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Civ 6 Multicore performance

Discussion in 'Civ6 - General Discussions' started by Cromagnus, Nov 3, 2016.

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  1. Gorbles

    Gorbles Load Balanced

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    I should drop my Q6600 back into my PC and see how it works, heh. That said the 2.4GHz clock will severely drag by comparison to my current i5-3570K (3.4Ghz base clock).

    To anyone with experience on the subject: how relevant are clock speeds still, in this day and age? Due to a lack of multithreading for PC platform titles, is it still beneficial to push for as high as clock speed as possible? I honestly didn't think it mattered that much so long as it was decent (i.e. 3GHz or above).
     
  2. Cromagnus

    Cromagnus Deity

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    I do hope Zen is as good as advertised. Without competition, Intel has been delivering bad value to consumers, IMHO. If the rumors are to be believed, the low-end Zen will be 4C/8HT. It remains to be seen how effective their HT solution is. Intel's solution is proprietary, and AMD in recent years has not demonstrated the ability to deliver equally efficient chip designs. But, if the Zen can compete, and AMD undercuts Intel pricing, that will translate to more and more consumers having 8+ logical cores. It's not unreasonable to think that 2017 will be the year that developers start targeting multi-core PCs in greater numbers.

    Even in 2016 it's a big jump in the number of titles. Battlefield 1 is HT-friendly until you hit 8 cores, as is RotTR. So is Doom in Vulkan mode. (If you want the framerate locked at 144Hz and you aren't rocking a fast CPU)

    Add in the number of titles shipping this holiday season with DX12 support, and the picture should look pretty different next year.

    Ironically, this is bad news for chip makers. There are millions of PCs out there with idle cores, and games are shipping more CPU-efficient. With less reason than ever to upgrade your CPU, AMD may be re-entering a very bad market.

    EDIT: I stand corrected on 8-core market penetration. The steam report only shows physical cores. So it's probably more accurate to say that only 25% of PC owners have 8 logical cores. And yes, the typical performance improvement (when the # of physical cores is insufficient for the title) is 20%-30%, 50% in certain circumstances. So, it is true that if you take any two otherwise identical chips, where one is running in 3C/0HT mode, and the other is running in 2C/4HT mode, the 3C will usually win. An otherwise identical 6C/0HT would generally outperform a 4C/8HT. If you can afford an 8-core, by all means run it with hyper-threading turned off, because it will likely be a while before most titles take advantage of 12 logical cores. (Which is about what it would take before a 6C/12HT outperformed an 8C/0HT)

    However, Civ6 could very well be the biggest exception to the rule. With peak usage of 16-20 logical cores during AI calculations, you're probably better off with the high-core count hyper-threaded machine, *as long as you're content with the average FPS*.

    For my 6-core, the framerate almost never drops below 60, so hyper-threading is worth it to get the improved "next turn" processing. My 12-core (which can't be overclocked) can't quite hold 60 with the current DX11 implementation, due to the thermal throttling and variable turbo. But it screams through the AI calculations. It seemed to perform best with 8C/16HT and 12C/0HT, but it was hard to measure since the benchmark is measuring both average FPS and AI turn times. I supect 12C/24HT would have scored better if half the benchmark wasn't bottlenecked by the render threads.

    Anyway, I'll probably have to wait for DX12 to play on that machine. :p

    DRAM considerations make it very complicated. Skylake, with only dual-channel DDR4, has literally half the memory bandwidth of Haswell-E. Once you max out that memory bandwidth, threads will stall. This is true whether you're hyper-threaded or not. So if there's another thread running on that core that can work with in-cache memory while that other thread is stalled, hyper-threading will perform better. Without hyper-threading, that stalled thread won't relinquish the CPU, so that core just does nothing for a while. But, generally speaking, more threads = more DRAM pressure. There is a point of diminishing returns. (The cure for memory stalls is not more memory reads...)

    I'm quite excited about the possibilities of high-end Zen APUs with HBM2. That could be a game-changer.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2016
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  3. TruthfulCake

    TruthfulCake Prince

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    Wait, what is the graphics chip you use in each machine? I thought that a good Maxwell chip would be able to consistently give you 60 FPS in Civ 6?
     
  4. Cromagnus

    Cromagnus Deity

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    The GPU in my 12-core machine can hold 60. The CPU can't. The GPU never goes above 66% utilization, and the framerate is about 50fps.

    The Xeon Haswell-E chips don't support overclocking, and use both thermal throttling and variable speed turbo (depending on number of active cores)... both of these things reduce the overall speed of the CPU. It's a machine designed to do a lot of work at once, not one task really fast. :p

    Right now the game is bottlenecked by 2 threads, so only a faster CPU would help. When they add DX12 support it should greatly improve threading performance.

