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Low-End Single/Dual-Core CPUs: Leisurely Computing

Testing four low-end CPUs from Intel and AMD.

July 29, 2008



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Tests

  1. Our test method is described here.
  2. All data types are reduced to one relative integer score: performance of a reviewed processor compared to performance of Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600, which is considered 100 points.
  3. Detailed results are available in this Excel spreadsheet. The article contains only summaries of each benchmark class.
  4. If detailed results are worthy of your attention, we mention them.

Professional tests

3D Modeling and Rendering



Striking unanimity: both single- and dual-core processors from Intel and AMD (in pairs) demonstrate practically identical performance results, Intel processors being a tad faster in both cases. The gap between Celeron/Sempron and Pentium/Athlon 64 is impressive: we've nearly forgotten what it is - one core vs. two. :)

CAD/CAM



Intel processors shoot forward: we've noted several times that Intel Core architecture is favored by CAD/CAM suites, regardless of clock rates and cache sizes. One can say we live through the quite opposite situation that already existed several years ago: the AMD K8 core always outperformed Intel NetBurst processors.

Compiling



Sempron's defeat is not surprising: it has got the smallest cache out of all tested processors, and compilers require large caches. However, Athlon 64 X2 3600+ unexpectedly demonstrates strikingly high results: frankly speaking, we already got out of the habit of seeing AMD processors outperform similar Intel products.

Professional photo processing



No miracles here: Intel processors are leading.

Scientific applications



This chart clearly shows that mathematical suites dislike AMD (and love Intel Core architecture): a dual-core Athlon 64 X2 3600+ barely outperforms a single-core Celeron 420. Sempron is doing much worse, but there is nothing surprising about it, considering the above-said.

Web server



In case of Celeron we could have complained about Sempron having smaller cache. But what concerns Pentium versus Athlon 64 X2, they are in equal conditions here: both processors have the total L2 cache size of 1 MB. But their caches are organized differently: Athlon divides it between cores equally, while Pentium offers a shared 1 MB cache. However, if we have a look at the detailed results, we'll see that the Intel processor is outperformed in the multi-core part of the test (PHP Calculator) - but it's much faster in PHPSpeed.

Total professional score



Stable advantage of Intel processors almost in all professional tests, plus apparently weak results of AMD processors in scientific tests lead to a naturally determined total score. However, we should do justice to AMD processors. Even in the total professional score Sempron and Athlon 64 X2 are not fatally outperformed by their competitors.


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