Performance Evaluation of PCs

From 1994 to 1998, I worked on performance evaluation of desktop PCs in the framework of a contract with a Hewlett Packard division in Grenoble (France), in charge of designing desktop PCs for HP. We developed techniques for evaluating the impact of the basic components (CPU, caches and MM, video, disks, networks) on the overall performance and for detecting the bottlenecks on desktop PC benchmarks.

The results include:

  1. Software that builds the specific traces from execution of a benchmark program on a Pentium processor. These specific traces are then used to simulate the off-chip memory hierarchy without simulating the processor.
  2. Software that generates x86 traces including OS from the hardware monitoring of bus traces.
  3. A simulator of Pentium Pro implemented with SES Workbench package. This simulator has been used to look for improvements in the Pentium Pro microarchitecture.

In the phase of the cooperation, during a 3-month stay in HP Labs in Palo Alto, I developed a technique to detect graphics bottlenecks by using the Perftool package, which is an improved version of Windows NT Perfmon that was developed by HP-Grenoble and EPFL in Lausanne.