AMD Athlon™ 64 X2 3800+ Page 2

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Benchmark Scores

All Falcon 4: Allied Force (version 1.02) tests were run at a resolution of 1024×768 and with identical in-game settings configured on both systems. We decided to include the low and high numbers from the test, along with the time in seconds it took for each mission to load. Please bear in mind that while this test file is very similar to the ones used with FreeFalcon testing in SimHQ’s Dueling Dual Cores article it isn’t identical, so those interested in direct comparisons should keep this in consideration.

Falcon 4: Allied Force

The test showed the X2 3800+ pulling ahead of Intel’s dual cores, with an average frame rate almost 50% faster than that of the Pentium D 820. The test also allowed AMD’s new dual core to outpace the FX-55, and the 4800+ dominated all three categories of low, average, and high frame rate. Interestingly enough, neither of Intel’s dual cores were able to hit a high frame rate of three digits, though the load time for both was comparable with AMD’s tested processors.

SimHQ also decided to test these processors with a couple of non-threaded games to see how well the dual-core CPUs perform without the benefit of their additional cores. Pacific Fighters, patched to version 3.04, was tested in OpenGL with all video options set to medium (normal for Objects detail) using the in-game F4F vs. G4M track.

Pacific Fighters

Though giving up a full 1.2GHz clock speed to the 840EE, the 3800+ nevertheless again outperformed Intel’s high-end dual core by almost 10% and led the 820 by a solid 15% at the lowest tested resolution. The higher frequencies of the FX-55 and 4800+ naturally allowed the two parts to dominate across the tested resolutions.

Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory, version 1.03, was tested using the included Lighthouse demo with sound disabled. Hardware shadow mapping was also disabled to increase the CPU workload. The Radeon X800 XT installed in the test system only allowed for the Shader Model 1.1 profile option, so by default the more advanced graphics features supported by the game (HDR, HQ soft shadows, tone mapping, etc.) were also disabled. The benchmarking script used for testing Chaos Theory can be found here at the bottom of the page.

Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory

Due to its design Chaos Theory probably isn’t an ideal title for CPU testing, though the game still shows strong performance variance at lower resolutions. Not unexpectedly, the FX-55 outperformed the four dual core parts, with the 4800+ following very closely behind. And the 3800+ continued the pattern of soundly outperforming both the high- and low-end of Intel’s dual core processors, beating the 840 by almost 10% and the 820 by roughly 20% at 640×480.

We decided to use Chaos Theory to test the multitasking performance of these processors by running a Symantec anti-virus scan on the hard drive while letting the benchmarking script run the game through its various resolutions. The AV scan’s processor utilization varied from roughly 10% to 30% as it compared the drive’s contents against the heuristics of its definition files; again, each system’s hard drive was defragged between benchmark tests.

Multitasking

Click here to see an enlarged image of the Multitasking Chart.

As expected, the single-core CPU lost the most frames from the background multitasking, with the FX-55 losing roughly 10% at 640×480. In contrast, the dual cores each lost only a few frames, with the 4800+ maintaining its rather strong lead against Intel’s 840 and 820 dual cores and the 3800+ falling into the middle.

Conclusions

The X2 3800+ performed extremely well against the other processors tested for this article, remaining in the middle of the group as the two faster, and considerably more expensive AMD CPUs, held the high ground and Intel’s two dual cores consistently brought up the rear. The fact that the X2 3800+ not only beat the Pentium D 820 in every benchmark, but also crushed both it and the high-end Pentium 4 840 Extreme Edition in the Falcon 4: Allied Force testing, should not be overlooked. The new X2, however, is not quite in the same price range as the Pentium D processor, so direct performance comparisons should be factored with this in mind. That said, the X2 3800+ has very effectively obsoleted Intel’s 840, offering higher performance in both single and threaded simulations, with less heat and for less than half the price; and for home builders or buyers looking for a dual core system to benefit a 3D application such as Allied Force or for faster video encoding, this new processor from AMD could hit the sweet spot for price and performance.


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