Our test method is briefly described here). The scores on diagrams are relative to that of our reference testbed that always scores 100 points. As of 2011, it's based on the AMD Athlon II X4 620 CPU, 8GB of RAM and Palit's NVIDIA GeForce GTX 570 1280MB. Detailed (absolute) results are traditionally provided in this summary.
Multi-threading is still unimportant in these benchmarks, so the single-thread performance takes the lead in the form of Sandy Bridge. (No, we're not forgetting Ivy Bridge, but that family has nothing to offer yet in the given price range.) This way, even Pentium G850 easily outperforms all inexpensive solutions from AMD, although the overclocked Athlon II X4 651 lags only a bit. In the reference mode, it's identical to A8-3870K, just as we said (and you'll see that in further tests too). That's something to ponder on if you plan on buying a discrete graphics card: the performance isn't bad, and Athlon II is cheaper. The new one, that is, because Athlon II X4 for the Socket AM3 is overpriced. All the more so, Athlon II X4 645 loses even to Athlon II X4 641 despite the higher processor number.
Final 3D Rendering
Multi-threading benchmarks unequivocally favor inexpensive multi-core. These days, Core i3 CPUs can compete with Athlon II X4 processors for whatever platform, but they cost more. As for the cheaper Pentium G850, there's nothing it can boast of. In this light, Athlon II X4 651 looks really nice, being one of the fastest even in the reference mode and easily overclockable on nearly any motherboard with just the multiplier. In this price segment, this seems like an exception to the rule, because inexpensive CPUs from Intel are hardly overclockable and Athlon II X4 for the Socket AM3 requires a more expensive motherboard. As for the FX series, those CPUs are more expensive. Besides, a FX-4170 'factory overclocked' to over 4 GHz scores only 116 points in these tests, losing to Athlon II X4 641. (That linked review is only in Russian, sorry, but the numbers on the diagrams are pretty much international.)
In these benchmarks, even the lower-end FX look good, firstly, thanks to the huge cache. However, that's still not enough to outperform the humble Core i3-2120. But it's at least something, because the 'cacheless' Athlon II CPUs traditionally lose to Pentium. In three benchmarks out of four, the two extra cores are not needed. Overclocking may turn the tables though.
Pentium G850 is the obvious outsider, being the only dual-threaded CPU of all tested today. Going up the score ladder, we see FX-4100 and Core i3-2120, because being quad-threaded is not the same as being quad-core. Ahead of these is a compact group of Athlon II CPUs, with the Socket AM3 model traditionally last. It's interesting that Athlon II X4 651 is only slightly behind FX-6100 (135 points). When overclocking, it even slightly outperforms Core i5-2300 (146 points).
The comments made above are true in this case as well. Excluding the comparison with higher-class CPUs, that is, because multi-core Athlon II processors have always suffered from the lack of L3 cache in compiling tests. The doubled L2 cache helps compete with predecessors, but that's it.
Mathematical and Engineering Computations
After the impressive results of multi-threading tests, let's proceed to the sadder outcomes of traditional benchmarks. Being multi-core doesn't help, because that just isn't required. Pentium (or even Celeron) is the choice in the bugdet segment.
Raster Graphics Processing
Some benchmarks in this group support multi-threading, but that only helps Core i3 break away farther ahead from both Athlon II X4 CPUs and FX-4100. The former look better still, being cheaper. Unless you overclock the FX series, of course.
Vector Graphics Processing
Here, the old architecture easily outperforms the new. The Pentium, however, is even faster, unreachable even with overclocking.
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