I have two system one has a Xeon E5-1650 CPU, 24GB of RAM, and a 7200rpm hard drive. The other system which is a Lenovo G510 laptop, has a core i7-4700MQ CPU, 4GB of RAM, and 5400rmp hard drive.

The result of the benchmark for Xeon system: enter image description here

The result of the benchmark for i7-4700MQ system: enter image description here

It seems in spite of the fact that Xeon has much higher clock speed, as much as twice, the Mathematica software performs better on a system with much lower RAM and supposedly weaker CPU! Could somebody explain it to me why the result of the benchmark is as it is? I am wondering if I could buy a cheaper laptop and still Mathematica could have an acceptable performance. It seems stronger CPU does not always lead to a faster computation. If I knew the important factor, I could buy a more suitable laptop for myself.

Here are the timing for each test and a description of the test: enter image description here

  • You should be able to look at the individual components of the test to see what the slow tests are and which are the fast tests. If not, get another banchmark program.
    – LDC3
    Jun 30 '14 at 13:53
  • @LDC3 I put the timing of each test.
    – MOON
    Jul 2 '14 at 10:01

The reason for this is that a computer is only as fast as its slowest component!

One of your machines may have a much faster CPU, a shed load more RAM and a faster bus speed, but all of that is nearly worthless if the hard drive only spins at 5400rpm and can only move data from the drive to the processor at a slow speed!

Mathmatica is quite a drive/swap intensive program - it needs a fast hard drive. If you put a 15k drive - or better yet, an SSD instead of a 5.4k in the faster machine, it would absolutely fly!

Its the same as having a forumular 1 racing car, but sticking it on a 30mph road - you still have the fastest theorewtical car - but its worthless if the road is limited! (weak metaphor, but I haven't had a coffee in a while)

  • What could be the slow component in the Xeon system? Even the hard drive is faster than that of i7-4700mq.
    – MOON
    Jun 30 '14 at 14:16
  • bus speed? multi-threading? need a more detailled spec of the machines.
    – Fazer87
    Jun 30 '14 at 14:47
  • Is there a way to collect those information you need? I had put two links for the CPU of the two system.
    – MOON
    Jul 2 '14 at 10:01
  • There's more to it than just CPU. You could always use Belarc advisor (freeware) to generate a hardware report
    – Fazer87
    Jul 2 '14 at 10:02

The two processors are from different generations of Intel hardware. You cannot imply anything about performance from the clock frequency between different generations. When running on the i7, it may be making use of the on-chip graphics processor to accelerate computation. Process Explorer can show you GPU usage.

The Windows Performance Toolkit can be used to analyze these issues but there is a fairly steep learning curve to negotiate.

  • The computation does not make use of the GPU. One thing which is driving me crazy is that my other Mathematica codes run almost with the same speed on these two CPU. I am sure that the Xeon system has better RAM, hard drive and main-board, it supposed to be better. One thing that Xeon does not have but i7-4700mq does, is avx2. Maybe this speed up the computation. After all the computation is mainly in terms of matrices and it involves a lot of number multiplication.
    – MOON
    Jul 2 '14 at 19:12

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