Parallelism is undoubtedly the future, with post-release patches for titles such as Call of Duty 2 and Quake 4 showing the beginning of dual-core support by developers as they optimize games to take better advantage of multi-processing. Next-generation consoles and their multi-core processors will certainly help evangelize the need to learn how to code for such hardware among developers. Even the graphics companies have begun threading their drivers, and in the future the market will see simulations coded from the ground up for multi-processing. And dual cores shipments will continue to increase in volume, possibly surpassing that of traditional unicore processors later this year or next.
As for the new processors tested, the 955 Extreme Edition is a stop-gap part, a product that fills in a piece of Intel’s roadmap while the company readies their only real hope of regaining desktop performance competitiveness later this year: Conroe. The Netburst well ran dry over a year ago and Intel itself fully realizes this, as is apparent from the company’s ongoing marketing efforts to suggest that general performance be measured by standards other than clock speeds and front-side bus frequency, a real paradigm shift from Intel’s past reliance upon these points. And the 955 is a perfect example for why this shift in marketing effort is occurring: none of these improvements or changes in the 955 enabled the new part to generally outperform even last year’s X2 4800+, now priced at $100s less than the 955, let alone the FX-60. And while the two AMD dual cores lag behind their single-core sibling in most gaming situations today the performance delta is frankly not that significant and the FX-57 was absolutely destroyed by both dual cores in the content creation and multitasking test scenarios. While the future may see a more competitive landscape between the two companies than what we have today, there is little doubt that AMD’s dual-core processors, like the company’s unicore offerings, are the undeniable current performance leaders.
AMD Athlon 64 FX-60 Score: 9.0
Intel 955 Extreme Edition Score: 6.5
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