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E2200 better performance than Phenom 9500?

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August 4, 2008 12:31:49 AM

E2200 better than Phenom 9500 (for gaming?)

This weekend I decided to upgrade my 6-year+ gaming rig (3.2 Northwood, 7800GS AGP) computer this weekend, on a whim. I wanted something cheap and effective, since I don't super-game anymore (i.e. no Crysis is fine), but want to have good performance overall. Also, I've been building rigs for 10+ years, and just wanted to bring something home and use it.

So I did a crazy thing and went to a super store and looked around. The first thing I noticed is that most of the computers on shelves at Best Buy/Circuit City come pre-installed with Vista x64. From what I understand, that's not the best for games (and I use GameTap, which has issues with Vista x64).

So after some thought I picked up a Gateway with a AMD Phenom 9500...2.2GHz, 4GB DDR5300). I also picked up a nice Antec 500w power supply, since I knew I wanted to get a better card than any stock machine came with...so I picked up a PNY 8800GT.

Brought the thing home, took off all of the bloatware, cleaned it up, updated Vista, and hardware drivers...and then did some tests

* 3DMark03 : 31,000-ish
* Fear test at 1400x900, everything maxed : 22min/41avg/67max...7% under 25fps...53% between 25fps and 40fps...40% over 40fps
* Oblivion at 1400x900, everything maxed w/HDR...pretty good performance, a little choppy

Overall I wasn't blown away by the system, my 6-year old system kind of held it's own. So I started to poke around the internet forums, and found that the current line-up of AMD chips aren't totally awesome, and are kind of underwhelming. The more I read and played around with the machine, the more I decided it wasn't what I wanted, so I returned it.

Kind of down, seeing I didn't have a nice, shiney machine to play with, I followed my wife into Office Depot looking for chairs. There was an HP a6528p on sale for $399 (after $150 rebates). This is a "Pentium Dual-Core" E2200 2.2GHz, 3GB DDR6300. I took the Antec PSU and 8800GT card (Which I didn't return), and put it in this system.

Once again I brought it home, cleaned off the bloatware, updated Vista/drivers...and then went on the internet and read that the E2200 is a "budget" CPU. Essentially a C2D, with only 1MB of cache and not VT. No VT doesn't bother me, since this a pure gaming rig...but everything I read led me to believe that the small cache and budget aspect made this a crappy chip for gaming. So when I started my tests thinking I might have another return on my hands.

* 3DMark03 : 32,000-ish
* Fear test at 1400x900, everything maxed : 40min/88avg/216max...0% under 25fps...2% between 25fps and 40fps...98% over 40fps
* Oblivion at 1400x900, everything maxed w/HDR...slick, 10-20fps more than the Gateway at least

The real test will be the game that brought my old 6-year machine to it's knees: Bioshock...I'm installing that now.

But in the meantime...what's up? How does a "broken" C2D beat the pants off a (admittedly budget) quad-core? Is what I'm seeing standard? I know the E2200's are great for overclocking, but I just want to stick with stock. So far, this machine seems pretty nice, performance-wise. And while I'm sure the GPU is being held back by the CPU, it doesn't seem to significant.

Finally, unreleated, is it totally evil that super stores like Best Buy and Circuit City are selling 90% of their machines with Vista x64, severly limiting the games people can potentially play?

Thanks in advance.
August 4, 2008 1:03:10 AM

Vista X64 does not limit you on games that you can play. You can play 32bit games in X64. I have played WoW, FFXI, Age of Conan, even tried out the FEAR demo and all played fine. Sadly yes though the Intel dual cores, even the low end ones can outperform a phenom. Better architecture plain and simple.
August 4, 2008 1:16:37 AM

because phenoms suck is why ! plain and simple !!

You need to quit wasting your money on these store pos and just build your own e7200 with a nice matx board and 2 gigs of ddr2 800 and an 4850 and it will DESTROY both systems !
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August 4, 2008 1:19:39 AM

mossberg said:
Vista X64 does not limit you on games that you can play. You can play 32bit games in X64. I have played WoW, FFXI, Age of Conan, even tried out the FEAR demo and all played fine. Sadly yes though the Intel dual cores, even the low end ones can outperform a phenom. Better architecture plain and simple.


