iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






Athlon XP 3200+ CPU Benchmarking

In addition to the Intel and AMD top CPUs we have tested the Athlon XP 3200+ which remains one of the fastest x86 CPUs at the moment. The current testing technique is not final, it's just a intermediate version that reflects the epoch of changes. It can be seen from the test suite where some classes of applications have a much weightier share than others though they are equally important, as well as from the scores... On the other hand, this is just an add-on to the previous review, and it was impossible to change the test suite. The testbed and software can be checked up here. Briefly, the test PC is based on the Athlon XP 3200+, DDR memory inherited from the Pentium 4 based system, and Albatron KX18D Pro II (nVidia nForce2 Ultra 400) mainboards.  

Test results

Memory speed

The maximum throughput and the memory write speed of the Athlon XP 3200+ looks equal to those of the other 3200+ processor - Athlon 64. It looks pretty good taking into account that the Athlon XP is a previous generation. On the other hand, the K7 and K8 dies are very close. The memory read speed (this operation is more widespread than writing) and latency do not look so good. However, we should remember that the die is older, the controller is external etc. At the same time, it's nice that the new Athlon 64, even with its lower clock speed (in spite of the same model index) performs better than its predecessor.

3ds max 5.1

In the 3ds max the Athlon XP 3200+ outscores the Athlon 64 3200+ whose scores are closer to the Athlon 64 FX-51. Add two to two, account for the same clock speeds in spite of different dies and you will see that the Brazil Rendering System (used for rendering scenes in 3ds max) doesn't differentiate the K7 and K8 dies. It's not that good as new processors must be faster than older ones...

Lightwave 7.5

The Athlon XP 3200+ finally loses in spite of its clock speed. I think it's because all other processors (including AMD) support the SSE2 x86 SIMD instructions. Even Newtek didn't keep back that the Lightwave 7.x was released to help the Socket 478 platform the CPUs for which were the only that supported that extension set. Earlier it looked unfair - regarding AMD - to use such testes, but this time everything is fair - just the Athlon XP remains overboard. Well, in the single-thread rendering the AMD64 goes on a par with the Pentium 4, probably at the expense of the SSE2... if the K8 supported the Hyper-Threading-like technology the new AMD CPUs could have caught up with Intel's one in the multi-thread mode as well... :) 

Adobe Photoshop 7.0

If the Athlon 64 [FX] is a good choice for those who use the Photoshop a lot, the Athlon XP is not. It's hard to say what the reason is - the performance here depends on many factors including the memory linear read speed, latency, extended instructions support. But whatever the reason, the Athlon XP is not the best choice for those who need the Photoshop to be speedy.


The situation looks similar to the previous one, but we already mentioned that this test suite will be reconsidered for the further tests - with a new version we will probably get a more extended set of files, new options etc. These data are given as is, because the parental review had it the same.


The WinRAR version is new (3.20), the parameters are good - 4MB dictionary, the maximum compression degree. But the Athlon XP 3200+ has poor scores anyway. I suppose that both negative factors we noticed in the memory read speed tests have an effect here: a relatively low read speed and a relatively high latency.


This archiver is critical to the CPU cache size. Its dictionary is small enough to have a chance to get fully recorded into the cache of some processors. From this point of view it's better to compare the Athlon XP 3200+ with the Pentium 4: both have 512 KB L2. The scores are comparable, though the Pentium 4 is faster anyway. Memory? Fast FSB? That's quite possible...

Lame 3.93

Some time ago we tested various architectures in this applications, and these scores do not contradict to the conclusion we made.

Return to Castle Wolfenstein

The Athlon XP 3200+ traditionally loses to the Pentium 4, plus it yields to all K8 based CPUs. Its price/performance ratio looks good but if you need exceptional performance you should choose between the new Intel platform and new AMD one.

Serious Sam: The Second Encounter, Unreal Tournament 2003 

The architectural preferences of the Serious Sam engine let the Athlon XP 3200+ go on a par with the Pentium 4 3.2 GHz (it was its main competitor some time ago), but the same preferences make AMD an evident leader as they are usually faster than the Athlon XP. This fact proves once again that the K8 is preferable compared to the K7 (if the price is not a determining factor for you).


First have a look at two summary diagrams comparing two pairs: Athlon XP 3200+ vs Pentium 4 3.2 GHz (an "aged" comparison) and Athlon XP 3200+ vs Athlon 64 3200+ (it looks more interesting). 

The main conclusion of this additional test is that applications tend to prefer different CPU architectures. But the reality is that a lot of applications are optimized for the Pentium 4, and it's not going to stop. This time the Athlon XP played by others' rules, and the scores prove it. Bit it's not a secret. Look how good the new AMD processors play by the others' rules field compared to the older solution! It's nice because it's not Athlon XP, but it will be them to compete against future top Pentium 4. 

Stanislav Garmatyuk (nawhi@ixbt.com

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