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Crypto Icon (c) SiSoftware Q & A : Benchmarks : CPU vs. GPGPU: Cryptographic Performance

What are they?

A set of benchmarks designed to measure cryptographic performance in the most popular algorithms today: AES for encryption/decryption (AES256/AES128) and SHA for signing (SHA256/SHA1). They allow us to show the importance of hardware accelerated support in the latest processors (CPUs) on the market today.

Why do we measure it?

Cryptography has become an important part of our digital life: it allows us to conduct safe transactions online, certify programs and services, keep our data secure and much more. The speed at which cryptographic operations (encryption, decryption, hashing, signing) can be performed is thus very much important.

Coupled with the charts added to the latest version of the software, we can work out whether which processor or GPU would be more power efficient or cost efficient.

What do the results mean?

  1. All results (encryption, decryption, hashing) results are in MB/s, i.e. how much data can be encrypted or decrypted per second.
  2. In all cases, as higher indexes mean better performance (MB/s) the higher the result the better the performance.

Typical Crypto Results

Testing encryption/decryption performance of various current processors and GPUs reveals how much effect the hardware accelerated cryptographic functions in the latest processors improve performance.

Note: Prices fluctuate all the time; the below table was correct as of December 2010, for US market, in USD, via JustRelevant and is provided as an example only. Please check prices in your own region.

Rank CPU Name Cores / Speed / Power (TDP) / Price Performance (AES256) Power Efficiency Cost Efficiency Comments
#8 AMD AMD Phenom X3 720 3 / 2.8GHz / 95W / 85$ 317 MB/s 3.3 MB/s/W 3.7 MB/s/$ It may be the last on performance but it has a good price for an allrounder and it's worth it if you are on a budget.
#5 AMD AMD Phenom X4 970 4 / 3.5GHz / 125W / 185$ 705 MB/s 5.64 MB/s/W 3.8 MB/s/$ AMD's design offers a better performance than its counterpart from Intel. Also it's efficiency cannot be neglected.
#3 AMD AMD Phenom X6 1055 6 / 2.8GHz / 125W / 180$ 856 MB/s 6.8 MB/s/W 4.8 MB/s/$ It delivers very good performance and although it has six cores it has good power efficiency.
#7 Intel Intel Core i3 550 2 / 3.2GHz / 73W / 130$ 392 MB/s 5.4 MB/s/W 3 MB/s/$ Good performance with only two cores and can be a good choice if you want an Intel platform.
#6 Intel Intel Core i5 760 4 / 2.8GHz / 95W / 205$ 624 MB/s 6.6 MB/s/W 3.1 MB/s/$ The non-accelerated version of i5 offers only acceptable results and power efficiency.
#1 Intel Intel Core i5 661 2 / 3.33GHz / 87W / 210$ 4133 MB/s 47.5 MB/s/W 19.7 MB/s/$ The 32nm i5 has AES hardware acceleration and so it has unprecedented crypto performance with the corresponding efficiency.
#2 Intel Intel Core i7 975 4+4 / 3.33GHz / 130W / 1040$ 984 MB/s 7.6 MB/s/W 0.9 MB/s/$ Best power efficiency for a non-accelerated processor but far too expensive unless top performance elsewhere is important.
#4 VIA VIA Nano L3100 1 / 2GHz / 25W / 55$ 840 MB/s 33.6 MB/s/W 15.3 MB/s/$ Due to PadLock hardware acceleration it has very good performance and can be considered a budget version of the Westmere, efficiency speaking.
Rank GPU Name Shaders / Speed / Power (TDP) / Price Performance (AES256) Power Efficiency Cost Efficiency Comments
#7 nVidia nVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 336 / 675MHz / 150W / 140$ 2142 MB/s 14.3 MB/s/W 15.3 MB/s/$ The previous generation nVIDIA entry manages a good result being the cheapest for its performance.
#6 nVidia nVIDIA GeForce GTX 570 480 / 1.46GHz / 219W / 350$ 2690 MB/s 12.3 MB/s/W 7.7 MB/s/$ A lower clocked GF110 card that passed the test with scores that are not to remember.
#4 nVidia nVIDIA GeForce GTX 580 512 / 1.54GHz / 244W / 510$ 3006 MB/s 12.3 MB/s/W 5.9 MB/s/$ Current highend generation card with good results but bad efficiency due to pricing.
#2 ATI AMD Radeon HD 5870 1600 / 850MHz / 188W / 250$ 3585 MB/s 19.1 MB/s/W 14.3 MB/s/$ Not a bad crypto performance at all for this former high end card that is still offering the best efficiency around.
#5 ATI AMD Radeon HD 6870 1120 / 900MHz / 150W / 240$ 2749 MB/s 18.3 MB/s/W 11.4 MB/s/$ A good TDP relative to crypto performance it is this card's advantage, the rest is just average.
#8 ATI AMD Radeon HD 5770 800 / 850MHz / 108W / 120$ 483 MB/s 4.5 MB/s/W 4 MB/s/$ Quite strange that this card doesn't manage a score that is on the same line with the other GPU's.
#1 ATI AMD Radeon HD 6970 1536 / 880MHz / 250W / 370$ 3649 MB/s 14.6 MB/s/W 9.9 MB/s/$ Having an average efficiency the latest generation of Radeons manages to occupy the first place in this GPU comparison test.
#3 ATI AMD Radeon HD 6950 1408 / 800MHz / 200W / 300$ 3383 MB/s 16.9 MB/s/W 11.3 MB/s/$ Slower version of previous entry that has top performance and it beats it on energy and price analisys.

You can check your own CPU/GPU or view how other processors measure up using the Sandra benchmarks.

