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Pentium 4 2.2 GHz vs. Athlon XP 2000+ Roundup

March 19, 2002



So, desktop processors have stepped over a 2 GHz level and it's time that we knock together their fastest models.

It's quite a complicated problem to choose a testing technique and conditions. How should we ascertain a leader? Well, there are standard tests. SPEC CPU, for example. You think it's too artificial? Well, we can use another popular test - SYSmark which use businness synthetic applications. You think it isn't an ideal choice either? Well, synthetic tests can serve as a standard, but their results do not correlate much with a speed of accomplishment of certain operations on a computer of a certain user. Although real (not synthetic) examples are used there, they certainly differ among users in operations, resolutions, codecs and data.

Besides, a speed of a system depends on a processors, as well as on a chipset, a mainboard, a type and speed of memory, a video card and a hard drive. A character of operation with all these components depends on an application. Plus, importance of one or another test depends on a user. Besides, it is possible that in the same application one platform beats another (with the same processor)...

So, now when we have clarified the problems let's see what we can do about it. Our readers know quite well what test suite we use for such comparisons. It includes both synthetic and real tests with all possible parameters. We decided to use all chipsets which pretend to take the crown at least in one test. Thankfully, nobody makes platforms optimized for a certain test with falling behind in the rest, that is why a lag of any chipset from the leading one will be considered as unrealized potential. Besides, we took the fastest mainboards in their families.

In closing, take a look at parameters of all used chipsets and at unknown NVIDIA nForce 415-D in the summary table of the chipsets for modern processors. There you can also compare a speed of operation with memory.

Test conditions

Testbed:

  • Processors:
    • Intel Pentium 4 2.2 GHz, Socket 478
    • AMD Athlon XP 2000+ (1667 MHz), Socket 462

  • Mainboards:
  • Memory:
    • 256 MBytes PC2700 DDR SDRAM DIMM Samsung, CL 2
    • 2x128 MBytes PC800 RDRAM RIMM Samsung

  • ASUS 8200 T5 Deluxe GeForce3 Ti500
  • IBM IC35L040AVER07-0, 7200 rpm, 40 GBytes
  • CD-ROM ASUS 50x

Software:

  • Windows 2000 Professional SP2
  • DirectX 8.1
  • ALi integrated driver 1.06
  • ALi AGP driver 1.82
  • AMD AGP driver 5.22
  • Intel chipset software installation utility 3.20.1008
  • Intel Ultra ATA Storage driver 6.20
  • NVIDIA nForce driver 1.0
  • SiS AGP Driver 1.08
  • VIA 4-in-1 driver 4.37
  • VIA AGP driver 4.10
  • VIA IDE driver 3.01.14 (from 4-in-1 v.4.37 suite, used for AMD760)
  • NVIDIA Detonator v22.50 (VSync=Off)
  • RazorLame 1.1.4 + Lame codec 3.89
  • WinZip 8.1
  • VirtualDub 1.4.7 + DivX codec 4.12
  • WinAce 2.11
  • eTestingLabs Business Winstone 2001
  • eTestingLabs Content Creation Winstone 2002
  • BAPCo & MadOnion SYSmark 2001 Office Productivity
  • BAPCo & MadOnion SYSmark 2001 Internet Content Creation
  • 3DStudio MAX 4.2 + SP1
  • SPECviewperf 6.1.2
  • MadOnion 3DMark 2001
  • idSoftware Quake III Arena v1.30
  • Expendable Demo
  • DroneZmarK
  • Wstream
  • Cachemem 2.4 MMX

