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porina

HT/SMT die area, longer term future thoughts

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Posted · Original PosterOP

Particularly in light of the more recent vulnerabilities reigniting the question of tradeoffs of HT, I started to think, what if HT or SMT were no longer a thing going forwards? I know SMT isn't implicated but I'm looking at the general direction that could be taken by the industry.

 

Assumptions:

There is a cost to implementing HT/SMT in terms of die area and power used

Does the gain from having HT/SMT outweight the cost of implementing it? This is an implied yes, at least in some cases, otherwise it wouldn't be done.

If cores become plentiful, do we still need the extra threads? Not having it would reduce the scenarios where HT/SMT can slow things down if a critical path thread ends up sharing a core with less important code. Consistent performance may be preferred over peak performance, although peak performance may remain in some CPUs for those use cases still likely to use it.

 

The thinking I'm having is we have started down a "more cores" road with AMD pushing the agenda. Some software can scale well, and that's great. Some software can scale badly, not necessarily due to bad code, but simply as their function means other limits apply to limit that potential. Some software just wont scale at all, but we'll park that to one side for now.

 

Imagine we're in a scenario where lots of cores are the norm. Let's say some years in the future, 8 cores is considered entry level, but higher end desktops might be 16 cores or more. I'm wondering at that point, if ditching HT/SMT would be a better strategy. But this argument still depends on the cost of implementing HT/SMT, and that's where I'm struggling. I've found references to HT in the P4 era consuming an extra 5% die space, which is comparatively small for the potential benefit. But CPUs have changed a lot since then, and is that still the case? If CPUs get more complicated with new features, does that imply the extra stuff that goes into HT/SMT likewise also has to get more complicated to keep up. Is it still 5%? More? Less? I've tried looking for either written statements and/or die shots indicating area attributed to HT/SMT but have struggled to find anything. Any help in that would be welcome.


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How does HT/SMT take up die space? They are virtual, not physical?


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1. what does smt stand for in this case?

 

2. Maybe I do not know.


I enjoy reading the tech news section until about page 3-4 when it becomes an argument over which company is best.

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6 minutes ago, Skiiwee29 said:

How does HT/SMT take up die space? They are virtual, not physical?

would need some changes to the FPU and pipeline before and after the CPU afaik. 

 

edit: it is something that needs to be baked into the architecure and pipeline. 

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5 minutes ago, will1432 said:

1. what does smt stand for in this case?

 

2. Maybe I do not know.

SMT = Simultaneous Multi Threading.. AMDs version of Hyper Threading. 


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Posted · Original PosterOP
7 minutes ago, Skiiwee29 said:

How does HT/SMT take up die space? They are virtual, not physical?

It's not free, it has to be implemented in silicon if you want it. Some parts have to be duplicated to provide that extra thread.

6 minutes ago, will1432 said:

1. what does smt stand for in this case?

Simultaneous multi threading. You can read that either as AMD's equivalent to HT, and/or the generic term for what HT is.


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18 minutes ago, porina said:

It's not free, it has to be implemented in silicon if you want it. Some parts have to be duplicated to provide that extra thread.

Simultaneous multi threading. You can read that either as AMD's equivalent to HT, and/or the generic term for what HT is.

Good to know, thought it was just something coded into the instructions of the CPU, not something physical. 


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Posted · Original PosterOP

Dammit, was hoping to fix a typo before anyone quoted it :) 


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Gaming laptop: Asus FX503VD, i5-7300HQ, 2x8GB DDR4, GTX 1050, Sandisk 256GB SSD

Total CPU heating: i7-7800X, 2x i7-6700k, i7-6700HQ, i5-6600k, i5-5675C, i5-4570S, i3-8350k, i3-6100, i3-4360, 2x i3-4150T, E5-2683v3, 2x E5-2650, R7 1700, 1600

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16 minutes ago, porina said:

Dammit, was hoping to fix a typo before anyone quoted it :) 

nvm, I see the typo now :P wasn't Silicon. Ill correct my quote for you


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I mean IBMs POWERPC arcitecture uses SMT with 4 threads per core and are some of the most secure processors out there. Clearly SMT can be done securely if implinemted correctly.

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Posted · Original PosterOP
3 minutes ago, CUDAcores89 said:

I mean IBMs POWERPC arcitecture uses SMT with 4 threads per core and are some of the most secure processors out there. Clearly SMT can be done securely if implinemted correctly.

