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Thread Subject:
Intel processor (Haswell) performance increase - AVX2 functionality

Subject: Intel processor (Haswell) performance increase - AVX2 functionality

From: John

Date: 5 Apr, 2013 13:44:05

Message: 1 of 4

Hi all,

I am currently deciding on what configuration I want for my new computer. I am fairly certain about the setup, but there is one thing I need some help on. The current generation Intel i5 (Sandy Bridge) will be replaced soon by the Haswell generation. The increase in performance for number-crunching activities seems to be vastly greater than for all other tasks. This is a quote from a tech website:

"The increased FPU capability and additional AVX2 functionality make a huge difference in Haswell’s floating-point performance. The CPU is capable of up to 32 single-precision and 16 double-precision floating point operations per core. That’s twice what Sandy Bridge could achieve; a theoretical eight-core Haswell clocked at 3.8GHz will offer 972.8 gigaflops of SP and 486.4 gigaflops of DP performance."

Although the numbers mean little to me, I understand that the potential increase could be double. This has lead me to wonder:

- Is this AVX2 functionality something that Matlab needs to support (as in, do they not yet support it, but will in future versions?)

- Can I expect the increase in performance to be 'available' without having to do/adjust anything?

- What should I expect in terms of performance difference?

I am not in dire need to buy my new computer, so it does not hurt to wait. However, if I need to wait an X additional months for support to be added, I might as well purchase the current generation.

Thanks, John

PS: I don't know if it is of major importance, but the type of work I do is with fairly large datasets and partly embarrassingly parallel. I make extensive use of parfor. The type of functions I use are fairly simple (e.g. matrix multiplications, additions, exponentials).

Subject: Intel processor (Haswell) performance increase - AVX2 functionality

From: Eric Sampson

Date: 5 Apr, 2013 19:02:05

Message: 2 of 4

"John" wrote in message <kjmkf5$cfk$1@newscl01ah.mathworks.com>...
>
> - Is this AVX2 functionality something that Matlab needs to support (as in, do they not yet support it, but will in future versions?)
>
> - Can I expect the increase in performance to be 'available' without having to do/adjust anything?
>
> - What should I expect in terms of performance difference?
>
> I am not in dire need to buy my new computer, so it does not hurt to wait. However, if I need to wait an X additional months for support to be added, I might as well purchase the current generation.
>
> Thanks, John

Hi John, the good news is that MATLAB uses the Intel MKL library to do a lot of its basic operations, and MKL version 11.0 supports Haswell/AV2 instructions according to Intel's website. I checked my Windows 64bit machine running R2013a using 'version -lapack' and 'version -blas' and it reports that it uses MKL v10.3.11 . I'm not from TMW, but I wouldn't be too surprised to see MKL v11 come in the next release or two, depending on how hard it has been to integrate the new version and how the two products' release schedules match up... If you _really_ want, you could get a trial version of MKL v11 as Intel supplies instructions on their website of how to compile MKL and link custom versions to MATLAB. However, this would obviously not be supported, and not guaranteed to work.

Subject: Intel processor (Haswell) performance increase - AVX2 functionality

From: Royi Avital

Date: 28 Jan, 2014 18:48:09

Message: 3 of 4

Hi,
Could you link to place where can I get info how to update MATLAB's MKL?

Subject: Intel processor (Haswell) performance increase - AVX2 functionality

From: Yair Altman

Date: 28 Jan, 2014 20:12:08

Message: 4 of 4

"Royi Avital" wrote in message <lc8u19$o9f$1@newscl01ah.mathworks.com>...
> Hi,
> Could you link to place where can I get info how to update MATLAB's MKL?

This can get you started:
http://undocumentedmatlab.com/blog/math-libraries-version-info-upgrade/

Yair Altman
http://UndocumentedMatlab.com
 

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