Apparently the real test of computer chip performance, that is, speed, is spreadsheet simulation. PC Magazine blogger Michael Miller recently published a comparison of four new computer chips, two form Intel and two from Advanced Micro Devices. Interestingly, Miller was not comparing the two similar notebook computers running these chips, just the chips themselves.
Miller put the chips through a number of tests and noted certain ups and downs in performance. By the clock the chips ran at the same speed, but speed varied according to the kind of application (Miller doesn’t actually name the spreadsheet software, but it seems a safe guess that he’s using Excel). For Miller, what really sorted the good from the best, the merely speedy from the truly fast was running Monte Carlo software, especially running big models based in huge data sets–the kind of simulations that typically come up in energy distribution and reserve estimation and operations management in oil exploration and production.
So which chips win the Monte Carlo Excel Grand Prix?
I’ll defer to Mr. Miller, whose blog is loaded with interesting details.