Mossberg..older games like dungeon siege don't run at all on vista where they would on xp mode...even using compatibility mode. For older games you need a vm, the prob is that the windows ones don't have good dx running yet.
August 4, 2008 1:22:17 AM

royalcrown said:
Mossberg..older games like dungeon siege don't run at all on vista where they would on xp mode...even using compatibility mode. For older games you need a vm, the prob is that the windows ones don't have good dx running yet.



He was singling out X64 so that is why I said it. It seemed as if that being X64 and not X86 it would not play 32bit games. If it will run in Vista 32 it will run in Vista 64. Maybe I should have been a bit more clear on my meaning.
August 4, 2008 1:23:32 AM

@ Mossberg: I use GameTap, and the majority of their games are not compatible with x64. OR at least they say so (emulated Dreamcast, old Windows games, etc.). Also, I looked online a bunch and noticed most information suggests that sticking with 32-bit for games is the best idea for now...but lots of the information is 6 months older or more. So you're saying compatibility has changed? Good to know, though, as I'm pretty sure my next system in a few years will be x64.

@RC: As I mentioned in my post, I just didn't want to build a system as I have in the past 10+ years. I just wanted an off-the-shelf system.

Thanks for both comments.
August 4, 2008 1:24:07 AM

oh no, i was just telling you cause I have a box of older stuff :) 

Thought i'd dust it off and finish some unfinished ones and not gonna happen :) 
August 4, 2008 1:30:45 AM

I know op, bit your learning that big box off the shelf systems that are at the cheaper point are undewhelming, and they will be for awhile anyhow, it's because most ppl don't know what good performance is...so they don't miss it.
August 4, 2008 1:31:15 AM

sambront said:
@ Mossberg: I use GameTap, and the majority of their games are not compatible with x64. OR at least they say so (emulated Dreamcast, old Windows games, etc.). Also, I looked online a bunch and noticed most information suggests that sticking with 32-bit for games is the best idea for now...but lots of the information is 6 months older or more. So you're saying compatibility has changed? Good to know, though, as I'm pretty sure my next system in a few years will be x64.

@RC: As I mentioned in my post, I just didn't want to build a system as I have in the past 10+ years. I just wanted an off-the-shelf system.

Thanks for both comments.



I have had no problems gaming with x64 for the few games I have tried. Actually AoC supposedly runs better in X64 than in either Vista or XP X86. I played FFXI which is an older game no problem. Had to download a special Vista compatible play online version but I would have had to do that regardless of the vista version i had.
August 4, 2008 1:36:36 AM

Im talkin old like dungeon keeper, z...lol....oooold man.
August 4, 2008 5:50:16 AM

sambront said:
E2200 better than Phenom 9500 (for gaming?)

So after some thought I picked up a Gateway with a AMD Phenom 9500...2.2GHz, 4GB DDR5300).


The bold underlined part was part of the problem. Phenom is sensitive to memory speed, DDR2 1066 is best, or low latency DDR2 800. The other issue would be Retail off the shelf computers that have phenom processors, are also going to have the TLB fix either hard coded to on in the bios, or if they have vista, it will be hard coded to on through vista SP1.
August 4, 2008 10:23:43 AM

@mathos:

I thought the TBL fix might have something to do with it. The RAM in this machine, while DDR6300, is not timed great (CL6, etc)...however, it seems to work well. I tried Bioshock last night, and it ran like butter. It never dropped below 57fps through the introuction, and 95% of the time it was pegged at 60fps. I still have some testing to do, but so far I'm pretty happy.

Coming from a backbround of building my own computers and being obsessed with technical issues and timing and stuff, this is wierd. This machine may not be pimped, or have the best parts, but it seems to get the job done pretty well. I'll test with the Crysis demo later, but I figure if it runs Bioshock really well, I'm probably OK for gaming for the next few years.