That's not the point of my thinking. There will be and remain cases where it is beneficial. As core counts go up, I don't think that necessarily belongs in the consumer space. If we assume the recent trend of more cores continues, we could get to recently unthinkable core counts in the not too distant future unless it slows before then. The quantity of consumer software that could benefit from many threads is limited, and if cores become cheap enough, I'm wondering if SMT would be dropped. For a given number of threads, at least in performance terms, it would be preferable to have it delivered by real cores than through SMT. If you don't implement SMT at all, there will be some die space saving from that. I'm just wondering how much?


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Gaming laptop: Asus FX503VD, i5-7300HQ, 2x8GB DDR4, GTX 1050, Sandisk 256GB SSD

Total CPU heating: i7-7800X, 2x i7-6700k, i7-6700HQ, i5-6600k, i5-5675C, i5-4570S, i3-8350k, i3-6100, i3-4360, 2x i3-4150T, E5-2683v3, 2x E5-2650, R7 1700, 1600

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2 hours ago, Skiiwee29 said:

SMT = Simultaneous Multi Threading.. AMDs version of Hyper Threading. 

Nope, its the other way around.

Hyper Threading is Intels Version of SMT.

As  SMT is the Technical term. Hyper Threading the Marketing one.

2 hours ago, porina said:

Particularly in light of the more recent vulnerabilities reigniting the question of tradeoffs of HT, I started to think, what if HT or SMT were no longer a thing going forwards? I know SMT isn't implicated but I'm looking at the general direction that could be taken by the industry.

YOu can fix that by adding access checks, wich can be as simple as one bit, that shows wich part of the Core it is, A or B. For SMT4 you need two bits, obviously.

And when accessing something you check if the BIt fits your path and if it doesn't you just ignore it.

It just has to be implemented.

2 hours ago, porina said:

There is a cost to implementing HT/SMT in terms of die area and power used

Does the gain from having HT/SMT outweight the cost of implementing it?

No, it doesn't.

As the Cost of implementing is small.

The cost of implementing it safely is a bit higher as you need to do checks but that's still far from a Core. And CMT also isn't that great, as we know from previous experiences. So we're left with SMT.

 

2 hours ago, porina said:

The thinking I'm having is we have started down a "more cores" road with AMD pushing the agenda.

do you have a better idea of improving the Performance of a CPU??

More clock doesn't work, we hit a wall.

More IPC is still possible but the differences are minor as we're already at the upper end.

 

The only solution is:

a) a new, modern Architecture. Well, need I to say something?

b) go wider and add more cores.

 

If you have a better idea of how to improve the Performance, without blowing up the power budget, everyone is eager to hear...

 


"Hell is full of good meanings, but Heaven is full of good works"

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Posted · Original PosterOP
17 minutes ago, Stefan Payne said:

YOu can fix that by adding access checks, wich can be as simple as one bit, that shows wich part of the Core it is, A or B. For SMT4 you need two bits, obviously.

My thinking wasn't about securing SMT, it was about if it was needed at all if core counts continue increasing.

 

The short version:

Core counts will increase

Much software will have trouble scaling to more threads

Cores perform better than extra threads from SMT

If core counts are high enough, we don't gain significantly (outside of limited cases) from having those extra threads

Dropping SMT from hardware would lead to some saving, allowing more cores to be a little easier to implement

 

If you run some server needing a million threads, fine, have SMT still.

 

17 minutes ago, Stefan Payne said:

do you have a better idea of improving the Performance of a CPU??

I never said I didn't want more cores! It was about optimising the user experience by possibly ditching SMT at higher core counts.

 

17 minutes ago, Stefan Payne said:

More clock doesn't work, we hit a wall.

It would probably require moving away from silicon, and I'm not holding my breath on that being cost effective any time soon.

 

17 minutes ago, Stefan Payne said:

More IPC is still possible but the differences are minor as we're already at the upper end.

Agreed in part. I have long said, for the "common" instructions, we're probably about as optimised as we're going to get. Any major gains will be through the implementation of specific hardware acceleration.

 

For example, Ryzen is much faster at some cryptography related tasks as they have hardware support for it. On the other side, Intel CPUs are pushing FPU and related throughput through AVX extensions, with two unit AVX-512 implementations offering double the FP64 throughput compared to Intel AVX2, which in turn is about double the throughput of Zen(+) AVX2.


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Gaming laptop: Asus FX503VD, i5-7300HQ, 2x8GB DDR4, GTX 1050, Sandisk 256GB SSD

Total CPU heating: i7-7800X, 2x i7-6700k, i7-6700HQ, i5-6600k, i5-5675C, i5-4570S, i3-8350k, i3-6100, i3-4360, 2x i3-4150T, E5-2683v3, 2x E5-2650, R7 1700, 1600

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