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Top Dual/Quad-Core CPUs: Enticing Heights

Testing four top processors from Intel and AMD.

July 28, 2008



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Non-professional/home tests

Archiving



It's a standard situation we have come across in many diagrams: the QX9770 has a small advantage over the E8500, and Phenom X4 is outperformed by the top Athlon 64 X2.

Encoding



Even encoding tests did not help Phenom defeat its competitor from the same camp, although this group includes several tests that can use four cores.

Games



If we compare results of the QX9770 and E8500, we can see that additional two cores do not yield that much performance gain in games. So in this case we can explain Phenom's victory by its core architecture. Well, at least something.

Non-professional photo processing



It's another case, when a dinosaur from AMD performs better than the new core. What concerns the Intel camp, we can see the standard layout typical for most tests: the quad-core processor wins, but it's not twice as fast (as it must be in the ideal case).

Total non-professional score



Even though the QX9770 has a nominal advantage, we still think that the program illustrates practical uselessness of the quad-core processor from the point of view of domestic usage. Especially if we speak of such an expensive quad-core processor as the QX9770. What concerns AMD products, the situation is quite sad, if we take that Phenom is future.

Estimated power consumption*

* We actually measure power consumption of the on-board VRM, so our readings may be higher, because VRM is not 100% efficient.

Idle



Idle power consumption of AMD processors used to be very good, but now they look weak. It's way too far from competing with Pentium 4.

100% load



Phenom X4 breaks all records. In fact, if we divide Watts by the number of cores and then by their frequency (it's a crude way, but it gives funny results), we'll see that the new AMD core hasn't gone far from the old core.

Conclusions



That's the bitter truth as it is. The top processor from AMD (it does not even matter which of the two, because they have the same total score) is outscored by the top processor from Intel by 45%. There is actually nothing to comment on. We could have added "we have food for thought now". However, there is nothing much to think about. We could have mused over a 20% lag. But here...

Do you want to know what clock rate the Phenom X4 must have to catch up with the existing Core 2 Extreme QX9770, even if we assume that Phenom performance grows strictly proportional to its clock rate? The current clock rate of the top Phenom is 2.5 GHz. The target clock rate (according to our total performance score) is 132/91*2.5=~3.6 GHz. So, in order to reach parity with Intel, AMD has to raise the clock rate by 1.1 GHz. Given Intel is not launching any faster processors that is.


Memory modules provided by Corsair Memory Russia.

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