I'm also wondering how much the 8800GT has to do with the performance, or if I'm bottlenecking at the CPU badly. Ifthe bottleneck is significant, maybe I should get another GPU? Is there a good way/game to test this?

Thanks.
August 4, 2008 1:59:22 PM

royalcrown said:
because phenoms suck is why ! plain and simple !!



To say something 'Sucks' is pretty childish in my opinion.
August 4, 2008 6:41:27 PM

O my...

First and formost, my money is on the TLB fix as the main reason the Phenom system couldnt hang. Second is the slow memory.

The E2200 is a decent performer, but is nerfed compared to regular Core2 processors. When overclocked to 3.0-3.2 Ghz its actually one of the prefered chips for a budget build.

In closing, you should probably investigate these kinds of things before you run out and buy, and if your going for a gaming rig, definitely build from scratch, dont get an OEM system.

August 4, 2008 8:01:34 PM

I've built my own rigs for a long time, and just didn't want to go through the hassle. There was a time I was on these boards figuring out memory timings, OC'ing stuff, etc, building and benchmarking a monster that would last for years and be quality cutting edge. This time I just wanted simplicity. I'm starting a family, and I don't have the time or money to be an enthusiest anymore. It's wierd. I never thought I'd be buying a computer off a shelf, not knowing the specifics of every hand-picked component. But my gaming isn't what it was five years ago, I don't need to tweak out another 2fps. I just want to play Bioshock smoothly.

I'm happy with the E2200. I'm pretending to not know what 1MB vs 4MB of L2 cache is, and I'm just enjoying the machine. I'm playing Bioshock at 60fps and thinking "this is fun" rather than "how can I get "70fps", which is kind of liberating and cool.

I'm using Vista, which annoying and awful. But I digress.

I guess the only question now is if the 8800GT is overpowered for this rig, or if it's actually doing heavy lifting. My monitor is maxxed at 1400x900, and I expect that to remain the case. What is the best way to check if my bottleneck is the CPU, or GPU, or both (depending on the game).

And in closing, I do think building from scratch is the best idea overall. But I am pretty happy with what will essentially be a sub-$700 purchase ($400 for the computer, $100 for the PSU, $180 for the GPU).

August 5, 2008 12:17:04 AM

Ok, so some final benchmarking:

Crysis CPU benchmark, all settings at "High" and 1400x900 = 24fps.
Crysis CPU benchmark, all settings at "Medium" and 1400x900 = 28fps.
Crysis GPU benchmark, all settings at "High" and 1400x900 = 33fps.
Crysis GPU benchmark, all settings at "Medium" and 1400x900 = 48fps.

And actually, "Object quality" was set to "Very High", I could not change that.

I'm assuming actual gameplay would be better than the timedemo, so I'm impressed.

Company of Heroes: with all settings at the highest and 1400x900, the performance test finished with 81 Avg, 44 min, 165 max.

Again, impressive.

Finally, World in Conflict. At 1400x900 with settings at "Very high": 21 Avg, 8 min, 50 max
Finally, World in Conflict. At 1400x900 with settings at "High": 26 Avg, 12 min, 73 max
Finally, World in Conflict. At 1400x900 with settings at "Medium": 42 Avg, 16 min, 103 max

So the final verdict for this system is: I'm pretty impressed. I mean, this system can actually play Crysis (I played around in the demo, so not just the timedemo). World in Confict doesn't fare as well, but I assume most systems have issues with that anyway (and I heard Crysis was a system killer).

Anyway, I'm still curious if anybody thinks the 8800GT is overkill.









