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Intel Wolfdale vs. AMD Agena

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Benchmark Wolfdale Agena Advantage
7-Zip 0:04:03 0:04:35 13%
WinRAR 0:01:48 0:02:06 17%
Ultimate ZIP 0:02:12 0:02:24 9%
Group Score 77 68 13%

This group of tests shows a traditional picture, typical defeat of Agena.


Benchmark Wolfdale Agena Advantage
FLAC 0:01:11 0:01:17 8%
LAME 0:02:59 0:03:14 8%
Musepack 0:02:07 0:02:22 12%
Vorbis 0:04:09 0:05:20 29%
Canopus ProCoder 0:06:31 0:05:52 --10%
DivX 0:01:50 0:02:07 15%
x264 0:09:41 0:10:59 13%
XviD 0:07:28 0:09:23 26%
Group Score 76 68 12%

Canopus ProCoder apparently votes for Agena. But the other seven applications are of the opposite opinion. Agena is slower by more than a quarter in two codecs -- OGG Vorbis and XviD. Both are open source projects. However, open source LAME and FLAC are less radical in their preferences, so we cannot draw far-reaching conclusions from this coincidence.


Benchmark Wolfdale Agena Advantage
Call of Duty 4 75 63 19%
Company of Heroes 56 48 17%
Call of Juarez 48 45 7%
Crysis 12.60 10.25 23%
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 77 63 22%
Unreal Tournament 3 44 38 16%
World in Conflict 25 19 32%
Group Score 65 54 19%

Quite a standard situation: Agena is defeated in each test, starting from 7% (in Call of Juarez, which depends much on a graphics card) and to 32% (strange as it may seem, it's in no less 3D-dependent World in Conflict). There is nothing unusual here.

Non-professional photo processing

Benchmark Wolfdale Agena Advantage
ACDSee 0:12:44 0:21:24 68%
IrfanView 0:18:21 0:22:53 25%
Paint.NET 95473 122396 28%
xat.com Image Optimizer 0:37:35 0:42:22 13%
XnView 0:21:23 0:26:22 23%
Group Score 72 55 30%

Over a half of applications (3 out of 5, to be more exact) demonstrate the advantage of Wolfdale over Agena by a quarter or even more. For example, Agena is defeated by 68% in ACDSee! That's the third (and fortunately the last) Phenom's phenomenon in these tests. The author of this processor's name apparently had a wry sense of humor.


Benchmark Wolfdale Agena Advantage
PRO SCORE 76 66 14%
HOME SCORE 72 61 18%

This is sad. In modern conditions, even all other things being equal, the Agena core is outperformed by Wolfdale almost everywhere. Moreover, the lag is mostly significant (over 10%). Sometimes this word can be replaced with "insignificant" (SolidWorks/Graphics, Photoshop/Rotate, Mathematica, many PHPSpeed tests) or "horrible" (MATLAB/LU, Real World PHP & MySQL, ACDSee). Strange as it may seem, the latter serves as a reason for our optimism.

Let's recall the recent history of x86-64 processors. AMD Phenom started its existence from such a thundering screwup, which we hadn't seen since the notorious bug in Intel Pentium. What did it tell us in the first place? That the processor was designed in a hurry, as a rush job, so it most likely wasn't properly tested. Then we had an opportunity to see the erratic behavior of the improved Phenom in MATLAB Sparse tests. And now, in single-core mode, we again stumble upon MATLAB (LU function), PHP+MySQL, and ACDSee.

From an optimistic point of view, hoping for the best, we can assume that all these Phenom's phenomena are caused by such defects. They do not result in bugs, unlike the notorious TLB error, but they reduce performance significantly. By the way, from our perspective, this category of potential strange behavior also includes all performance lags of 25% and higher. Let's hope that all these defects can be repaired, which will be probably done in the next revision of the K10 core. It won't become the ultimate solution (it's too late for that), but it will help narrow the architectural performance gap to a more or less decent level (say, below 10%) -- who knows, maybe it will happen.

Memory modules provided by Corsair Memory.

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