Presenting ‘Cascade at the Bat’: A Bad Intel CPU Poem

I wrote this poem — “poem” — around the time Intel launched Cascade Lake back in 2019. I held off publishing back then because I didn’t want to leave people thinking we’d reviewed a CPU in truly bad poetry instead of my typical second-rate prose. I also didn’t want it to come off as mean-spirited. I set it aside and forgot I wrote it, only to rediscover it again this week.

“Cascade at the Bat” is a parody of “Casey at the Bat: A Ballad of the Republic, Sung in the Year 1888.” The primary difference between “Cascade” and “Casey” is that the latter is a beloved and well-known piece of comedic poetry, while the former is… unlikely to achieve this worthy station. Some of the feedback I received when I shared my magnum dopus with friends is reprinted verbatim below:

Praise Words From Readers Describing “Cascade at the Bat”

“A gem worthy of McGonagall.” (This is the antipode of a compliment).

“It’s definitely a thing you spent time making. We have but a finite time on this planet, and this is how you chose to spend some of yours. I respect that, even if I don’t understand it.”

“Proof that anyone can write poetry. Anyone. Oh God, anyone.”

“You are one of my very favourite people for so many reasons. This both is and is not one of them. 10/10 for the way your mind works; 1/10 poetry.”

Without further ado, I present:

Cascade At the Bat

The outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Intel chip that day
The score stood 32-18, with no threads left to play
With core counts insufficient and clock speed all but gone,
No one knew what to expect when Cascade stepped on the lawn.

It wasn’t very long ago that Intel ruled the game
Conroe, Penryn, and Westmere all caused Sunnyvale great pain
Then came Sandy, Ivy, Haswell — great hitters, one and all
Collectively they owned the field
And fed AMD the ball.

But lo’, a new inning of the game began in 2017
Once AMD at last debuted a capable machine
After years of piles driven by a CPU disaster
Ryzen routed Kaby Lake, and proved itself much faster

Now, was Intel frightened? No! For this had happened once before
When Prescott launched — and shat the bed — back in 2004
Intel poured a cup of Coffee and admitted no mistake
Instead, it booked itself a stay on scenic Stagnant Lake.

Then Zen 2 debuted on 7, and it gave Team Red the lead
While Intel sat, stuck on 14, despite its growing need
An endless stream of plusses replaced Tick-Tock as a guide
And Intel turned to price cuts as its process scaling died.

Cascade’s workstation bloodline is writ plainly on the chip
Xeon owns this market, despite 10-nanometer’s slip.
Priced to move and thrice-refined, the core takes a batting stance
Its rival is irrelevant, Threadripper scarcely earns a glance.

And here’s the starting benchmark: It’s a render test well-known
But when the scores appear on-screen, the crowd lets out a moan.
Now that the run is over, Sunnyvale has clearly won,
Cinebench!?” spat Cascade Lake, and the reviewer said: “Strike one!”

A second app is readied: a Qt compiler test
This type of application is where Chipzilla scores the best
Intel’s core stood watching, as the final tallies flew
“That’s not real world!” cried Cascade, while the reviewer called: “Strike two!”

All pretense gone, at ease no more, Cascade rethinks its tack
SIMD math may yet disrupt its rival’s product stack.
There’s one more test still left to score before the end of day
MATLAB is the perfect choice to keep its foe at bay.

The droops are gone from Cascade’s clock, its SIMD offsets all read “None.”
With thermal limits set aside, its heat could melt the sun.
The reviewer queues the MATLAB run, mouse pointer on “Begin”
Cascade leaps for the finish line — this task, it’s sure to win!

Matlab performance from our Threadripper 3970X review. Top scores are from a non-optimized AMD CPU run, the bottom scores properly use AVX2 after the application was patched to remove “Cripple AMD” lockouts.

Oh, somewhere in this favored land, the sun is beaming down
Somewhere fanboys argue, and somewhere gamers frown
From Movidius to Mobileye, Intel still has clout
But as far as Threadripper’s concerned — mighty Cascade has struck out.

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