    (GTX 1070, btw)
     
  5. Bad_Viceroy

    Bad_Viceroy Chieftain

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    My Q6600 C2Q is doing OK, OC'd to 3.2. I think at 2.4 stock it would be bad. Before OC I couldn't run MGS Ground Zeros, after OC I can, clock speed does seem still relevant, though I am a novice at these things
     
  6. Cromagnus

    Cromagnus Deity

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    Clock speed is still very relevant. Although, lately Intel chips have outperformed AMD chips, and older chips are often outperformed by newer chips at the same clock speed.

    There are exceptions to the newer is better rule. If you have an older motherboard and a budget chip, the value proposition of swapping in a better CPU for that same board is hard to beat.

    Also, if you overclock, Broadwell-E is more thermally limited, so it's not really better than Haswell-E, despite being 2 years newer. So I wouldn't even bother upgrading if you already have a Haswell-E.

    Skylake is probably the best choice for overclocking right now. If you have one, you're set. IMHO upgrading to a new MB right now is a mistake unless you cannot wait to see how Zen shakes out.

    However, if you're running a 2-core machine... don't wait too long, regardless of clock speed. Just my two cents.

    EDIT: This is anecdotal but you may find it useful... When buying my Westmere, I was trying to decide whether to get a new MB, or just replace my i7-920. I compared cpu benchmarks with Skylake, Haswell-E and Broadwell-E. It's a pretty linear improvement year-to-year:

    x5690 (2010) (3.4GHz base)
    i5820k (2014) (3.3GHz base)
    i6800k (2016) 3.4GHz base)

    The i5820k was roughly 22% faster at the same clock speed. The i6800k was roughly 32% faster at the same clockspeed. You could extrapolate a 5%/year improvement.

    So, as a vast oversimplification, one could say that a 4GHz 2010 chip is roughly equivalent to a 3GHz 2016 chip.

    However, overclocking does play into it. In terms of overclocking ability, the x56xx series has a lot more overclocking headroom. You can jack a 3GHz chip up 50% to 4.5GHz and have it be stable on air coolin. You can only squeeze about 20% overclocking out of a Broadwell-E on air cooling, so for OC purposes, we're comparing a 4.5GHz chip to a 4GHz chip, making it only about a 17% improvement.

    I was very disappointed by the Broadwell-E's OC capabilities. I would have thought the die shrink from Haswell-E would result in better TDP and higher OC potential. And yet a 32nm chip is more energy efficient than a 14nm chip at the same clock rate. :p
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2016
  7. Gumbolt

    Gumbolt Phoenix Rising

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    I am definately waiting for Feb and to see impact of Zen.

    I did consider the quad core upgrade to Q6600 on my Core 2 Duo system. I didn't think for 30-40 quid it would be worth updating a core 2 duo system. In theory Firaxis are saying it is not modern enough to run civ 6 anyway.

    Is buying Haswell parts now merely buying out of date equipment? Especially given possible 8 core Zen chips? I can see the argument for Skylake over Kabylake if you can still use the latest MBs. Buy a cheap quad core and update later on. I don't see myself overclocking these CPU. Not done so yet on my current CPU.

    In UK a midrange computer with latest parts could set me back about £1000. How could I reduce or halve this and still get a capable gaming rig that could run a decent GPU graphics card?? I was looking at high end PSU Gold rated and a decent case.

    The other issue to think about is monitors. I think modern monitors are 144hz? So not having amodern monitor could make a good graphics card a waste? Screen refresh rate too poor?
     
  8. Bad_Viceroy

    Bad_Viceroy Chieftain

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    The Q6600 still works if you overclock it, mobo permitting, but not sure how long that will be true, still if its only civ6 you are thinking about, then worth considering
     
  9. Larsenex

    Larsenex King

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    Cromagnus is correct. The games Tek posted are all first person shooters. Try bench-marking Gal Civ III (or Ashes of the Singularity). Use a YOUR base non hyper threaded system against a 10 core hyper threaded one.

    Insane map. 50 ai (you can have up to 100), plus minors. Spiral galaxy. There is a HUGE difference in turn times and load times. Gal Civ (a 4x space game) was entirely coded to make use of multicore and hyperthreading. In fact each ai is given its own thread and you will see a 'noticeable' difference in how the game feels between an I5 3570K ((4cores only 4 threads) vrs one that has 8 threads.
     
  10. Cromagnus

    Cromagnus Deity

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    Don't worry, they still make 60Hz monitors, and 144Hz monitors almost always support 60Hz mode anyway. Also, 60Hz monitors are usually higher quality or much cheaper or both. If you're not obsessed with twitch gaming, you don't need anything above 60Hz really. And a system that can reliably run games at 144fps would be super expensive.

