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Choosing an Office PC, Part 2

New products in tests.

November 13, 2009



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In the part one of this article we dived into the problem of choosing main components for an office PC. According to our tests, the industry-standard benchmark (SYSMark 2007), which results have significant weight in tenders, prefers the following practical approach - the fastest processor within a given budget. It's also of paramount importance to provide sufficient memory volume (depending on a given operating system): at least 1GB for Windows XP or 2GB for Windows Vista/Seven. This memory volume should be doubled in workstations for active users, who use heavy software, and who want to switch between applications fast. We also found out that it made no sense to buy any graphics card for an office PC, it's much more rational to get a motherboard with the integrated graphics core. And what concerns HDD capacity, in the most typical case an office computer stores only necessary documents and accesses databases and other big resources on servers. That is the smallest sized hard drives will do here. On the other hand, it may be inexpedient to go below a certain level. For example, a 80GB drive may be cheaper than a 160GB model by only $5.

This time we'll continue our research and update our interactive designer with new products, as quite a lot of them were launched after the first part of this article. Besides, we'll find out the effect of a chipset on results demonstrated in SYSMark 2007. Do chipsets for office configurations really provide higher results?

Testbeds

Processors:

  • AMD Sempron LE-1300 (1 core, 2.3 GHz, 512 KB L2 Cache, HT1600, $44)
  • AMD Sempron X2 2100 (2 cores, 1.8 GHz, 2 x 256 KB L2 Cache, HT1600, $34
  • AMD Sempron 140 (1 core, 2.7 GHz, 1024 KB L2 Cache, HT4000, $49
  • AMD Athlon X2 4850e (2 cores, 2.5 GHz, 2 x 512 KB L2 Cache, HT2000, $73
  • AMD Athlon X2 5200B (2 cores, 2.7 GHz, 2 x 512 KB L2 Cache, HT2000, $70
  • AMD Athlon X2 7750 (2 cores, 2.7 GHz, 2 x 512 KB L2 Cache, 2 MB L3 Cache, HT3600, $81
  • AMD Athlon X2 7850 (2 cores, 2.8 GHz, 2 x 512 KB L2 Cache, 2 MB L3 Cache, HT3600, $94
  • AMD Athlon II X2 215 (2 cores, 2.7 GHz, 2 x 512 KB L2 Cache, HT4000, $62
  • AMD Athlon II X2 240 (2 cores, 2.8 GHz, 2 x 1024 KB L2 Cache, HT4000, $70
  • AMD Athlon II X2 245 (2 cores, 2.9 GHz, 2 x 1024 KB L2 Cache, HT4000, $85
  • AMD Athlon II X2 250 (2 cores, 3.0 GHz, 2 x 1024 KB L2 Cache, HT4000, $89
  • AMD Athlon II X3 435 (3 cores, 2.9 GHz, 3 x 512 KB L2 Cache, HT4000, $101
  • AMD Athlon II X4 620 (4 cores, 2.6 GHz, 4 x 512 KB L2 Cache, HT4000, $126
  • AMD Phenom II X2 545 (2 cores, 3.0 GHz, 2 x 512 KB L2 Cache, 6 MB L3 Cache, HT4000, $107
  • AMD Phenom II X2 550 (2 cores, 3.1 GHz, 2 x 512 KB L2 Cache, 6 MB L3 Cache, HT4000, $116
  • AMD Phenom II X3 710 (3 cores, 2.6 GHz, 3 x 512 KB L2 Cache, 6 MB L3 Cache, HT4000, $122
  • AMD Phenom II X4 805 (4 cores, 2.5 GHz, 4 x 512 KB L2 Cache, 4 MB L3 Cache, HT4000, $179
  • AMD Phenom II X4 810 (4 cores, 2.6 GHz, 4 x 512 KB L2 Cache, 4 MB L3 Cache, HT4000, $163
  • Intel Celeron 450 (1 core, 2.2 GHz, 512 KB L2 Cache, FSB800, $46
  • Intel Celeron E1400 (2 cores, 2.0 GHz, 512 KB L2 Cache, FSB800, $57
  • Intel Celeron E3200 (2 cores, 2.4 GHz, 1024 KB L2 Cache, FSB800, $62
  • Intel Pentium E5300 (2 cores, 2.6 GHz, 2 MB L2 Cache, FSB800, $77
  • Intel Pentium E6300 (2 cores, 2.8 GHz, 2 MB L2 Cache, FSB800, $96
  • Intel Core 2 Duo E7400 (2 cores, 2.8 GHz, 3 MB L2 Cache, FSB1066, $126
  • Intel Core 2 Duo E7500 (2 cores, 2.93 GHz, 3 MB L2 Cache, FSB1066, $130
  • Intel Core 2 Duo E7600 (2 cores, 3.06 GHz, 3 MB L2 Cache, FSB1066, $153
  • Intel Core 2 Quad Q8400 (4 cores, 2.66 GHz, 2 x 2 MB L2 Cache, FSB1066, $190