Board ALi AP715D3S Soltek 85DR-C ASUS P4T-E Soltek 85DRS2 VIA P4XB-RA Iwill XP333-R rev.2.1
Links ALi AP715D3S Soltek 85DR-C ASUS P4T-E Soltek 85DRS2 VIA P4XB-RA Iwill XP333-R rev.2.1
Chipset ALi ALADDiN P4 (M1671 + M1535D+) i845D (RG82845 + 82801BA) i850 (KC82850 + 82801) SiS 645 (SiS 645 + SiS 961) VIA P4X266A (P4X266A + VT8233) ALi MAGiK 1 (M1647 rev.C + M1535D+ rev. A1)
Processor support Socket 478, Intel Pentium 4 Socket 462, AMD Duron, AMD Athlon, AMD Athlon XP
Memory 3 DDR 2 DDR 4 RDRAM 3 DDR 3 DDR 3 DDR
Expansion slots AGP/ 5 PCI AGP/ 6 PCI/ CNR AGP/ 5 PCI/ CNR AGP/ 6 PCI AGP/ 5 PCI/ CNR AGP/ 5 PCI
I/O ports 1 FDD, 2 COM, 1 LPT, 2 PS/2 1 FDD, 2 COM, 1 LPT, 2 PS/2 1 FDD, 2 COM, 1 LPT, 2 PS/2 1 FDD, 2 COM, 1 LPT, 2 PS/2 1 FDD, 2 COM, 1 LPT, 2 PS/2 1 FDD, 2 COM, 1 LPT, 2 PS/2
USB 2 USB 1.1 + 1 connector for 2 USB 1.1 2 USB 1.1 + 1 connector for 2 USB 1.1 2 USB 1.1 + 1 connector for 2 USB 1.1 2 USB 1.1 + 1 connector for 2 USB 1.1 2 USB 1.1 + 2 connectors for 2 USB 1.1 2 USB 1.1 + 1 connector for 2 USB 1.1
Integrated IDE controller ATA133 ATA100 ATA100 ATA100 ATA100 ATA133
External IDE controller - - - - Promise PDC20265R HighPoint HPT372
Sound AC'97 codec, Sigmatel STAC9721T AC'97 codec, Avance Logic ALC201A AC'97 codec, Avance Logic ALC201A AC'97 codec Avance Logic ALC201A PCI Audio, C-Media CMI8738/PCI-6ch-LX PCI Audio, C-Media CMI8738/PCI-6ch-MX
Integrated network controller - - - - - -
I/O controller - Winbond W83637HF-AW Winbond W83627GF-AW Winbond W83697HF -
BIOS 2 Mbit Award Modular BIOS v.6.00PG 2 Mbit Award Modular BIOS v.6.00PG 2 Mbit Award Medallion BIOS v.6.00 2 Mbit AMI BIOS v.2.01a 2 Mbit Award Modular BIOS v.6.00PG 2 Mbit Award Modular BIOS v.6.00PG
Form-factor, dimensions ATX, 30.5x22 cm ATX, 30.5x21 cm ATX, 30.5x24.5 cm ATX, 30.5x22.5 cm ATX, 30.5x22.5 cm ATX, 30.5x24.5 cm

Board Abit KG7-RAID Abit NV7m ASUS A7N266-C Chaintech 7SID Gigabyte 7VTX-P Gigabyte 7VRXP
Links Abit KG7-RAID Abit NV7m ASUS A7N266-C Chaintech 7SID Gigabyte 7VTX-P Gigabyte 7VRXP
Chipset AMD 760 (AMD 761 + VIA VT686B) NVIDIA nForce 420-D (IGP128 + MCP-D) NVIDIA nForce 415-D (SPP128 + MCP-D) SiS 735 VIA KT266A (KT266A + VT8233) VIA KT333 (KT333 + VT8233A)
Memory 4 DDR 2 DDR 3 DDR 2 DDR 3 DDR 3 DDR
Processor support Socket 462, AMD Duron, AMD Athlon, AMD Athlon XP
Expansion slots AGP/ 6 PCI AGP/ 3 PCI AGP Pro/ 5 PCI/ ACR AGP/ 3 PCI/ CNR AGP Pro/ 5 PCI/ AMR AGP/ 5 PCI
I/O ports 1 FDD, 2 COM, 1 LPT, 2 PS/2 1 FDD, 1 COM, 1 LPT, 2 PS/2 1 FDD, 2 COM, 1 LPT, 2 PS/2 1 FDD, 2 COM, 1 LPT, 2 PS/2 1 FDD, 2 COM, 1 LPT, 2 PS/2 1 FDD, 2 COM, 1 LPT, 2 PS/2
USB 2 USB 1.1 + 1 connector for 2 USB 1.1 2 USB 1.1 + 1 connector for 2 USB 1.1 2 USB 1.1 + 2 connectors for 2 USB 1.1 2 USB 1.1 + 1 connector for 2 USB 1.1 2 USB 1.1 + 2 connectors for 2 USB 1.1 2 USB 1.1 + 1 connector for 2 USB 1.1 + 2 connectors for 2 USB 2.0
Integrated IDE controller ATA100 ATA100 ATA100 ATA100 ATA100 ATA133
External IDE controller HighPoint HPT370A - - - - Promise PDC20276
Sound - NVIDIA nForce MCP-D + AC'97 codec Avance Logic ALC201A NVIDIA nForce MCP-D + ACR Raiser Card AC'97 codec, Avance Logic ALC201A PCI Audio, Creative CT5880-DCQ PCI Audio, Creative CT5880-DEQ
Integrated network controller - 10BaseT/ 100 BaseTX - - - Realtek RTL8100BL, 10BaseT/ 100 BaseTX
I/O controller - Winbond W83627HF-AW ASUS AS99127F ITE IT8705F ITE IT8705F ITE IT8705F
BIOS 2 Mbit Award Modular BIOS v.6.00PG 2 Mbit Award Modular BIOS v.6.00PG 2 Mbit Award Medallion BIOS v.6.00 2 Mbit Award Modular BIOS v.6.00PG 2 Mbit AMI BIOS v.1.24 DualBIOS, 2 Mbit AMI BIOS v.1.24i
Form-factor, dimensions ATX, 30.5x24.5 cm mATX, 24.5x24.5 cm ATX, 30.5x24.5 cm mATX, 24.5x23 cm ATX, 30.5x24.5 cm ATX, 30.5x23.5 cm

