLVMpipe driver. There’s a lot to love about Gallium3D when it
comes open-source Linux graphics drivers with the possibilities
being presented by the different state trackers (such as native
Direct3D 11 support on Linux) and the hardware drivers themselves
being more advanced, easier to write, and eventually should be much
faster than the classic Mesa drivers for Linux. One of the drivers
that has especially been of interest is LLVMpipe, which is an
attempt to finally make a useful CPU-based software rasterizer for
Linux by leveraging the Low-Level Virtual Machine infrastructure.
Here is our introductory article to LLVMpipe and even with a Core
i7 “Bloomfield” processor the driver is very demanding, but with
Intel’s Gulftown the results are somewhat surprising as we
experiment with how this CPU-based driver scales up to twelve
threads.

“From the BIOS of the Intel X58 motherboard we used for testing,
the number of enabled cores can be configured (from one through
six) and Hyper Threading is easily controlled. This makes for very
easy testing to see how well LLVMpipe is able to scale on the Core
i7 970 and the performance of Intel’s Hyper Threading on their
modern CPUs.”


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