August 5, 2008 12:18:49 AM

One other thing: during all of the benchmarking, the CPUs never went above 35c (Core Temp), and the 8800GT never topped out in the low 80's, but generally stayed in the 70's. I've added two fans to the stock HP case, but it's quiet and doesn't get hot, which is nice.
August 5, 2008 1:41:02 AM

I have a Phenom 9500 which I have for some time now with no problems.My gpu before the one I have now which is a 4870 was a HD2900pro.I had no problems with gaming at 1080(47'' lg).I ran crysis and Bioshock demos fine ,played Lost Planet no problem.I did build my system from scratch ,on an MSI 790fx with ddr2 1066 with Vista 64.I hear all the nocks on Phenom and Vista,but with my experience I have nothing but good times.The Hd4870 now gives me more opportunity to turn things up.I at one time had my Phenom oc to 3 gigs but with my bios update to my motherboard it killed that ,oh well
August 5, 2008 5:33:03 AM

ro3dog said:
I have a Phenom 9500 which I have for some time now with no problems.My gpu before the one I have now which is a 4870 was a HD2900pro.I had no problems with gaming at 1080(47'' lg).I ran crysis and Bioshock demos fine ,played Lost Planet no problem.I did build my system from scratch ,on an MSI 790fx with ddr2 1066 with Vista 64.I hear all the nocks on Phenom and Vista,but with my experience I have nothing but good times.The Hd4870 now gives me more opportunity to turn things up.I at one time had my Phenom oc to 3 gigs but with my bios update to my motherboard it killed that ,oh well


Yeah, thats why I haven't updated the bios since P.0J, would use 1.1b3 or 1.2 if I could with my memory working properly. At that low of a res, the cpu will be the bottleneck. Anything 1280x1024 and below is CPU limited. 8800gt unless it's the 256mb version is quite a capable card still, just runs hotter than I've gotten use to with the Toxic 3870 I have.

Think I myself will be upgrading to a 790gx/FX +sb750 board, and probably getting an hd4850. Gonna see how well it will combine in Xfire with my current card, should be able to dedicate the 3870 to physics or AA detail.
August 5, 2008 6:03:49 AM

Well Sam, when you said your old rig was comperable to the phenom system, you said it all.
Even with the TLB patch, and crappy ram, that phenom should make your P4c look it's age.
The E2200 is a great econo chip, but it's just not comparable to a quad,
Even in most single core tasks, the phenom should come out slightly ahead.
It seems obvios that there was some kind of major problem with the phenom install.
August 6, 2008 12:35:36 AM

Ok, so I decided to buy Mass Effect, and hoped that this system would run that well.

Doesn't dip below 30fps at any point.

I'm very happy! I think this system should handle anything I throw at it for the next few years at high quality, at which point I'll get a 16-core chip, or something.

I am still wondering if the 8800GT GPU is overkill for this CPU, and if I should get a cheaper card...but I'm assuming that I should keep it, even if my CPU is a bottleneck.

I'm pretty impressed. Less than $700 for an off the shelf system.
August 6, 2008 1:50:10 AM

sambront said:
Ok, so I decided to buy Mass Effect, and hoped that this system would run that well.

Doesn't dip below 30fps at any point.

I'm very happy! I think this system should handle anything I throw at it for the next few years at high quality, at which point I'll get a 16-core chip, or something.

I am still wondering if the 8800GT GPU is overkill for this CPU, and if I should get a cheaper card...but I'm assuming that I should keep it, even if my CPU is a bottleneck.

I'm pretty impressed. Less than $700 for an off the shelf system.


Just increase the FSB of the processor in the bios from 200 to 266. It should remain stable and be enough for the 8800GT. That's what i did with my 2180 and i'm quite happy. Have fun playing Mass Effect.
August 6, 2008 2:02:06 AM

@Slobogob: I'm using an HP, so the motherboard is locked down, no overclocking. But even at stock, this system is getting done what needs to get done. And, it runs cool...mid-30's for the CPUs, high-70's GPU (sometimes not even that).

From what I've read, my CPU should be at 2.4GHz to take advantage of the 8800GT, otherwise I'm not utilizing my GPU to the max. But I can't overclock. And I think the step down from the 8800GT won't be enough. So the way I'm looking at it, I have free AA.

And yeah, Mass Effect is pretty cool.
!