In the diagrams we left only the best results of each processor in each test. The performance of the chipsets can be estimated by the graphic pictures or you can see in the summary table.

In our humble opinion, the chipsets are divided into two groups on the diagrams, according to the processors.

At last, the today's roundup can't reveal new advantages and disadvantages of the processors' architectures. Half a year ago we published a review where we analyzed the Intel Pentium 4 architecture in comparison with the AMD Athlon and forecasted development of the current generation of these processors. The conclusions we made there are still correct, and today we suggest that you check what you learned there using a small test.

Test results

The Athlon XP easily wins.

Does the 1sec gap matter?

Well, here we have a draw.

Do you remember the results in this test until the codec was optimized for the SSE2? Is that normal to get a gain a year later after the processor is released?

The Pentium 4 smashes its competitor to pieces.

Well, if we estimate the difference percentage-wise, will it be convincing?

The Athlon XP leads.

Aren't the results of the Business test strange?

Again a draw.

What caused such a bad lag of the Athlon XP in the Internet Content Creation test if we know that the WME 7.0 included in the applications of this test can't define a support of the SSE instructions for the Athlon XP?

What caused such a noticeable lag of the Pentium 4 in the v.4.2 and equal results in v.4.26 if we know that v.4.26 is rewritten to support SSE2 instructions?

Here we have no winners.


Can we call it a victory of one of the competitors if in 5 of 6 tests the the results were almost equal with the Pentium 4 being a bit better and in the last one the Athlon XP took a big step forward?

I think it's a draw.

Can we generalize the results of the most popular test to all games if the results in real games do not coincide with them?

The Athlon XP scores better results.

How do you call such a situation when the Pentium 4 always wins in the Quake III? Can we say that the game is optimized for the processor? Or vice versa?

The Pentium 4 leads.

Can we generalize the results of such an ancient game to any other applications? Should we take into consideration these results when making the resume?

The Athlon XP leads.

Is the result difference important in 640x480 if in 1024x768 it disappears and there are not many people out there who play in in such low resolutions?

The Pentium 4 takes a lead.

Conclusion

The Pentium 4 is a cool processor. It wins in the very popular Quake III, as well as in DroneZ which is considered a sample of a modern game. Besides, it performs better in movie playback with the DivX codec. Well, the performance of the Intel's processor in the entertaining sphere is very high.

The Athlon XP shows a decent performance at a lower frequency and price. It outscores the other in some tests (WinAce, MP3 encoding (with the Lame codec)). Applications which do not have the SSE2 support will probably work faster on the Athlon XP - just take the DivX and 3DStudio MAX.

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