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AMD Phenom X4 In Real-Life Applications

How memory speed affects CPU performance.

July 2, 2008



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Web server


  DDR2-533 DDR2-1066 Gain
PHP Calculator 176 176 0%
PHPSpeed
Synthetic PHP 2815 2801 0%
Synthetic MySQL 2636 2639 0%
Synthetic Read/Write 1884 1964 4%
Real World PHP 4173 4358 4%
Real World PHP & MySQL 2448 2534 4%
Server 1871 1902 2%
Group Score 98 100 2%

Strange, but true: our web-server tests practically don't respond to faster memory. One of logical explanations is as follows: the amount of data they use does not exceed CPU cache size.

Data compression


  DDR2-533 DDR2-1066 Gain
7-Zip 0:02:46 0:02:31 10%
WinRAR 0:01:29 0:01:23 7%
Ultimate ZIP 0:02:19 0:02:19 0%
Group Score 91 97 6%

It's an expected result - we know that 7-Zip and WinRAR prefer fast memory. The layout of forces is also not surprising: the larger the dictionary, the higher gains. Ultimate ZIP seems to use a very small dictionary, smaller than the cache.

Encoding


  DDR2-533 DDR2-1066 Gain
FLAC 0:01:13 0:01:13 0%
LAME 0:02:05 0:02:05 0%
Musepack 0:02:17 0:02:17 0%
Vorbis 0:04:45 0:04:45 0%
Canopus ProCoder 0:05:21 0:05:16 2%
DivX 0:01:24 0:01:21 4%
x264 0:02:48 0:02:44 2%
XviD 0:09:47 0:09:43 1%
Group Score 92 93 1%

We've noticed the following regularity here: fast video codecs (DivX, x264) are the most sensitive to memory performance. And audio codecs just ignore changes in the memory clock rate.

Games


  DDR2-533 DDR2-1066 Gain
Call of Duty 4 116 116 0%
Company of Heroes 54 55 2%
Call of Juarez 45 46 2%
Crysis 18.52 19.50 5%
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 108 112 4%
Unreal Tournament 3 93 113 22%
World in Conflict 41 45 10%
Group Score 90 95 6%

Here is the first success: we've finally seen a really significant performance gain! Alas, it happens only in two games out of seven: Unreal Tournament 3 and World in Conflict.

Non-professional photo processing


  DDR2-533 DDR2-1066 Gain
ACDSee 0:12:12 0:12:08 1%
IrfanView 0:22:44 0:22:35 1%
Paint.NET 31663 31329 1%
xat.com Image Optimizer 0:41:28 0:40:54 1%
XnView 0:25:29 0:25:21 1%
Group Score 82 83 1%

Absolute indifference and uncommon unanimity.

Conclusions


  DDR2-533 DDR2-1066 Gain
Professional score 87 90 3%
Home score 89 92 3%
Overall score 88 91 3%

In fact, there is no need to write a lengthy conclusion. The bottom line is crystal clear. Here is a summary:

  • The biggest performance gain in groups of tests: games, archivers (6%).
  • The biggest performance gain in applications: Unreal Tournament 3 (22%), World in Conflict (10%), 7-Zip (10%).
  • Average performance gain - 3%.

There is even no need to comment on the last fact. I remind you that memory frequencies differed twofold. Twofold difference on one hand, and 3% performance gain on the other hand - do you need any comments?

The only comment (to be more exact, a reminder of obvious things) is not to forget about the dual-channel memory controller in Phenom. That is, in the best case scenario we can configure DDR2-533 memory to provide the bandwidth of single-channel DDR2-1066 memory. It seems that such memory bandwidth is quite sufficient for Phenom at this core clock rate.


Memory modules provided by Corsair Memory Russia.

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Page 2: More test results, conclusions



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