    The cheapest upgrade path is to buy a better CPU that fits in your existing system. Otherwise you'd have to replace the MB (expensive), risk damaging components when you take your PC apart (which could turn into more cost) and possibly replace the memory (Going from DDR3->DDR4)... so if you can upgrade from a 2-core to a 4-core by swapping out the CPU, by all means! And while you're at it, get an aftermarket air cooler and OC that thing! :)
     
  11. Gumbolt

    Gumbolt Phoenix Rising

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    I suspect this PC is firmly stuck on DDR2 ram. DDR3 came out a year or so later and required a new motherboard. 2008? DDR4 would be 3-4 times faster? One of the downsides to this system is the max memory size a single ram stick can handle is 2gb. I have 4 ram slots and they each hold a 1gb of ram. The issue is true for graphics too. Case size/psu limit graphics card I could choose.

    So getting 4 cores is okay but the rest of the system will be very limiting. Be it graphics, ram or other aging features. Eventually some of these parts will fail. Recycling of SSD drive, HD, dvd RW, KB and mouse seem only salvagable parts. Graphics card would need replacing for sure. If you don't plan to play the latest games maybe a Core 2 Duo system with a quad core chip is fine.
     
  12. Cromagnus

    Cromagnus Deity

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    Hmmm, IMHO if you're running with DDR2 you just need a new computer. I'm all in favor of upgrading old systems, but that's pushing it.
     
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  13. Cromagnus

    Cromagnus Deity

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    You know, I looked into it, and the only benchmarks I could find on Gal Civ III show that it suffers the exact same problem as Civ 6... DX11, bottlenecked by 2 render thread + 1 main game thread, even between turns:

    https://steamcommunity.com/app/226860/discussions/1/537402115092331263/

    Maybe things have improved since then. I don't own the game so I can't say. It's on my list to buy but I already have too many games that I don't have time to play. ;-)
     
  14. callan

    callan Warlord

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    *If* they add. Still waiting for a Civ 5 multiplayer that works, for example. And as we've already discussed, nothing can affect turn times other than single-thread throughout.
     
  15. Cromagnus

    Cromagnus Deity

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    Considering they publicly stated the game would ship with DX12 support, and have never contradicted that, I suspect it's coming rather soon. Patience and have faith! :)

    EDIT: The reason I have faith is that they did a really good job of reducing rendering overhead with CivBE & Mantle. That game didn't hit my CPU at all.

    DX12 support may not be optimized when it first comes out though. It usually takes a few patches to work out the kinks.

    But, long term, if they achieve the same level of rendering optimization with Civ6 as they did with CivBE, I would expect the game to run like butter.

    Of course, they'll have to provide an option to turn off combat and movement animations entirely... Speeding them up doesn't help all that much when it's processing hundreds per turn.

    Also, right now it feels like there's a lot of lag in the UI. But that's just my first impression.
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2016
  16. Gumbolt

    Gumbolt Phoenix Rising

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    http://www.fudzilla.com/news/processors/42104-intel-hedt-skylake-x-desktop-platform-detailed

    Intel planning Skylake X with 6/8 and 10 cores. Naturally planning a new socket for this. Intel know where the money is. 140W. Bizarre that the Kabylake one is only 4 cores. Launch is a year off.

    I think they will charge a premium for this. Makes me wonder what this would do to Coffee lake and Cannon lake. Hmmm.

    I think Feb/March this year is right time for me. Yep very difficult to upgrade this machine to a modern standard.
     
  17. Cromagnus

    Cromagnus Deity

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    Feb/March is the perfect time... Zen baby. :D
     
  18. Cromagnus

    Cromagnus Deity

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    Fall update brought no noticeable improvement to CPU performance for me, either in DX12 or DX11. They split the benchmark into two parts, Graphics and AI. On my slower, 12-core machine, both benchmarks still bottleneck on two threads, and the Graphics benchmark can't hold 60 fps. In other words, there is a two-thread bottleneck even in AI benchmarking mode.

    Similar results on my 4.4GHz 6-core as what I saw before. No core utilized more than 50%, total utilization maxed at 40% during the benchmark. True for both Graphics and AI benchmark. With no core fully utilized, what that tells me is that something (probably main loop and render) are stall-bound, waiting on each other or the GPU. As it stands, not a well-threaded game so far. :p
     
  19. tekjunkie28

    tekjunkie28 Prince

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    here is an update for me.. the fall patch brought down CPU usage from 50-70% all the way to 30-50%. Overclocking my i5 4670k from 3.8ghz to 4.5ghz with a 43 uncore ratio gets me an additional 5fps in the directx 12 version. before the the patch the increase in clock speed had no effect. Also my FPS from 2 weeks ago to last night is up minimum 10FPS. That could be a combination of new drivers, new game optimizations, and directx 12.

    Cromagnus, are we looking at a architectural reasoning as to why your not getting better performance our on your cpu to saturate your video card?
     
  20. tekjunkie28

    tekjunkie28 Prince

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    I have a Q9550 and I just booted it up to see how it performs... its SLOW, but I still plays wow almost maxed out. Overclock that beast and throw in a gtx 1070 or something.

    EXTREME TIDBIT*** With the addition on directx 12 to the game we need to re-test AMD video cards. They probably got a decent performance boost from that.
     
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