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Date: Mon, 9 Feb 2015 22:25:29 +0300
From: Solar Designer <>
Subject: RIG vs. scrypt performance comparison


Even though RIG is not a PHC finalist, I'd like to post this in here
while I haven't forgotten.  This is not particularly relevant to RIG's
non-selection, but I admit I was reminded by today's posting on RIG.

In the RIG v2 PDF, Figure 6 on page 15 (page 18 per PDF's numbering)
shows RIG significantly outperform scrypt in terms of memory usage vs.
time.  However, I think it has weird performance data for scrypt -
possibly for scrypt's -ref rather than -sse implementation (let alone a
third-party heavier-optimized implementation, such as @floodyberry's or
mine).  Specifically, the figure shows scrypt take almost 12 seconds to
reach 1 GB.  On the previous page, it is said that this is on a i7-4770
at 2400 MHz, and that RIG uses Blake2b with AVX2 on that CPU.  The
"2400 MHz" clock rate is puzzling - is this possibly a typo of "3400 MHz",
Intel's published non-turbo clock rate for this CPU?  Was turbo
disabled?  If not, the actual clock rate is probably 3900 MHz, as long
as only one thread was running.

Anyway, the scrypt paper gives 3.8 seconds for scrypt at (2^20, 8, 1),
which I guess is what (should have been) benchmarked here as well, and
that's on one core in a 2.5 GHz Core 2 Duo CPU.  Clearly, Haswell should
run faster, not slower, even if under-clocked to 2400 MHz in some weird
way (unlikely).

Testing yescrypt in scrypt compatibility mode (thus, computing classic
scrypt) on a i7-4770K (the "K" shouldn't matter as long as we're not
overclocking, and we are not), I get:

$ time ./tests 
scrypt("pleaseletmein", "SodiumChloride", 1048576, 8, 1) = 21 01 cb 9b 6a 51 1a ae ad db be 09 cf 70 f8 81 ec 56 8d 57 4a 2f fd 4d ab e5 ee 98 20 ad aa 47 8e 56 fd 8f 4b a5 d0 9f fa 1c 6d 92 7c 40 f4 c3 37 30 40 49 e8 a9 52 fb cb f4 5c 6f a7 7a 41 a4

real    0m1.553s
user    0m1.276s
sys     0m0.252s

This is one of the test vectors from the scrypt paper.

[ This may be reduced to:

real    0m1.504s
user    0m1.236s
sys     0m0.240s

by setting r=64 (8 KiB) and lowering N accordingly (still 1 GiB total),
which I think is a closer match to RIG's block size. ]

@floodyberry's gives:

$ sh
speed test for scrypt[SHA-2-256,Salsa20/8,AVX]
scrypt high volume     ( ~4mb), 16946398 ticks
scrypt interactive     (~16mb), 74095665 ticks
scrypt non-interactive (~ 1gb), 5329264324 ticks
speed test for scrypt[SHA-2-256,Salsa20/8,SSE2]
scrypt high volume     ( ~4mb), 17029082 ticks
scrypt interactive     (~16mb), 74298176 ticks
scrypt non-interactive (~ 1gb), 5350444579 ticks

5329264324/3.9/10^9 = ~1.37 seconds

This is at i7-4770K's standard 3.9 GHz turbo clock rate (applies when
running only one thread, same as i7-4770's), and it includes the memory
(de)allocation overhead.  Even at the mysterious "2400 MHz" (probably
just a typo), this would be 2.2 to 2.5 seconds.  That's 6 times faster
than the 12 seconds.  (And ~7.5 to ~8.5+ times faster if the CPU was
also running at 3.9 GHz in the RIG benchmarks, which it might have been
unless under-clocked.)

RIG is shown to run rather fast (which is great) - at low n it's shown
to be faster than these optimized scrypt benchmarks anyway, but not by
such a large margin.  The differences become small enough that it
matters whether the memory (de)allocation overhead is included or not in
the benchmarks (and that this be done in the same way for all of them).

The authors could want to correct this comparison vs. scrypt (re-run the
benchmarks properly and include info on which scrypt implementation was
used and how it was built) in future materials they might publish on RIG.


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