Motherboards:

  • ASRock A780LM (AMD 760G)
  • FOXCONN A7VA rev 1.0 (AMD 780V)
  • Gigabyte MA78GM-UD2H (AMD 780G)
  • ECS A780GM-A Ultra (AMD 780G)
  • MSI 785GM-E65 (AMD 785G)
  • Gigabyte MA770-UD3 (AMD 770)
  • Gigabyte MA790X-DS4 (AMD 790X)
  • MSI G41TM-E43 (Intel G41)
  • MSI G43M2-F (Intel G43)
  • MSI G45M2-F (Intel G45)
  • MSI P45 NEO1 (Intel P45)

Graphics cards:

  • ATI Radeon HD3450
  • ATI Radeon HD4350
  • ATI Radeon HD4650

Other components:

  • RAM: 2 x 1 GB DDR3-1333 Hynix, 2 x 1 GB DDR2-1066 AENEON, 2 x 512 MB DDR2-800 Kingston
  • HDD: 250 GB Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 SATA, 7200 rpm.

Software:

  • Windows Vista Ultimate (32 bit), ATI Catalyst 9.5
  • PCMark Vantage (standard test, three runs)
  • SYSMark 2007 Preview (three test runs with a calibration run, which results are not taken into account).

Resolution: 1280x1024x32-bit@60Hz.

Tests

SYSMark 2007

SYSMark 2007 includes popular office applications: Microsoft Office components, Adobe graphics tools, video processing and 3D-modeling applications. Here is the complete list:

  • Adobe After Effects 7
  • Adobe Illustrator CS2
  • Adobe Photoshop CS2
  • AutoDesk 3ds Max 8
  • Macromedia Flash 8
  • Microsoft Excel 2003
  • Microsoft Outlook 2003
  • Microsoft PowerPoint 2003
  • Microsoft Word 2003
  • Microsoft Project 2003
  • Microsoft Windows Media Encoder 9
  • Sony Vegas 7
  • SketchUp 5
  • WinZip 10.0


We've added two processors in the budget segment: Celeron E3200 and Sempron 140. This Celeron is quite predictable: it has a higher clock rate and a larger cache than the E1400, so it demonstrates higher performance practically in all tests except Productivity (this test has a surprise in store for you, we'll dwell on it below). On the other hand, we were sincerely pleased with the Sempron 140. It's just a single-core processor, but it managed to score 100 points, more than some dual-core models. It probably happens owing to its relatively high frequency. Besides, the core of this processor is the most advanced among AMD's solutions, similar to Athlon II and Phenom II.

Athlon II X2 215 also looks good. Judging by our test results, this processor can replace the old Athlon X2 6000+. Besides, it's apparently more expedient to manufacture for AMD, and it's more power efficient. However, it must be noted, this processor won't be present in the market for long. That is it probably won't be shipped to all countries, only to some markets (it's been already removed from the official price list). So the lowest processor in the Athlon II series will be Model 240. As we can see, Athlon II representatives correspond to Pentium E 5000-6000 in performance, but they are cheaper.

So Phenoms II X2 successfully compete with Core 2 Duo 7000 8000 processors. However, top dual-core processors are still rather expensive these days, which does not look proportional on the background of 3- and 4-core processors getting cheaper.

In particular, our tests of Athlon II 400 and 600 suggest the following idea for multimedia and home PCs: 3- and 4-core processors look justified even now. However, according to the total score in SYSMark 2007, dual-core processors look like a better choice for an office PC. On the other hand, if we pay attention to such results, Athlon II X3 435 will make sense, especially if your computer will be used for video content or 3D modeling. And a quad-core processor does not look optimal in an office PC.


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Article navigation:

Page 1: Introduction, testbeds, CPUs

Page 2: Motherboards, configurator



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