Most Popular Processors, Chipsets

Most popular Processors as benchmarked by users (past 30 days):   Most popular Video Cards as benchmarked by users (past 30 days):
1.6%Intel Core i7-3930KIntel Core i7-3930K599.00 USD
2.4% Intel Core i5-2500K 
3.4%Intel Core i7 920Intel Core i7 920249.00 USD
4.3%AMD FX-8350AMD FX-8350179.99 USD
5.3%Intel Core i5-3570KIntel Core i5-3570K209.93 USD
 
1.8%AMD Radeon HD 7900AMD Radeon HD 7900505.93 USD
2.4%AMD Radeon HD 7800AMD Radeon HD 7800484.66 USD
3.4%AMD Radeon HD 6800AMD Radeon HD 6800289.80 USD
4.4%NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 TiNVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 Ti505.89 USD
5.3%AMD Radeon HD 6900AMD Radeon HD 6900632.50 USD
For a complete list of statistics, check out the Most Popular Hardware page. For a list of more products, see SiSoftware Shopping.

Typical Hash Results

Testing hashing performance of various current processors reveals how much effect the hardware accelerated cryptographic functions in the latest processors improve performance.

Note: Prices fluctuate all the time; the below table was correct as of December 2010, for US market, in USD, via JustRelevant and is provided as an example only. Please check prices in your own region.

Rank CPU Name Cores / Speed / Power (TDP) / Price Performance (SHA256) Power Efficiency Cost Efficiency Comments
#8 AMD AMD Phenom X3 720 3 / 2.8GHz / 95W / 85$ 357 MB/s 3.8 MB/s/W 4.2 MB/s/$ Last place on performance and power efficiency but at least it's fair priced.
#4 AMD AMD Phenom X4 970 4 / 3.5GHz / 125W / 185$ 640 MB/s 5.1 MB/s/W 3.4 MB/s/$ An average result from this quad core AMD chip and unfortunately is less cost efficient.
#2 AMD AMD Phenom X6 1055 6 / 2.8GHz / 125W / 180$ 771 MB/s 6.2 MB/s/W 4.3 MB/s/$ The approach of using two extra cores helped to beat the Core i5, but in detriment of power efficiency.
#7 Intel Intel Core i3 550 2 / 3.2GHz / 73W / 130$ 417 MB/s 5.7 MB/s/W 3.2 MB/s/$ For a general purpose chip it does not have the best price and not very good performance.
#3 Intel Intel Core i5 760 4 / 2.8GHz / 95W / 205$ 770 MB/s 8.1 MB/s/W 3.8 MB/s/$ A very good result for this quad core design being also eco friendly, but not that competitive on cost.
#6 Intel Intel Core i5 661 2 / 3.33GHz / 87W / 210$ 433 MB/s 5 MB/s/W 2.1 MB/s/$ Because it has only two cores, the hashing result is far behind the quad core version and just a little over the i3, with poor cost efficiency.
#1 Intel Intel Core i7 975 4+4 / 3.33GHz / 130W / 1040$ 1043 MB/s 8 MB/s/W 1 MB/s/$ Best performance, no question, but only if you can ignore that it has 3 times the cost efficiency than any other chip.
#5 VIA VIA Nano L3100 1 / 2GHz / 25W / 55$ 525 MB/s 21 MB/s/W 9.6 MB/s/$ Better power and cost efficiency than all processors, while consuming 20% of power and costing 5% of the price of the best performing non-accelerated model.
Rank GPU Name Shaders / Speed / Power (TDP) / Price Performance (SHA256) Power Efficiency Cost Efficiency Comments
#2 nVidia nVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 336 / 675MHz / 150W / 140$ 4534 MB/s 30.2 MB/s/W 32.4 MB/s/$ This is not the latest Fermi, but it has a performance that surpasses even high-end cards from competition and also the best price.
#5 nVidia nVIDIA GeForce GTX 570 480 / 1.46GHz / 219W / 350$ 2671 MB/s 12.2 MB/s/W 7.6 MB/s/$ Very disappointing results from this newer generation chip. It beats the current Radeon, but not on efficiency.
#4 nVidia nVIDIA GeForce GTX 580 512 / 1.54GHz / 244W / 510$ 3006 MB/s 12.3 MB/s/W 5.9 MB/s/$ I would not be very proud if my latest flagship product would had half of the winner's performance. And do not even think to compare them in efficiency terms.
#1 ATI AMD Radeon HD 5870 1600 / 850MHz / 188W / 250$ 6404 MB/s 34.1 MB/s/W 25.6 MB/s/$ Definitely a winner at hashing performance having almost double result vs. the newer Radeon.
#7 ATI AMD Radeon HD 6870 1120 / 900MHz / 150W / 240$ 2497 MB/s 16.7 MB/s/W 10.4 MB/s/$ The codenamed Barts XT is not far at hashing from its high-end brothers and thus offering a better efficiency.
#8 ATI AMD Radeon HD 5770 800 / 850MHz / 108W / 120$ 596 MB/s 5.5 MB/s/W 5 MB/s/$ Latest place among GPUs with overall results comparable to a CPU unfortunately.
#3 ATI AMD Radeon HD 6970 1536 / 880MHz / 250W / 370$ 3303 MB/s 13.2 MB/s/W 8.9 MB/s/$ Not a very good surprise from this latest AMD card, that has only average results.
#6 ATI AMD Radeon HD 6950 1408 / 800MHz / 200W / 300$ 2514 MB/s 12.6 MB/s/W 8.4 MB/s/$ Lower clocked card that scales accordingly with the XT version, even on price.

You can check your own CPU/GPU or view how other processors measure up using the Sandra benchmarks.

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